I’ve been writing about the ‘short film programs at Inside Out this year but BOLD is a for real short program. And the films in this program show the Black LGBT experience especially in a 21st century context.
There are at least three story chains or series in Pompeii, the last and the most devastating of which are of Tam (Otamere Guobadia). A bouncer doesn’t let them into some crass dance party because it’s a masc dance party and they’re wearing an earring. The stories reveal Tam’s messy side that comes from an authentic place of hurt. Speaking of authentic, the film sells that, specifically with how many rehearsal these scenes must have taken to perform. Also, this is the most NSFW of the shorts, but don’t worry, you’re home.
There’s more genderqueer representation in these shorts, one of them coming from Robin Cloud’s 2 Dollars. The protagonist here is Syd (Gabrielle Maiden). It’s not my favorite short here, if I had to choose a ‘least favorite,’ but it still exposes corporate hypocrisy while showing what it’s like to be a creative type who needs a money job. It sucks remembering that white collar workplaces are just as bad at accepting Black genderqueer people as blue collar workplaces do.
Across, Beyond, and Over is about the reunion of two trans men who haven’t seen each other since middle school. The meta documentary format here exposes the honest conversation between both men who have hurt each other. Those conversations are enough to transport the audiences to these subjects’ younger selves. My favorite of the series.
Jessica Mendez Siqueiros’ Adeline, the Great has the same outspoken and quirky energy as its titular character (Dylan Chloe Dash). And that energy is present even in its quieter scenes. Adeline has a hard time finding friends and there are layers here in depicting a moment when she doesn’t even know she’s making a friend. This is also the most family friendly short while also having queer content. NSFW content and kid friendly content belong in the same program. I am saying this sincerely.
Nadia Charlery’s Zanmi follows the coming out storyline that comes with many LGBT + films. But credit is due to all of this unfolding in a dinner scene, which is a kind of scene that’s difficult to film. There are a lot of faces to capture and the reactions that go with those faces, especially when a woman comes out to her brother in front of all of their friends in a New Years’ Eve dinner party. This is also the second film from Martinique that I’ve seen. Despite legal freedoms, LGBT+ people in Martinique still face rejection from their families, and this short makes that reality authentic.
David di Giovanni’s Body So Fluorescent is the third film tackling the Black LGBT+ experience in the nightlife scene. This shows Shanice (Amanda Cordner, also the film’s co-writer), among many things, fighting against a transwoman for ‘stealing her man’. Along with nightlife, it also tackles being the bad friend, having a bad friend. It also tackles an issue in Black culture so controversial and problematic that I can’t even comment on it. Fluorescent started out 60 minute Summerworks play. This nine minute short version seems to make better sense of a longer story.
Finally, Malakai’s Postmarked lets us experience a few days in the life of a boy, Scooter (Jaylin Fletcher), on a journey to look for his runaway trans sister. There’s a spryness in depicting the soul of someone experiencing pain and joy even at a young age. Loretta Devine makes a cameo as someone who helps Scooter finds his way. This film, a good example of indie filmmaking of the past decade, is a great way to close this series.
After the festival, you can watch Adeline, the Great and Postmarked on Youtube.
- Rated: NR
- Genre: Comedy, documentary, Drama, Short
- Release Date: 10/7/2020
- Directed by: David di Giovanni, Harry Lighton, Jessica Mendez Siqueiros, Malakai, Nadia Charlery, Noah Schamus, Robin Cloud
- Starring: Amanda Cordner, Dylan Chloe Dash, Gabrielle Maiden, Jaylin Fletcher, Otamere Guobadia
- Produced by: Jordan Tyner, Nicole Crespo, Ruth Du, Sorcha Bacon, Wayne Burns
- Written by: Amanda Cordner, Angela Wong Carbone, Harry Lighton, Jasmine Johnson, Robin Cloud
- Studio: Cloud Creative Media, Dresser Drawer Productions, Fullscreen, Try Hard Productions