So many great films and so little time!
Welcome to the 4th and final week of my little personal Pride 2021 Film Festival where I’ve been presenting LGBT short films. I’ve been posting a selection of films every Saturday this month and encourage you to check out the full series. Even with all the titles I’ve packed into this final week, there are zillions more I would love to feature. We’ll do this again!
You can watch these films on any device, but for full effect I suggest watching on a big screen desktop monitor or connecting to your TV.
I open this week with two touching films about transgender youth coping with their transition. I think these films are important because they put a human face on people I feel too often are reduced to mere abstractions while others debate science and politics. While all this noise is going on, I think we lose sight that real living human beings are involved.
As described on YouTube, “MASKED follows the story of High Schooler, Zoe, struggling to come out as a trans man. After knowing who they truly are for a while, Zoe finds themselves fatigued by their fear of whether others will accept them or not.”
The film was produced in Australia in conjunction with youth 15 to 18 from the Knox ‘ Free To Be Me’ LGBTQIA Youth group. Support and funding were provided by the Knox City Council, YAC Vic & the Victorian State Government.
The Real Thing
This is a touching story of young Allie Waltze, birth name Robert, who has transitioned while her father was away on active duty. We see his return home and their first meeting. As said on YouTube, “Parental love is unconditional. It transcends a person’s memory of their child. The Real Thing is an infinitely stronger bond.”
This is an unusual, clever and wonderfully presented story of a young 9-year-old boy who makes it clear that “I am gay!” It’s been extremely well received at film festivals winning numerous awards:
- Best short film (4 Awards)
- Best inspirational film (1 Award)
- Best LGBT film (2 Awards)
- Best Original Story (2 Awards)
- Best Child Actor: Caden Andreew (2 Awards)
- Best supporting Actor: Teon Kelley (2 Awards)
- Best supporting actress: Sarah Bellini (2 Awards)
One on One
This, too, is a fun film. Alex and Trevor are boyfriends in high school. Trevor wants to keep it on the down low, while Alex is frustrated with the secrecy. So what to do? Well, drag Trevor into dance class of course!
You might say the story is a bit corny, but that’s its charm. As one review on IMDb put it, the film is “charming lighthearted, unpretentious” and will leave you smiling. The reviewer called it “ten minutes well spent,” and I agree. As you can see from the thumbnail, it’s done very well at the film festivals. Special thanks to Luis Fernando Midence for giving his permission to post the film here. He wrote, shot, edited, directed and produced the film.
This is the story of a professional athlete who has been in a sexual relationship with his boyfriend for 3 years, but his internalized homophobia prevents him from acknowledging he’s gay — or even that his boyfriend is! Good script and strong performances.
The Last Blue Cup
Jesse and Phel meet in Target, and then again later. One thing leads to another, but there’s one big complication: Jesse is about to move away.
This is the story of a remorseful mother counsels her son through video diaries as he struggles to embrace his sexuality. Guardian was has been an Official Selection at over a dozen film festivals. Awards include Best LGBT Award at Voiceless International and Best Directing Award at Films to the People, and was a Finalist at the CSU Media Arts Festival.
Time to shine, Mr. Walter!
This one is a unique. Mr. Walter, an older gay man, is alone now after his lover has apparently died. He’s got a fist full of pills in his hand, but then…
The backstory to this film is as interesting as the movie itself. It’s the first work by filmmaker Frank Mosvold while in film school — and he used it to come out to his parents. It was shot on 16mm film in 1994.
Forsaken tells the life story on Jonathan, a gay youth who struggles with his homosexuality and Catholicism. He copes ultimately by becoming a priest.
This is another short student-made film. It follows Josh’s struggle to come out and gain his father’s acceptance.
On an intense desert hike, two friends get in a deadlock when one of them seems to willfully lose their water and their way, intent on pushing their friendship to a new level.
Thirst has been shown at dozens of film festivals worldwide. It won Best LGBT Film at NYC Shorts and Best Short at TLVFest 10.
The Gay Club
This is true story of a young lesbian named Hailey who attempts to create a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) club during her time in high school. Despite the backlash she knew she would receive due to religious, political, and cultural pressures, Hailey was determined to create a connection with other LGBTQ youth and allies. Despite all the struggles and hate, 84 people attended the group’s first meeting.
Two Little Boys
Released last year and regrettably inspired by true events, this is a very dark story of internalized homophobia at its worst. Sometimes the anti-gay bully is gay. Superbly told and haunting. Notable festival selections include:
- Out on Film : Best Short Film Audience Award
- Manhattan shorts: Finalist
- Nashville Film Festival: Official Selection
- Norwich Film Festival: Official Selection
- Brooklyn Film Festival: Official Selection
After that last film we need something uplifting! Writer/Director Jake Graf nails it: “Trevor’s life has become a void, following the passing of his wife and long term companion, Doris. Days run into weeks, as Trevor slowly finds himself isolated and alone, and unconcernedly slipping towards death. A chance encounter in the park with a mysterious stranger equally troubled by his own dark past jarringly reawakens him, and forces both men to once again start to live.” Watch this one!
Thirteen or so Minutes
I’ll close with a work by William Branden Blinn, the same filmmaker who produced Triple Standard above. This film tells the unique story of two heterosexual men who happen to meet, and later, after thirteen or so minutes, find their horizons shifted.
Due to age-restricted content, this video cannot be streamed through a third-party website like this blog — but it can be viewed directly on YouTube.
Title image is a screenshot from The Real Thing.
My Pride 2021 Film Festival is a 4-week series posting every Saturday through June. Click here for the complete series.
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