Powerful US lesbian teen drama First Girl I Loved is coming to Australian cinema screens in June.
Written and directed by Kerem Sanga (The Young Kieslowski), the film won the 2016 Sundance Audience Best Of Next Award and opened to excellent reviews overseas.
Inspired by Sanga's own sister’s experience of coming out, the fictional story centres on sixteen year old Anne, an arty loner and photographer for the school yearbook. She falls for Sasha, the star of the school softball team and shares her feelings with Clifford, her best friend. Clifford’s secret crush on Anne is revealed and his jealousy becomes one of the forces that threatens to destroy the girls’ relationship.
Sanga explores some heavy themes in the drama such as consent, sexuality, the struggles around coming out and a new kind of post-marriage equality homophobia.
“The type that I felt might go on where Anne lived is a more insidious homophobia—homophobia that might be driven underground, because it’s no longer ‘cool’ or fine to be totally outwardly homophobic,” he told NBCnews.com.
Dylan Gelula (Xan on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) plays Anne and Brianna Hildebrand (Negasonic Teenage Warhead in Deadpool) is Sasha. Hildebrand came out as queer shortly after filming the movie and shared her own story as part of the It Gets Better video campaign project, which supports LGBT youth globally.
“It resonated so closely to me so I was excited about it,” she told the UK’s The Independent Newspaper of the First Girl I Loved script. “Throughout my junior high and high school life, I was kind of in the same boat as Anne. I was a little confused. I hadn’t seen a film that has shown queer kids during their confused times. Usually, queer cinema is sexualised or is about grown people who know who they are.”
“It took me a long time, not necessarily to come out, but to understand how I was feeling. It wasn’t planned for me to come out with First Girl or anything. I just so happened to have met my current girlfriend on the set.”
THE EQUALITY CAMPAIGN FUNDRAISING SCREENINGS:
First Girl I Loved will screen at Cinema Nova in Melbourne on Wed July 19 at 8.40pm, at Cinema Paradiso in Perth on Wed July 19 at 9pm and at Newfarm Cinemas in Brisbane on Monday July 24 at 6.30pm. Two dollars from each ticket will be donated to The Equality Campaign, fighting for marriage equality in Australia. The film is also showing at Dendy Newtown in Sydney, with regional dates to be announced.