"Turning" is a true collaborative project on many levels. In 2006, Antony and the Johnsons and Charles Atlas were touring Europe with the show "Turning", which they describe as a journey through an exotic terrain of innocence, metamorphosis and androgyny. Now the film explores the heart of that performance – the synthesis of Antony's magically alluring and vulnerable musical universe and Atlas' visual treatment of the 13 turning performers on stage.
Adding another layer, the film takes us backstage, where the performers reveal glimpses of their some-times very hard lives and say how much it has meant to them to be in the performance. "Turning represent freedom, from society and from gender. I feel worthy, being a woman, an artist, a transsexual. Being OK!" as one performer puts it.
The film's editor is Åsa Mossberg. She was introduced to Atlas by the Danish producer Vibeke Vogel, of Bullitt Film, who has worked with them both before. Judging from the current mood in the editing suite, their meeting was a happy one. Working on the film, Atlas and Antony had reached the point where something had to happen.
"They needed a frame and a good editor to finish the film," Vogel says. "I thought maybe it could work. Åsa has a great talent for music and a God-given talent for emotion – that's an important gift."
So, Mossberg went to New York to meet Atlas and Antony. "I remember you had an orange T-shirt with a big question mark on it!" Mossberg says. "We were talking. I told you where I come from in filmmaking, my journey, what I liked when I was a kid. I tried to be as open as I could be …"
Atlas's answer to that question mark was always yes. "When Åsa came, she just started talking and I knew I could work with her. She's my kind of person. Åsa is very familiar with my kind of ideas. Antony and I had worked and come to an impasse, basically. I could have worked with Åsa on any film, but on this one in particular we needed someone who could also take care of Antony's concerns, and Åsa was that person. It's a miracle that we’re all happy now, really a miracle. I told Vibeke, if she could produce this film, she gets a PhD in producing, because it’s really advanced," he laughs.