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.
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?
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.
Season of Love Gives You All the Queer Holiday Feels
Love is the first-ever lesbian/LGBTQ+ holiday rom-com. I was able to watch the
press screener of this ground-breaking Christmas movie, so in this spoiler-free
blog post, I can tell you all about this new movie and why you should watch it.
Below, you can also find a review video, in which Dominique Provost-Chalkley talks
about her role and music in Season of Love. Screenings and purchase/rent options
can be found at the bottom.
Season of Love is a queer holiday movie
In short, Season of Love is a queer holiday movie with an ensemble cast, romantic storylines, and general good feelings. If you are the first queer holiday movie with LGBT+ women, expectations are high. There is much pressure to do things right. What if this movie, the only holiday movie we now have, had sucked? That would have been terrible.
Well, I can
tell you the movie is terrific. It delivers. Season of Love made me very happy.
I watched it last night, and I still have good feelings. Sometimes I wondered
if I was the only one loving this movie, but then I looked at my wife. She was
all smiles throughout the entire movie. That confirmed my overall judgment of
the movie: it is simply a good movie!
I even laughed
out loud a few times, especially with some well-timed slow-motion moments. They
are hilarious. The lesbian gaze gets what it wants.
Season of Love has picked
the perfect cast
Season of Love has found the ideal cast. I can say that I hardly knew anyone before watching the movie and I loved looking at every single one of the actors. They did a great job. I also loved how diverse the cast was (can we have more deaf characters please?). I loved seeing some familiar faces in the background, and I loved seeing Lily Richards make an appearance or two.
I know that
one thing that people are looking for is the movie’s music. After all, Dom and
Bonnie Ferrar have an original song in it. Look, I don’t know much about music,
but my untrained ears loved it. The songs in this movie are definitely songs
that I would like to listen to more often. Indeed, I’m ready to buy the soundtrack
and can’t wait for an album by Dom. She truly has a fantastic voice.
Small room for improvement
The things that
I think could have been done better are little things. For instance, I didn’t
particularly appreciate how a camera was spinning around the room in an early
Also, both holiday movies and movies with an ensemble cast often have little time to establish the background story. The filmmakers want to focus on the here and now, to build the holiday spirit. And when you have an ensemble cast, you need to have more than one background story. Season of Love starts with four days before Christmas, counts down, and then moves to New Year’s Eve. It wants to focus on the events happening in those days.
I saw some starts of storylines that were easy. It would have been nicer had
they been fleshed out more and made more believable. Nevertheless, we tend to
forgive holiday movies more quickly because we mostly want something easy to
watch and to feel all the holiday feels. And that is precisely what you get
Where can you watch Season of Love?
So, where can you watch Season of Love? The movie premieres in Los Angeles on November 21. It also has screenings in London, Nashville, New York, Toronto, and Seattle. If you cannot visit the screenings, you can pre-order the movie for $15. The film will be available for rent and purchase in early December. Enjoy!
Passage the Series: A New Lesbian Show with Paranormal Activities
About 1.5 years ago, I was at the table reading of Passage at ClexaCon. I loved witnessing a table reading, and I am excited that this web series will finally premiere this Sunday (Oct. 6th) on Tello Films. Passage the Series is an episodic paranormal thriller centered around paranormal operative and queer mom Ali Prader as she balances her personal and professional life during a crucial shift in power. I have watched the five episodes of this new show before the premiere date, so I can tell you why you should watch it. In this blog post, I will describe three things that I like about this series. In the video included, you will find me reacting to what I see as I watch Passage.
The story of Passage
Passage the Series is an episodic paranormal thriller centered around Janus Agent Ali Prader. This queer mom is a top paranormal operative within the government for a secret division called Caelus. Caelus relies on her special capabilities to handle the different situations that can arise from interacting with paranormal entities. Ali can balance her professional and personal life only until she starts to discover things that can open the door to a new crucial shift in power.
What I love about Passage:
the paranormal aspect
The first thing that intrigued me about Passage the Series was the paranormal aspect of the show. Usually, web series have a small budget and frequently, that small budget limits even the basic plans of content creators. I expect that adding sci-fi to a story, and all the special effects that come hand-in-hand with it, requires a big chunk of the project’s budget.
imagine that it is quite tricky. You do not want to cut corners with special
effects either as it will diminish the quality of your show, no matter how good
the storyline is. I have to admit I was a little worried because there is enough
proof on YouTube where shows have not handled that aspect well.
months ago, I was fortunate enough to watch the first episode when it was ready,
and I was relieved to see it was done well. I guess big TV shows have tons of
extra tricks (and money) to make it look even smoother, but this web series
makes the special effects look great.
What I love about Passage: the queer mom life
Esquina, who wrote Passage, and I agree on at least one thing: there should be
more stories about queer moms. Passage is just that. That’s one point for the
Passage team already.
I am a
queer mom. I do not know if you remember me talking about it earlier, such as when
discussing Different for
Girls, but it always seems as if marriage and having a kid is the end game.
That is all we strive for in life, and then after that, we have no more stories
to tell. I mean, if you believe most current films and series.
So yes, with
Passage, there is finally another story that we are in, and it does not just focus
on our motherhood. It is a part of the story but not the center.
What I love about Passage:
Shannan Leigh Reeve,
whom I loved in I Hate
Tommy Finch. I am excited to see her on screen again. Also, Nicole Pacent is in it,
and they were both in I Hate Tommy Finch! It is good to watch them together again
on screen. Mandahla Rose
is in it as well, so you have at least three cool people in one show. Oh,
Mandahla will make you laugh…
Where can you find Passage?
You will be
able to find Passage on Tello Films as of October 6th. You
will have to subscribe, but there is a free trial, so you can test whether you
like the website. You can find queer movies and series on it, and at the end of
the year, they will also have Season
of Love, which many Earpers probably cannot wait to watch.
Good Kisser: The New Sexy Lesbian Movie You Didn’t Know You Needed
Good Kisser is a new lesbian movie that I have been dying to watch since I discovered it on social media a few months ago. All I knew was the plotline: “Jenna agrees to a sexy weekend fling with materialistic girlfriend Kate and the worldly Mia. As the night unfolds, Jenna realizes she’s bitten off more than she can chew, and the love triangle begins to crack.”
In this blog post, I describe why this movie started to intrigue me a few months ago and how I feel after watching Good Kisser. This way, you know exactly how quickly you should go and watch it. I have also recorded a video if that is more your cup of tea. You can find it below this image (don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel!)
Why the idea of Good Kisser was intriguing to me
The first thing I want to mention is the fact that this movie centers around lesbian sex lives. I find that refreshing because I clearly remember the time when we had to settle for a kiss. Or there would merely be a glance. I do always get scared when productions take this route because so often, sexy f/f scenes are directed for the male gaze. So, will these scenes actually be sexy for us? Given the fact that Wendy Jo Carlton is the writer and director of this movie, I trusted things would be fine sexy.
The second thing that intrigued me is that the feature film, in large part, focuses on three people in a timeframe of one night. To me, that gave the movie a bit of a theatrical vibe, focusing on characters and their development rather than on action. I like diving into characters, so that is what made me even more enthusiastic.
As you can probably tell, I was really excited when I received a screener.
The first thing I liked about Good Kisser: the quality of production
I do not know if it is because this production had a decent amount of funding or because most of it was shot at one location (well, it seems that way; they may have fooled me 😉) but the quality is really good. Sometimes when you watch an indie movie, you can immediately list a few things that could have gone better had the production had more money. The drone shots with which the movie starts, the lighting, everything just seems to be really well done.
The second thing I liked: the cast
I cannot talk about Good Kisser without talking about the cast. If your movie focuses on three people in a timeframe of one night, the cast can make or break the movie. If the actors are not interesting to watch or if there is absolutely no chemistry between them when they have to portray people in love or lust, the movie is doomed.
Fortunately, Kari Alison Hodge, Rachel Paulson, and Julia Eringer were cast as Jenna, Kate, and Mia. When watching, you want to pay close attention to every single actor. Oh, and that chemistry? Don’t worry about it…
The two supporting roles are needed to further the development of the story. Those actors (Courtney McCullough and Carter Rodriquez) obviously contribute to the movie in their own charming ways.
The third thing I liked about Good Kisser: the lines
I think it was within three minutes that my wife and I looked at each other like: “What?!” Within about ten minutes, I must have alternated ‘Jesus’ with ‘oh my god’ and ‘WTF?’ at least twenty times. I guess you could say I was hooked from the beginning. I wish I had been a fly on the wall that first table reading. You will have some feelings about the comments that Kate makes.
The fourth thing I liked: the soundtrack
Another worthy mention is the music in this movie. The songs match the scenes perfectly. I usually don’t need the soundtrack to a movie but this is something I could listen to more often!
The fifth thing I liked about Good Kisser: the sexy scenes
I don’t think you can review this movie without mentioning the sexy scenes. Remember that fear I had of them not being good? Eh, yeah, not necessary. Are they sexy? Yup.
Where can you watch Good Kisser?
Good Kisser, shot in Seattle, will have its world premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival, which runs May 16 – June 9, 2019. Other dates/film festivals will be announced on their website and social media pages, so make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Who knows, you might find out when you will be able to purchase the movie yourself.
In a few weeks, I will show you the interview I had with Kari Alison, Rachel, and Julia at ClexaCon. Have you read my first ClexaCon interview? It was with Julia and Shantell Yasmine Abeydeera, who work together in Girls Like Magic.
Carmen & Lola: A Lesbian Love Story in the Roma Community
This month, the 22nd edition of the Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival will take place. In Dutch, it is called De Roze Filmdagen. March 14-24, you will be able to see 44 feature films, 10 documentaries, and 84 short films from 48 countries. The festival opens with Carmen & Lola, a lesbian feature film from Spain. In this blog post, you will find my review. You will also find their social media accounts to support them online and to see when the movie will be screened at a festival near you.
The storyline of Carmen & Lola
Carmen and Lola are two young women from the Roma community on the outskirts of Madrid. Like every other woman she has ever met, Carmen is destined to live a life that is repeated generation after generation: getting married and raising as many children as possible. Lola is supposed to do the same, but she is different, as everybody describes her. Lola dreams about going to university, draws bird graffiti, and likes girls. The two women fall in love. As a result, they have to face up to a culture where family honor and centuries of tradition are still very strong.
I am divided in my opinion about Carmen & Lola, and I will describe why. Carmen & Lola is a lesbian coming-of-age and coming-out story. As some of you say, we already have so many of these stories. We are not defined by our coming out. There is more to our lives, and I am sure we have plenty of other stories to tell, preferably ones that do not only center around our sexual orientation.
That said, if you are in that stage of your life where you are struggling with your sexual orientation and coming out, a story like that of Carmen & Lola might be just what you need. It has all the classic elements. Is she gay? If she is, is she into me? If she is into me, what will that lead to? How will our families react? What do we do?
However, if you are at that stage, a movie that shows a positive image of our lives as a whole might give you more hope than a movie that focuses on that one (possibly) big, scary moment. Let’s be honest, coming out continuous to occur throughout our queer lives.
That said, if you get over that fact, Carmen & Lola is a beautiful movie. I was interested in it precisely because the story plays in the Roma culture. I had heard of it, but I had never really seen anything about it. This movie is brutally honest about this culture. It shows the good parts, and it shows the discriminations and lack of hope for a prosperous future the Roma people face. It also shows the traditions that seem very suffocating to me.
I mean, it starts with two seventeen-year-olds getting engaged. They are not allowed to interact much with each other even though they both know they will be getting engaged soon. Then, the dads have to have this big talk about why this marriage would be good for the families and what the kids have to offer. Only after ‘the deal is sealed,’ the two see each other, fully dressed as if they already are getting married. It is quite the spectacle, and this scene could occur in one of my nightmares, I am not going to lie.
At the same time, this otherness is what makes the movie so interesting to watch. However, let’s not forget about the actors. The entire time, I was wondering where they got these actors from. After all, they look like they could be Roma themselves. As you learn from the movie, career prospects for Roma women are not abundant. If they are lucky, they can become a hairdresser. So how did these people end up in this movie?
After watching the movie, I learned these actors are indeed from the Roma culture themselves, and they are not professionals. However, there is nothing unprofessional about their performances! They are all so very good, and it made me so happy to learn about this opportunity for them.
Follow Carmen & Lola on social media
As said, you can watch Carmen & Lola at De Roze Filmdagen in Amsterdam. If you are unable to attend, you can best follow the movie online to see when it will be screened at a film festival near you. They are active on Facebook and Instagram.
Rafiki: A Lesbian Love Story from Kenya with a Happy Ending
What do you think when you hear that there is a lesbian movie from Kenya? Is that even possible? Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya, so my biggest fear was that the movie was going to be full of hurt and pain, with no hopes of a good future. Can you imagine my surprise when I found out Rafiki actually has a happy ending?! This movie is wonderful, and I want to share with you what I liked about Rafiki and where you can watch it. You can read the blog post but you can also watch the video below this image.
Let me first tell you that you will have lots of feelings. Knowing the situation there, I was constantly scared for Kena and Ziki. You follow Kena, so you’re more scared for her as you see her in more situations.
The moments when she talks to friends and families, you are constantly wondering whether they are going to ask something or whether Kena reaches a point where she can’t take it anymore and yells out something. For instance, she is not “the only gay in the village.” There is a gay man, and everybody knows about him. Her friend laughs at him, has probably beat him up at one point, and bumps into him on purpose.
When Kena and Ziki find moments together, you are constantly worried they will get caught. And as I was not familiar with Kenyan culture, I did not know what the consequences would be if that were to occur. That adds to the tension even more.
A lot of feelings
Yes, they do get caught. Yes, bad things happen. It is bound to happen; you know it will at one point, and you will feel every fiber of your body object when you see the consequences.
And you will have a lot of feelings about the two town gossips. My biggest question is: what does it bring them, to hunt them down like that?
You will also have feelings about the two dad’s different responses. And then, you will have a LOT of feelings about the happy ending.
Basically, Rafiki is a rollercoaster ride of emotions, but you can now be assured that you will not be crying for days. In fact, now that I know about the happy ending, I might want to watch it again just to be able to enjoy the story without having these feelings of tension the entire time.
The first thing I liked about Rafiki: the sheer fact that it is a lesbian love story from Kenya
Yes, critics who might say that Rafiki is another coming out and another coming of age movie are right. We get it: we want different narratives too. However, for a movie from Kenya to talk about a lesbian romance is huge. Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya and signs of it will be met with violent responses.
In fact, Rafiki was banned from screening in the country by Kenya’s Film and Classification Board (KFCB). KFCB said it banned Rafiki because of intent to “promote lesbianism” in the country: “The film has been restricted due to its homosexual theme and clear intent to promote lesbianism in Kenya contrary to the law.”
Director Wanuri Kahiu filed a lawsuit earlier challenging the censorship board’s ruling. She won, and the ban was temporarily lifted for seven days. This way, it could be eligible to be submitted for the Best Foreign Language film at this year’s Academy Awards. As a result, Kenyans went to the cinema’s “en masse” to watch it.
Can you imagine the impact Rafiki can have on Kenyan queer women watching this movie? The hope and sense of community it can bring? And it does not even end badly, which I had to experience often growing up. I am so very happy for Kenyan queer women to be able to watch a high-quality lesbian movie with a happy ending.
The second thing I liked about Rafiki: getting a glimpse of Kenya
Not all is bad about Kenya. As a queer woman, I find it easy to be against everything Kenyan when I know about the situation there for my community. Consequently, I was hesitant to find Kenya’s beauty in this movie. However, the colors, the people, the language, the accent when they speak English, the games played in public, its nature; there was just so much to enjoy for me in my first introduction to Kenya. I always love seeing different cultures and countries, so this movie being set in Kenya definitely adds something for me.
The third thing I liked about Rafiki: the chemistry between Kena and Ziki
The chemistry between Kena and Ziki is certainly there. It is well played. Being in such a restrictive environment, you find ways to find a connection with a person. It starts with looks and with small talk. I was actually surprised that they went on a date quickly. It was at night, in the dark, but it still took me by surprise that they found that opportunity.
I also think that because it is illegal, a lot of people are not used to seeing our community. Therefore, they might not recognize things. I think that if you put Kena in the western world, many gaydars will go off. Here, she constantly gets hit on by men. When she puts on a dress, she is described as a proper lady. People do not seem to see it.
When the two town gossips start staring at them, I think it is more because they are the daughters of two political enemies rather than because it might be a starting romance.
According to a Facebook post, “Rafiki screened at over 100 film festivals and won 14 awards since May 2018, and this year is starting strong! In January you can catch the film in the US, Germany, Australia, and the Netherlands.” Therefore, there is a good chance you will be able to see the movie at a festival near you.
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