HollyShorts 2020: LGBTQIA+ Block - Film Reviews

This year's HollyShorts film festival has begun, and while this year's festival has gone virtual, there is no shortage of amazing films to watch.  Every creator here has done something amazing, especially as the year has gone on and so many things have happened to complicate this medium. Congratulations to every film that has been spotlighted at this year's festival.

This year's films coming from the LGBTQIA+ community are some of the more touching and beautiful of the festival, a celebration of the queer community in so many ways, both the joyous and the difficult. All of my personal favorite entries will be listed below, with the others from the block following. All of them are worth a look.


Acuitzeramo
Dir. Miguel Angel Caballero
Starring Sal Lopez, Matias Ponce, Luis Aldana

A Mexican elder who loses his partner of 15 years calls his partner's estranged son to tell him of his passing. This is a beautiful story about a culture that has traditionally had some differing views of living an open life in the gay community, especially later in life. This is really heartwarming to see.

Graceland
Dir. Bonnie Ryan
Starring Annap Camp, Daniel Eric Gold, Monique Coleman, Katie Beth West

It all starts with the King, when Grace claims to be the reincarnation of Elvis, causing tension in her family. This is a heartwarming look at acceptance in the identity of the younger population, something that is routinely ignored by parents and the larger community.

Cloudy River
Dir. Sophie Hardcastle, Charlie Ford
Starring Rebecca Robertson Rowan Davie

A six-part series, it follows Emma and River, a pansexual artist and a musician respectively, as their relationship is challenged as they move in together. Their open relationship is tested as they explore the new versions of their lives and wonder if true bonds can be formed with this type of relationship, given its individualist ideals. There's a lot to this, and the portion of this community that doesn't adhere to relationship norms is given a long look, something that isn't as commonplace in most media.

Liminal  
Dir. Daniel Abramovici
Starring Aaron Poole, Emily Piggford, Vlad Alexis

A man's life choices cycle around him in a way that he cannot recognize. But when all of those decisions begin to meld into a long, shared experience, it allows him to see his own scars and who he truly is. This is a beautiful film of personal expression through music and dance, and one that really evokes a ton of emotion.

Query
Dir. Sophie Kargman
Starring Justice Smith, Graham Patrick Martin, Armie Hammer

Two best friends and roommates have a long, casual discussion about sexuality, challenging one another about their opinions. This is a fun look into the culture of male friendships, as well as the spectrum of sexuality and the fragility of bonds between people close to each other.



Additionally in this block:

Buck
Dir. Elegance Brattonm Jovan James

Caught in a depression, Lynn attempts to discover happiness by turning to more debauched means, finding getting better a complicated thing.


Feeling Flush
Dir. Erin Brown Thomas
Starring Scout Durwood, Kelly Vrooman

Vicki and her new girlfriend Samantha are very close, with the exception of their time in the bathroom. Their relationship is tested when their small bathroom presents them with some new challenges.

Flex
Dir. Matt Porter
Starring Charles Gould, Charles Rogers, Ellington Wells
A story of a man figuring out who he is after seeing a man flexing their muscles on television as a child.

Flourish
Dir. Heather Acs
Starring Becca Blackwell, Justin Sams, Poppy Liu

A party converges the lives of several people as they attempt to live their best lives, even with the complications that life in the community can present.

My Brother Is a Mermaid
Dir. Alfie Dale
Starring Aidean Broderick, Josh Barrow, Claire Cordler

A magical story about a non-binary teenager, as seen through the eyes of their seven-year-old brother.

Rain Poncho
Dir. Andrea Rosen
Starring Andrea Rosen, Elizabeth Sherman, Eliza Elder, Anya Elder

This is a fun look into the life of two same sex parents who are just doing all they can to keep their kids safe and happy, especially when their kids begin to explore relationships and individuality.

Vote Neil
Dir. Honora Talbott
Starring Neil Rafferty, Michael Rudulph, Patricia Todd

A look into the story of a gay man running for political office. He is trying to replace the first openly gay lawmaker and attempting to both continue their legacy and pave their own way in the typically red state of Alabama.



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