BELLYBUTTON, 8min., USA, Drama
Directed by Hilary Eden
A Y2K teen girl struggles to connect fantasy and reality when she gets a coveted piercing.
Bellybutton is based on a personal experience I had as a13 year old in 2002 when (after much convincing) my mother took me to have my bellybutton pierced, only to have my father find out later that day and violently insist it be removed. This event seeped into the top soil of my consciousness where it has remained as a formative experience that shapes my understanding of what it means to control another's body and the limits of female agency within patriarchal power structures.
My aim with this film was to tell this personal story while also creating a portrait of adolescent girlhood, when one begins to grasp the potent, yet limited power of beauty and the commercial and cultural factors that were at play in that understanding in 2002. A large inspiration for this film beyond my personal experience was Lauren Greenfield's photo book "Girl Culture" in which she documents this moment of American girlhood.
This film was particularly meaningful to make because it was a deeply personal collaboration between myself and my brother Oliver Daly, the producer on the film, about a foundational event in our childhood. Lastly, I'll be forever grateful to have had the opportunity to make my first film with talented young actors who brought their own perspective on agency and adolescence to the material, teaching me much about how culturally we have evolved since 2002 and yet how resonant these themes still are.