The Sympathy Card: Lesbian Comedy About Bad First Dates and Cancer

The Sympathy Card: Lesbian Comedy About Bad First Dates and Cancer

The Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival, or Roze Filmdagen, is taking place March 12-22. Because of the Roze Filmdagen, I know some new queer titles you can watch. The first one I can review for you is an American comedy: The Sympathy Card.

In The Sympathy Card, Emma has lung cancer and it’s not going well. She presents her new wife Josie a deathbed order. Is that a thing now? Apparently, it is. Josie needs to find someone new while Emma is still around to approve of her choice. Josie goes on some bad dates before developing feelings for her florist Siobhan. Below, you can find what I thought of the movie. In de video, you can find a clip from the movie!

‘The Sympathy Card: Lesbian Comedy About Bad First Dates and Cancer’ The Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival, or Roze Filmdagen, is taking place March 12-22. Because of De Roze Filmdagen, I know some new queer titles you can watch. The first one I can review for you is an American comedy: The Sympathy Card. Here, you can find what I thought of the movie: http://bit.ly/TheSympathyCard
Watch my review on YouTube to find a clip from the movie!

Before watching The Sympathy Card

I have to say that beforehand, I was a bit reluctant to watch The Sympathy Card. I have a personal history with cancer. Consequently, I try to avoid being drawn into super sad stories about it. This movie is described as a comedy, though.

I decided to watch the trailer. In the first one I watched, there was no mention of cancer, just bad dates, and a romance. I decided to watch the second trailer, which did cover the cancer part. I noticed that this was the level I could handle. So, I asked the team for the press screener and I watched it. If you have a personal history with cancer too, it might be a good idea to watch the trailer first.

The Sympathy Card is not very realistic

Let me start off by saying that the storyline is not very realistic. Not every choice made in this story makes sense. Many of your questions will be left unanswered. For instance, how does Josie end up being so bad at dates? It almost seems as if her date with Emma is her first date ever. Who was she before the opening of this movie?

The biggest issue I have with this whole idea is: how big of a sex drive do you expect your character to have when the one she loves is dying and she’s taking care of her wife until she dies? It’s already a stage of mourning. I think anyone who has ever lost somebody close to them can tell you that it’s not your peak moment. Whether your wife orders you to flirt with people or not.

The bad dates are hilarious

Forget the unrealistic part of the movie for a second. I thoroughly enjoyed watching all the bad dates. It’s reassuring that there are people out there who are worse than me.

Not every actor is as good as the other, but I enjoyed Josie’s responses and the moments she’s talking to herself, which turn already awkward dates even more awkward.  I may have a crush on the florist now too, even though she has some tricks up her sleeve as well. And some sexy scenes are, well, sexy. So, despite the many questions I had, the surprises that come your way and the awkward moments kept me watching the movie until the end.

Oh, the end… What?!

Unconventional

Have you had enough of watching coming-out stories? Have you had enough of watching teens or college girls? If so, the Sympathy Card might bring something new to the table. Instead of a coming-of-age movie, it’s about the end of life. If I had to guess the characters’ age, I’d guess they are in their thirties. It’s about a married couple deciding how to live their (short) lives together from now on, rather than a wedding being the final event in a movie. Those are all things you don’t see very often in movies from our community.

Where can you watch it?

On its website, the team states that they had a festival run last year and that they hope to bring the movie to more festivals this spring. On the Facebook page, you can read that The Sympathy Card will be shown at the Roze Filmdagen and Melbourne Queer Film Festival in March. You can also find the movie on Twitter and Instagram. I suggest you follow those accounts to stay up to date about festival dates. Hopefully, you will soon discover when and where you can watch the movie online.

Haviland Stillwell Discusses New Queer Roles and Shows

Haviland Stillwell Discusses New Queer Roles and Shows

A few months ago, at ClexaCon 2019, I was able to talk to Haviland Stillwell. I saw her on a panel during the previous ClexaCon edition and watched her as part of my review of Freelancers Anonymous. I wanted to know a bit more about this movie, something she said on that panel, and her role in BIFL. You can find a written version of the interview below, but you can also watch it in the added video.

‘Haviland Stillwell Discusses New Queer Roles and Shows’ At ClexaCon 2019, I was able to talk to Haviland Stillwell. I saw her on a panel during the previous ClexaCon edition and watched her as part of my review of Freelancers Anonymous. I wanted to know a bit more about this movie, something she said on that panel, and her role in BIFL: http://bit.ly/HavilandStillwell19

Haviland Stillwell on Freelancers Anonymous

Me: “It has been a few months since Freelancers Anonymous has been released. What has the response been like?”

Haviland Stillwell: “The response to Freelancers Anonymous has been really positive. I think one of my favorite things about the film is that it’s so female positive. There are so many principal females in it. And we were all saying on set when we were making it that usually when you’re doing a film, there’s one or two other women, who are principal characters. And in this one, there were so many. It was entirely principal females actually and we don’t usually get the chance. You know, there’s usually like one older woman and one younger woman. It doesn’t happen often that we’re sort of all in the same age group and all getting to work together. So that’s been really positive.

Also, it’s a funny movie. It’s a rom-com and you know, it’s nice to just have a good old-fashioned funny movie. And my character is completely ridiculous. So, there’s that too.

Genuine support

Me: “What was the energy like on set?”

Haviland: “The energy on set was really fun. Because it’s a comedy, a lot of things… I mean, we took it seriously in terms of getting our work done and everything. But there was also a lot of laughter and a lot of really genuine support. Sonia Sebastian, the director, who’s amazing, would say ‘cut’ and everyone was like: ‘that was great,’ ‘you nailed it,’ ‘you kicked ass.’ So, that was really cool too because there was a lot of really positive comradery, which I like.

I’ve definitely been on sets where it’s not like that or it’s higher stress or people aren’t as positive. So, I have learned that I really value that and it is a more positive environment. Like with anybody in their work environment, if you have people around you who are giving you the thumbs up, you’re going to want to work harder. You’re going to just be more encouraged to do better work.

Haviland Stillwell on BIFL

(This interview took place in April, months before the release of BIFL)

Me: “You’re in BIFL too. Can you tell us something about that project?”

Haviland: “Yeah, I heard somebody say it’s kind of like a drama with a lot of comedy or comedy with a lot of drama, depending on what lens you’re viewing it through. To me, it’s more of a comedy. It’s a roommate/buddy kind of a show. My character is the big sister of one of the girls who lives in the house.”

Optimist

Haviland: “I am the kind of person that… I think any of us, who have gone through hard times or gone through depression or anything like that, you have that person in your life who just is so eagerly trying to make everything okay. They’re just like: ‘but what can I do to make it okay for you?’ ‘Why can’t you just be happy?’

Not that they don’t really understand; they’re so eager to do that. That’s who I play. There are a lot of opportunities to make fun of my character because it is sort of like ‘there’s that optimist.’ I also say that she’s a controlling optimist. Like: ‘Everything’s fine. I’m going to make sure of it. If I have to drag you kicking and screaming, you’re going to smile!’ We all rely on that person in our family, especially who’s kind of pulling us up a little bit, but who may have cracks in their veneer as well.”

Young adults

Haviland: “I think it’s primarily a show about young adults who are finding their way. Like, one of the characters is dealing with depression.

One of the characters is dealing with being in love with her best friend. And that, you know, we’ve all been there. We have all been there! Literally don’t know an LGBT person who hasn’t been in love with their best friend at some point. So, there’s that too. There are a couple of characters that you’re sort of like: ‘Okay. I know she likes her. Is that going to happen? What’s going to happen?’ I think it’s a lot about people just trying to find their way in the world.

And so, my character is definitely there to show a slightly different perspective and also a slightly older perspective, to be honest. Just like: ‘Okay. I’m not 21. I’ve kind of been where you’ve been.’ And my character is married.”

Does Haviland Stillwell still get nervous?

Me: “We can watch BIFL at ClexaCon tonight. Are you nervous?”

Haviland: “No. It’s great actually because at this point, I’ve done so much. I started in theater. I was on Broadway before I did film and TV. You know, leading up to the opening night was so nerve-racking. You were so nervous and excited for it. So, it’s like: at this point, we’ve done the work. The work is done. There’s nothing I can do at this point. Either people will like it or they won’t. So, I’m more excited to see it and excited to hear the reaction in the room.”

Queer roles for Haviland Stillwell

Me: “Last year, you were on the LGBTQ actresses’ panel. I heard you say something along the lines of ‘Somebody pass me a queer role already.’ Did that happen already?”

Haviland: “Yes, it did. Yes! I’m very excited to say yes. Actually, I played several gay roles this year but the one I’m the most excited about is that I actually played… There’s a film coming out called Reckoning with Richard Dreyfuss and Mira Sorvino and I play Mira Sorvino’s girlfriend. So, I’m very excited about this, because obviously, I love her. I mean, she’s an incredible actress and she’s so great. So, when that came about, that was really exciting.

The film isn’t specifically about it; it isn’t a gay film specifically. It’s just that her character happens to be gay. I think that was even a cooler part of it. Because it wasn’t like… It’s definitely an element in there, but it wasn’t like ‘oh, this is a film about being gay,’ which I think is happening more and more. That we can just exist in the world as gay characters instead of it being this film about how we’re gay. As far as I know, we don’t have a date for that yet.

Other projects

There’s a project called Between Friends that will be filming in the fall, which I’m excited about. And I just had a Hallmark movie come out. So, there are lots of things. I play a gay character on an animated show. They told me I’m not allowed to talk about it yet. I play a totally Punk lesbian on the show and I’m like: she’s so cute! She’s like such a cute little drawing. Oh, I will happily tell you as soon as they allow me to talk about it.”

I’ve been nominated for an LGBT+ award in The Hague!

I’ve been nominated for an LGBT+ award in The Hague!

I’m so happy I can finally share it with you! I’ve been nominated for the John Blankenstein Prijs 2019 with Meemoeder.com! This is an LGBT+ award in my city of The Hague. It’s such an honor, and I would like to thank everyone who has recommended me as a candidate. Below, I will explain what the award means, what the process is like, and what being nominated means to me. 

If you want to read the Dutch version of this blog post, you can find it here.

‘I’ve been nominated for an LGBT+ award in The Hague!’ I’m so happy I can finally share it with you! I’ve been nominated for the John Blankenstein Prijs 2019 with Meemoeder.com! This is an LGBT+ award in my city of The Hague. It’s such an honor, and I would like to thank everyone who has recommended me as a candidate. Here, I explain what the award means, what the process is like, and what being nominated means to me: http://bit.ly/JohnBlankenstein2019EN

What is this LGBT+ award called John Blankenstein Prijs 2019?

The Municipality of The Hague initiated the John Blankenstein Prijs in 2009. This annual LGBT+ emancipation award was created to highlight and stimulate initiatives that contribute to the LGBT+ emancipation. The award is named after the late referee John Blankenstein. The former referee openly came out and has done a lot for LGBT+ people in sports and society. That is why his sister Karin founded the John Blankenstein Foundation in 2008, which advocates acceptance of the LGBT+ community in sports.

With the annual granting of the John Blankenstein Prijs, the Municipality of The Hague marks the importance of opening up about LGBT+ issues and provides a platform for LGBT+ initiatives. Anyone who contributes to this is eligible for the award. COC Haaglanden is in charge of the organization of the award, which is the local chapter of our country’s biggest advocacy organization.

Ceremony John Blankenstein Prijs 2019

The ceremony is this Wednesday evening. Out of the twenty-two candidates, eleven candidates were nominated. I am one of those final eleven nominees. It is a great honor for me to be on this beautiful list of LGBT+ initiatives from The Hague.

The jury consists of Karin Blankenstein, Kasia Oberc, and Winston van Niel. From these eleven nominees, they have already selected a top three. This top three and the final winner will be announced by alderman Bert van Alphen during the ceremony. That’s pretty exciting!

The winner will receive an amount of €2,500 that should benefit the promotion of LGBT+ emancipation. Moreover, the winner can count on publicity for a whole year as an ambassador. I don’t dare to dream about what I could do with that prize money and publicity. That could really contribute to the quality and growth of my website and YouTube channel, which in turn would help in how I reach LGBT+ people worldwide. However, with ten other beautiful initiatives, there’s not a high probability 😉

Recognition with this LGBT+ award

It hasn’t been easy, especially last year, to keep Meemoeder.com’s website and YouTube channel running, to publish blogs in Dutch that are of use to (future) lesbian parents, and to publish blogs, vlogs, and interviews in English about queer representation in media. Maybe that’s why it feels so good that I get this recognition at the end of 2019. I feel supported by the people who nominated me as a candidate.

Not many people in The Hague know what I do. I mainly reach national and international LGBT+ people. That’s what makes this nomination so special to me; it’s an LGBT+ award in my own city. Whether I win or not, I want everyone to know how special it feels and how grateful I am!

Love,

Greetje den Holder

Holiday Help Desk: A Queer Christmas Short Film You Probably Don’t Know Exists

Holiday Help Desk: A Queer Christmas Short Film You Probably Don’t Know Exists

I know we are all very excited Season of Love is out. We can finally enjoy our first-ever queer Christmas movie. Last year, I did discover a queer Christmas short film with two women, but I found out too late to tell you about it. This holiday season, I do want you to know that there is a 15-minute short film called Holiday Help Desk. It’s cute, so if you need more after Season of Love, this might be fun.

‘Holiday Help Desk: A Queer Christmas Short Film You Probably Didn’t Know Existed’ I know we are all very excited Season of Love is out. We can finally enjoy our first-ever queer Christmas movie. Last year, I did discover a queer Christmas short film with two women, but I found out too late to tell you about it. This holiday season, I do want you to know that there is a 15-minute short film called Holiday Help Desk: http://bit.ly/HolidayHelpDesk

What is Holiday Help Desk about?

What is the story about? Lauren Windsor and Christina Wu both have to work on Christmas Eve. When Christina calls IT for help, she and Lauren hit it off over their mutual disappointment in dating and a love of movies. Christina finally gets off work and asks Lauren on a date, but Lauren still has to work. Is that the end? Nope…

Hillary Esquina, who wrote Passage, wrote the screenplay for this short film. It stars Shannon Leigh Reeve (whom you will also see in Passage), Rachel Lin, and Rich Sab. Chelese Belmont directed it.

Where can you watch Holiday Help Desk?

It was released on Christmas Eve 2018. This is why I found out too late and why you may have missed it too. Well, this year, it’s available for rent and purchase on more platforms, so it’s easier for you to watch.

It’s available for rent and purchase on Vimeo. If you buy the short film, you also get to watch the bloopers. If you’re like me, you’ll love those; people tripping and messing up what they are trying to say. Actors, they’re just like us! Who knew?

You can find Holiday Help Desk for rent and purchase on Amazon Prime too. I don’t know if the bloopers are available there too.

LesFlicks is a subscription-based platform from the UK. The subscription costs €5.37 per month or €53.80 per year. There is a 14-day free trial. On this platform, you can also watch The Date (which you can also watch on Amazon Prime and Tello) and other wlw series and films.

Tamara Duarte Discusses Wynonna Earp and Departure

Tamara Duarte Discusses Wynonna Earp and Departure

I was able to talk to Tamara Duarte for a few minutes at Shorty’s in Milan. Obviously, her role as Rosita in Wynonna Earp had us feeling all kinds of feelings. So, I dove into the response Earpers had to her character and a possible return of Rosita. Would she ever be invited to a WayHaught wedding? She also discusses her current project Departure. You can find the interview below.

‘Tamara Duarte Discusses Wynonna Earp and Departure’ I was able to talk to Tamara Duarte for a few minutes at Shorty’s in Milan. Obviously, her role as Rosita in Wynonna Earp had us feeling of kinds of feelings. So, I dove into the response Earpers had to her character and a possible return of Rosita. Would she ever be invited to a WayHaught wedding? She also discusses her current project Departure: http://bit.ly/TamaraDuarte

Tamara Duarte about fans at Shorty’s

Me: “Thank you so much for joining me.”

Tamara Duarte: “Sure.”

Me: “How is Shorty’s going so far?”

Tamara: “So good. Yeah, so much fun.”

Me: “What do people say most to you? What kind of feedback do you hear?”

Tamara: “Just lovely compliments. That I’m like, okay, any time I have a bad day, I should just have a recording in my pocket that I can listen back to. Everyone is so generous with their love, so it’s really good.”

When Tamara Duarte joined Wynonna Earp as Rosita Bustillos

Me: “That’s great. And how did people respond when you first joined the cast?”

Tamara: “I think people were pretty shaken up. They were like, who is this person? Yeah, who could she be? Everyone had their theories.

And I didn’t even know who I was. When I did my first episode, I didn’t know if I was just a regular human being or if I was a Revenant. Well, I did know I wasn’t just human because Rosita and Doc had a past relationship.

So, I was just trying to figure out what it was, but I didn’t know until I read that episode that I was a Revenant. I think the fans… Emily just threw a curveball, which was nice.”

Kissing one half of a very popular couple

Me: “Did the response change when you kissed one half of a very popular couple?”

Tamara: “Yes. Yes, of course. But I mean, I think it’s good to have a little bit of change in a series. It makes it interesting. Yeah, and I think it kind of emulates real life in a sense that… You know, when people are finding their way. They’re like: do I like this person? Do I not? No, this was a mistake? I think it’s a very human thing to do, and I think people can relate to that.”

Will Rosita come back to Purgatory?

Me: “You already talked a bit about it in the panel yesterday, but I really would like to have Rosita come back. I know you can’t say anything about it. The thing that I would like to see the most is the first meeting with Nicole. How do you think that would go?”

Tamara: “The first meeting with Nicole? Ooh. I don’t know. I don’t know. Well, I think we’ll have a drink. Talk it out. And yeah, we’ll be okay.”

Me: “In some weird way, do you think did Rosita can redeem herself to such an extent that she will get invited to a possible WayHaught wedding?”

Tamara: “I think that’s possible. Anything’s possible. I think anything is possible when you are part of Wynonna Earp. You can die and come back, and you can die again. So, if that can happen, anything can happen.”

Biopic

Me: “Would you like to answer a fan question?”

Tamara: “Sure.”

The fan question is from @TheSciFiBard. You can follow TheSciFiBard on Instagram and Twitter.

Me: “It is: if you could play any real-life figure in a biopic, who would you pick and why?”

Tamara: “Sofia Loren. I love how iconic and classy and talented she was, and bold. She’s like a bold woman for her time, so definitely Sophia Loren.”

Tamara Duarte discusses her role in Departure

Me: “Do you have any new projects that you can talk about?”

Tamara: “Yeah, I have Departure, which has already aired in the UK. It’s a UK-Canadian co-pro. So, I will be doing that; I have done that. It’s coming out January in Canada. And in London, it has already aired, so I’m really excited about it.

It stars Christopher Plummer and Archie Panjabi from The Good Wife. Lost Girl fans probably know Kris Holden-Ried. So, we had a hoot on set; it was lots of fun.

It is about a plane that kind of disappears in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The TSIB, which is the transportation board, investigates crashes, and what happened. And I play a scientist once again. A marine meteorologist.

So that’s going to be fun for everyone to see. Yeah, that’s what I have coming up, and possibly Wynonna.”

Me: “I see you have to go. Thank you so much!”

Read about Shorty’s Saturday here and Shorty’s Sunday here. You can find all the posts on Shorty’s here and all my LGBT+ movie reviews here.

Natalie Krill Discusses Wynonna Earp and Below Her Mouth

Natalie Krill Discusses Wynonna Earp and Below Her Mouth

I was able to talk to Natalie Krill for a few minutes at Shorty’s in Milan. Obviously, her role of Willa in Wynonna Earp had us feeling of kinds of feelings. A role people talk less about is Jasmine in Below Her Mouth. Even I felt some hesitation to go there. But I did, and here’s the result!

‘Natalie Krill Discusses Wynonna Earp and Below Her Mouth’ I was able to talk to Natalie Krill for a few minutes at Shorty’s in Milan. Obviously, her role of Willa in Wynonna Earp had us feeling of kinds of feelings. A role people talk less about is Jasmine in Below Her Mouth. Even I felt some hesitation to go there. But I did, and here’s the result: http://bit.ly/NatalieKrill

Natalie Krill at Shorty’s

Me: “Thank you so much for coming to talk to me. I really appreciate it. How is Shorty’s going so far?”

Natalie Krill: “It’s tons of fun.”

Me: “It’s your second Wynonna Earp con, right?”

Natalie: “Yeah, the second one, yeah.”

Me: “So, you feel overwhelmed?”

Natalie: “It’s not as overwhelming as the first one I had. I didn’t really know what to expect when I went to Earpercon. And it was like ‘Whoa!’ It was like a tidal wave. But now, I was a little bit more prepared.”

The response of Earpers seeing Willa

Me: “When you first joined the cast of Wynonna Earp, how did the Earpers respond?”

Natalie: “Well, because I was in season one… So, when my character came out on the show, everyone was super excited about it. Willa, you know, it was really exciting, but then they slowly start to hate her.”

Me: “Yeah, when I saw Willa kiss Bobo, I felt a little sick. How did they respond to you after they saw what Willa did?”

Natalie: “There was a lot of… You know, it’s funny because obviously, as Natalie, I’m a really nice person, but as Willa, I’m playing this evil… Well, you know, she has been through a lot and she thinks she’s doing the right thing. But unfortunately, she takes full advantage of her sisters. And Wynonna and Waverly were the, you know, the heart of the show. Yeah, obviously, the fans did not appreciate what I was doing.”

Response to her role in Below Her Mouth

Me: “It was tough to watch. So, you were also in Below Her Mouth.  It’s a super sexy movie. Do you notice that people come up and talk to you about it, or are they a bit hesitant?”

Natalie: “They’re actually more hesitant. I think they’re almost embarrassed because they’ve seen me like that. So, when they see me, they’re like kind of like [averts eyes embarrassed]. Like they don’t want to look but it’s like: I’m clothed; it’s okay.”

Me: I had exactly the same thing. I thought: should I ask? Because if you say: ‘Oh, I have seen your movie a few times,’ that sounds creepy. So, maybe that’s what fans experience as well.”

No rehearsals for Natalie Krill and Erika Linder

Me: “It is true, because I read it somewhere, that you and Erika did not rehearse any of the scenes before you shot it?”

Natalie: “No, we didn’t rehearse anything.”

Me: “Wow. So, what was that approach like?”

Natalie: “So, we didn’t rehearse anything, but we spent a lot of time together. The producers and the director were really concerned about the connection being there because that’s what the whole story is about.

That’s why Jasmine awakens and decides to be true to herself and her feelings that are deep-rooted. Because they have such a profound connection that it pulls her into her truth.

So, they were really concerned about us feeling that connection with each other. And luckily enough, I think that’s why they cast us both because in our screen test and our chemistry read, we just connected easily.”

Open

Me: “I can imagine that if you first meet each other and you know that you’re going to play these parts together that… You know, it’s not just best friends going on an adventure. It adds a layer. How do you have that first conversation?”

Natalie: “Well, I think something that helped is we’re both really open-minded. Obviously, when you’re preparing to do a role like that, you’re going to be a little bit scared, a little bit afraid of it. But we were both really open to it. So, there was that willingness to be open with each other and to connect. And then, also, it was kind of like a partnership. Like, we had each other’s back. Because when you’re naked and doing scenes like that, you’re very vulnerable. You don’t have your armor, so you’re totally exposed in every way. But it was comforting to know that we were together, so we had each other.”

Me: “Thank you so much for joining me. I know you have to get going. Thanks so much.”

You can get your copy of Below Her Mouth in various places, such as Microsoft.com and Amazon.

Read about Shorty’s Saturday here and Shorty’s Sunday here. You can find all the posts on Shorty’s here and all my LGBT+ movie reviews here.

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