SENE Film Fest, or Southeast New England Film Fest, one of the longest-running film, music and arts festivals in the country, premiered a series of LGBT short films at Theatre 82 in Cranston.
The 10 films selected for the festival were: Reshaping Beauty: Round In All The Right Places (dir. Tom Goss), Summer Vacation (dir. Matthew Brennan), Night and Day (dir. Peter Anthony), Plunge (dir. David James Holloway, Samuel Lawrence), Sunset Park, warehouse (dir. Dazhi Huang), Friends Like That (dir. Francesca de Fusco), Ticking Boxes (dir. Robert Metson), Doesn’t Fall Far (dir. Joshua Michael Payne), Kama’āina (Child of the Land) (dir. Kimi Howl Lee), and TarGay (dir. Rachel Garlin). The shorts ranged from three minutes long to 15. More information about each film can be read here.
While I thoroughly enjoyed all the films, my favorite had to be Doesn’t Fall Far, directed by Joshua Michael Payne. Doesn’t Fall Far tells the story of a father and son who both are hiding secrets about themselves. One night, these secrets come disastrously, and hilariously, to a head, and the two men must figure out how to move forward after learning more about each other than they ever wanted to know.
Two of the directors were also in attendance: Dahzi Huang and Rachel Garlin. Huang, a recent graduate of California Institute of the Arts, created Sunset Park, warehouse. The film depicts a short-term romance between two immigrants in New York City while juxtaposing how prosperity is portrayed on social media versus the reality that many are excluded from prosperity in late-stage capitalism. Huang also spoke about his next project: a love story between two exes that includes an airport chase scene.
Garlin, a folk songwriter based in San Francisco, created TarGay, a lighthearted critique of rainbow capitalism through song. She spoke about her impromptu creation of the film. She decided to make it while she was walking through a Target in San Francisco. She noticed just how much rainbow apparel they had already stocked in May for Pride Month and recruited fellow shoppers to participate in the film’s creation. Garlin is currently on tour for her most recent album and will be performing in several cities across the Northeast through August.
Something I appreciated from this festival was though all the films centered around queerness, each was distinct and unique in its portrayals of queer experiences. The varied depictions of queerness in the films help to do away with the idea that LGBTQ experiences are monolithic, a lesson many creators in Hollywood and many people not a part of the LGBTQ community more broadly have not yet learned.