Isolated Canvas is a new, autobiographical short fashion film directed and starring Banksie (Jonny Banks), a drag queen, model and performer from Manchester. Produced during lockdown — and supported by HOME Artist Film and Manchester Metropolitan University — the film takes on a confessional tone as it explores Banksie’s experiences with the easy gratifications of social media and their struggle to adapt to a world without nightlife. There’s narration in the form of a reassuring phone call from “staunch drag sister and fierce trans-provocateur, Grance Oni Smith”, from which emerges a dialogue about performance, validation and gender binaries, and how for them, things are tied to darkness and nightlife.
The film was originally conceived as Banksie’s final presentation as part of a BA in Filmmaking at Manchester Metropolitan University. With more elaborate schemes curtailed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re told that Isolated Canvas exists as a stripped-back, bare-boned piece — and yet it is consistently visually striking in its use of Banksie’s statuesque figure, lit up in splashes of vivid neon. With a runtime a smidge under four minutes, this is a compelling, collaborative artifact of lockdown life.