LGBTQ+ Films - Part II:
We are back back back again for another episode of Make It Short, focusing on LGBTQ+ short films (yes, that was a Drag Race reference). And if you are a fan of movies and part of the queer community like myself, you have probably rolled your eyes at some LGBTQ+ stories that failed to create convincing narratives for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer characters. Some films focus too much on the sexuality or the gender aspects of queer people and this ends up being that character’s only characteristic - they are queer, and that is as much as you will ever know about them. But people are more than their sexual orientation and their gender identity. People have families, friends, they study and have jobs, they fall in love and they travel, they lose their jobs and take vacations, they adopt pets, paint their apartments and have dreams. Although most aspects of queer people’s lives are permeated by the fact that we are queer, that is not the exclusive facet of their lives. And it is so refreshing when films tackle that idea and think outside the box. That is why today we brought some genre short films that will blow your minds for all the right reasons. And to discuss them, I join forces once again with CenterFrame co-founder and filmmaker Bernhard Pucher and filmmaker, editor, and director of Brighton’s Film Pride Festival, Deborah Espect.
Last time we discussed how LGBTQ+ people had been erased from the big screen during a large part of the last century and how just recently we have started reclaiming our corner in the industry. And while I will always have some space in my heart to watch a spectacular Moonlight-like queer drama or a game changer romance à la Brokeback Mountain, I will also always celebrate LGBTQ+ characters occupying different worlds and living different lives. Can we get a queer slasher film where bisexual people need to run from a gay serial killer? What about a fantasy epic where trans people need to find a ring of power that will give them control over all the land? And wouldn’t you watch a lesbian couple fighting interstellar threats in a galaxy far far away? Yes, yes, and yes, give me them all! Today we are lucky enough to talk to some very creative filmmakers who took their LGBTQ+ characters to another level.
An ambitious crime drama full of humor, DragNostra is a thirteen minute long short film that follows the story of an Italian mafia family in Brazil. Directed by Brazilian filmmaker Paulo Vidotti, this short film mixes different genres to deliver something you have never seen before. With plenty of tropes from other gangster and heist movies, DragNostra finds its own voice when it presents its protagonist to us: the successor of the family who works as a drag queen called Sunshine. Things get even more intense when Sunshine and her friends decide to rob a bank and avenge the protagonist’s family. Even though some aspects of the film may be seen as too ambitious, the final product is entertaining and really surprising. Paulo talked to us about his vision for the film and his inspirations, while we all talked about the fact that it could have been a great television pilot.
Click on the image to watch The Cruise - Directed by Richard Louprasong
After that we discussed The Cruise, directed by American filmmaker Richard Louprasong. In this horror short film with a great sense of humor, we follow a gay couple that on Halloween night, decide to take a drive into the woods rumored to be haunted, to summon an urban legend. Those woods, by the way, are also a popular cruising area where gay men go to find sexual partners. It is a well made short that truly understands the format and the genre, resulting in an effective homage to campy 80s slashers. Even with some predictable twists, The Cruise still manages to create an engaging queer scary story with LGBTQ+ characters in situations we are not so used to seeing them, which is a good thing per se. And of course, we had a great time talking to Richard and learning more about his inspirations, the story’s metaphors, and the process of bringing this great short horror to life.
And those were our films of the day! Now it is your turn, make sure to hit play and take a deeper look into our discussions to find out more about these LGBTQ+ short films that venture into horror and action. I am sure you will find valuable tips and interesting insights on filmmaking and on how to tell good stories on the screen. As always, we had a lot of fun discussing these creative short films and getting to know their talented authors. And remember, if you are a filmmaker and have directed any kind of short film, be sure to send it to us and have a chance to feature your work in one of the next episodes of Make It Short. Also, please share this message with other writers, directors, and producers you may know! I hope to see you soon in our next episode!
Film & TV Critic
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