It's not the destination that counts it's the getting there
Em and Jay, respectively a woman film director and her lead actress embark on a journey between Montreal, Canada and Durham, North Carolina, where a short film of theirs is being presented at the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. They drive a Jeep and pull a pop tent, and decide to shoot a film along the way. They talk, they laugh, they argue, they sing. Nothing much happens except that they develop a beautiful friendship and debunk quite a few taboos.
Two Straight Girls at a Queer Fest is like Seinfeld meets Thelma & Louise, without the bad ending. It also tackles the subject of mental illness and plays on the boundaries of documentary and fiction.
The road movie takes a whole new meaning here with the camera being held by the two female leads, not afraid of showing their bad sides and crummy profile. The title itself says it all, with a tongue-in-cheek kind of humor. But it’s really a lure. All the expectations created by it are false. The festival is not the carnival you'd expect. They meet genuinely interesting people. Two Straight Girls at a Queer Fest is a philosophical essay backed by a surf rock punk soundtrack.
Shot on a shoestring budget with barely an outline as a script, the girl’s odyssey sees them evolving from something to nothing. They become somewhat of anti-heroic figures as their weaknesses become their strengths and they have the courage to go through with the project, surmounting fear, mastering obstacles, knowing when to quit and making the best out of a sorry situation. They are both reckless and sound. Annoying and lovable. We end up rooting for them even though we know they’re headed for disaster.
The film is also part documentary. It depicts the struggles of being a female director and a not-so-young-anymore woman actor. It demonstrates how the best way out of a sticky situation is often to take matters into your own hands.
The film's initial motivation was simply to be made.
Em, who is the filmmaker's alter ego, must shoot a feature at any cost or else she will loose her status as a producer and won't be allowed to apply for public funding anymore. In French-speaking Quebec, that equals to the end of her career. When she receives an invitation to screen one of her short films at the Outsouth Queer Fest (formerly known as the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival), she invites her lead actress Jay to take the journey with her and improvise a film that they will shoot themselves along the way. Reluctant at the beginning, Jay remains reluctant all the way. But a joyful ride nonetheless ensued and both women develop a strong friendship.
Two Straight Girls at a Queer Fest is simply the best bullshit film ever made.
Two Straight Girls at a Queer Fest was shot on a shoestring budget. No but really.
$40 CAD for bumper stickers
$20 USD in quarters for fooling around in Virginia Beach
2 Canon non-full frame DSLRs
1 Sony action Cam
1 Zoom sound recorder
2 Senheiser lapel microphones
Telefilm Canada's Covid Emergency Fund helped to pay for post, together with provincial and federal tax credits.