10 Facts About ‘Go Fish’ from Guinevere Turner and Rose Troche

When a movie is as influential as Rose Troche’s Go Fish, it’s easy to dismiss it as a relic of its time. But last night at Newfest’s Queering the Canon: Besties screening, the energy was all about the present.

A room full of dykes of all ages watched and reacted to this thirty year old film with pained and delighted recognition. We may no longer use cassette tapes and corded phones, but who among us doesn’t have a friend who makes bad romantic decisions? (Or maybe we’re the friend who makes bad romantic decisions.)  And, unfortunately, lesbians are still telling other people they can’t identify as lesbians because they had sex with a man!

It was a beautiful night of cinema and community and the Q&A after the screening with Rose Troche and Guinevere Turner was an absolute delight. They revealed so many fun facts about the movie that I simply must share with you all!

If you’re in NYC, you can attend more Queering the Canon screenings this weekend and if you’re not you can watch their virtual platform! Tomorrow night, our very own editor-in-chief Carmen Phillips is introducing Set It Off!


10 Facts About ‘Go Fish’

  1. Guinevere Turner and Rose Troche met in organizing spaces like ACT UP and Queer Nation. Troche quipped that it was a great place to meet girls.
  2. Turner and Troche were dating when they started working on the movie, but then broke up mid-shooting. Things were very fraught for the last year of making the film — and Troche couldn’t move her stuff out because they’d used their apartment as a set.
  3. The film was inspired by a scene from the 1991 movie Switch where Ellen Barkin goes to a lesbian bar. The bar was so far from their experiences, they felt they needed to accurately show their lesbian community on-screen
  4. They shot the film on nights and weekends while all working full-time jobs.
  5. The original idea was to combine narrative with experimental with documentary until legendary producer Christine Vachon told them to cut the documentary portion.
  6. Vachon was also who told them to change the title from Ely and Max.
  7. The wedding sequence was the first scene they filmed. It happened because Turner found a wedding dress at a thrift store that fit her perfectly. It’s still Troche’s favorite part of the movie.
  8. Half of the crew threatened to quit when Troche and Turner suggested a scene where one of the lesbians has sex with a man. They incorporated that response into the film itself with the following sequence where the other lesbians express their negative feelings. That moment was also inspired by a Disney cartoon where Goofy is judged by a group of cats.
  9. V.S. Brodie had to wait almost a year to get her hair cut until they had the money and equipment to shoot that scene.
  10. They shot the film on equipment borrowed from various film schools. This resulted in the film being largely shot on an eclair NPR, a 16mm film camera known for shooting news footage during World War II.

So much queer movie magic!!


Check out the entire lineup for Queering the Canon: Besties.

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Drew Burnett Gregory

Drew is a Brooklyn-based writer, filmmaker, and theatremaker. She is a Senior Editor at Autostraddle with a focus in film and television, sex and dating, and politics. Her writing can also be found at Bright Wall/Dark Room, Cosmopolitan UK, Refinery29, Into, them, and Knock LA. She was a 2022 Outfest Screenwriting Lab Notable Writer and a 2023 Lambda Literary Screenwriting Fellow. She is currently working on a million film and TV projects mostly about queer trans women. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Drew Burnett has written 539 articles for us.

10 Comments

    • I think the reason that scene worked, was the character seemed the most stereotypically dyke-y of the bunch. She made it clear it was just about one particular f#cking, nothing more. She said it didn’t change her as a lesbian . . . and I, for one, believed her.

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