Just after this year’s well-attended TWIST: Seattle Queer Film Festival, local film fans have another opportunity to dive into more northwest cinema. The Seattle Shorts Film Festival will grace the SIFF Film Center from November 11-13, with notable guests and discussion panels.
Among its award-winning lineup of films, SSFF will also screen some queer-focused pieces, each with varying subject matter and storytelling devices.
This short documentary shares the story of Bruce “Brooklyn” Sabado Buenaventura, a local Renton High School student who describes the experience of discovering her gender identity and coming out as trans. Long Tran directs this short documentary in a dignified, lean, uplifting way that will engage audiences and leave them with hope for future generations. Great editing and a wonderful candid interview with the charismatic Brooklyn, who is sure to be an Instagram fashion star.
The Cost of Things
The second of SSFF’s queer films this year, “The Cost of Things,” is a short glimpse into a robbery gone wrong. What starts as an interesting concept about two criminals burgling the home of a wealthy poly couple (two women, one man) devolves into a graphically violent, overzealous, underperforming directorial project. A beautiful filming location and surprising insights about haves vs. have-nots don’t quite make up for shabby costuming, sub-par editing, and unfortunate acting.
Marina and Adrienne
Written and directed by Lucy Campbell, “Marina and Adrienne” features beautiful cinematography, a gripping sequence of events, and a gut-wrenching story of two young lesbians who bind their breasts and hide their hair, passing as men on a fishing boat. It’s frustratingly unclear why they’ve ventured to do this—whether it’s to escape a bad home situation as stowaways, or to free themselves from financial peril by obtaining high-paying jobs that would otherwise be withheld from women—but the committed acting, expert editing, and shocking plot will suck you in before you can question the “why” too long. Easily the best of SSFF’s queer films to be featured this year!
The film “Randy” tries hard to say something important. Directed by Shawn Ryan, starring newcomer Paul DeVincenzo, and featuring Missi Pyle, the film explores a single morning in which Randy (DeVincenzo), a young gay man with Down Syndrome, is getting ready for an interview as a social media marketer. Despite a solid performance from the beloved Pyle and an enchanting debut for DeVincenzo, the film’s bubblegum soundtrack, homages to gay clichés, and shallow characterizations feel more like a PSA about acceptance rather than a compelling short film. I’d be much more interested in a documentary about the sparkling DeVincenzo himself rather than a fiction project created around a character he plays.
Piece of Cake
There are already stories about girls who don’t want their parents to meet their girlfriends, sure. But “Piece of Cake” takes this dramatic moment in a young woman’s life and makes it accessible to a young Gen-Z audience. The mystery of this film is discovering why the main character is so hesitant to bring her parents and her nouveau-bohemian girlfriend together. Excellent cinematography, costuming, and storytelling devices keep the narrative interesting as it unfolds. While the actors have great raw talent, the director could have coached them better for line delivery and pacing, but “Piece of Cake” was still visually enticing and emotionally satisfying.
Don’t miss this year’s Seattle Shorts Film Festival! You can buy your tickets here.