My Blonde GF: Exploring Image Ownership, Advanced Technology and Consent

My Blonde GF holds UK premier at Sheffield Docfest -- OKRE is proud to have supported and funded My Blonde GF.

My Blonde GF will be showing as part of the Turning Tides: Short Films programme at Sheffield Docfest.

Sat 17 June 15:30 - 17:26
Shorts: Turning Tides + Q&A
Showroom: Channel 5 Screen 2

Sun 18 June 10:15-12:11
Shorts: Turning Tides + Q&A
Showroom: Curzon Screen 2

My Blonde GF is a short film that explores the lived experience and mental health impact of non-consensual deepfake pornography and image-based abuse.

In 2020, poet, writer and performance artist Helen Mort discovered that 15 years’ worth of images from her social media had been deepfaked and uploaded to a porn site by an anonymous user who referred to her as ‘My Blonde GF’.

The impact on her mental health was compounded by the consequent discovery that there are currently no laws addressing the harmful use of deepfake technology.

OKRE supported this film, produced by Tyke Films and also funded by BFI Doc Society, through the OKRE Fund and by connecting filmmakers with researchers through the OKRE Network, including Dr Afroditi Pina who conducts research in forensic and social psychology on the areas of sexual violence, gender equality and victimisation.

Working with researchers and AI experts, alongside Helen’s lived experience, was crucial to the direction of the film. Dr Pina raised the issue that using deepfake on Helen carried serious risk for re-traumatisation for Helen. She urged the production to be very cautious and prioritise consent from Helen.

It is being filmed now and will be submitted to festivals and shown on Guardian’s website.

This project drew the attention of the OKRE Funding body because:

  • It looks at mental health and trauma through a unique and fascinating lens.
  • It is topical and relevant to the new development of technology.
  • Through collaboration with researchers and AI artists, it is set to bring in a depth and wider understanding of the ramifications of this new technology.

About My Blonde GF:

In November 2020, an acquaintance knocked on Helen’s door to tell her he had seen explicit photos of her on a porn site. Helen had never shared intimate photos, so she didn’t believe it, until she saw for herself.

She had been deep-faked. Her face had been digitally edited onto images of women in sexually explicit and violent scenes. Helen stares into the viewer’s eyes as she describes the deepfakes which appear to be of herself, but depict her face on other women’s bodies in rooms she has never entered and scenarios she has never experienced.

Helen felt violated and paranoid. She called the police to report the crime, but they told her there was nothing they could do, no crime had been committed. It is not illegal to make deepfake images.

Helen’s mental health deteriorated as she began to live out these scenes through nightmares. The fictious images took on a life of their own, altering her own memories and perception.

Project Summary

Title: My Blonde GF
Content: Short Film / Documentary
Stage for Funding: Complete
Current: Finished filming, being prepared for Festival submission and will be shown on Guardian website in 2023

Writer: Helen Mort, Lived Experience
Producers: Rebecca Mark-Lawson, Daria Nitsche, Clair Maleney
Director: Rosie Morris
Editor: Vera Simmonds
Research Expert: Dr Afroditi Pina, Senior Lecture in Forensic Psychology I Professor Clare McGlynn, professor of Law at Durham University
Absolute Post: AI Artists
Tyke Films: Production

Interested in applying for OKRE Funding?

The OKRE Fund supports the development of fresh entertainment that could potentially shift perceptions around mental health, climate change, health, migration and poverty.

An OKRE Funded project must involve creative collaboration. Strong projects will involve creative working with someone from another sector or community i.e. between researchers, people with lived experience of an issue and entertainment professionals.

Apply for the OKRE Fund