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About 1.5 years ago, I was fortunate enough to watch ANNE+ before it premiered. I reviewed this new lesbian series from The Netherlands for you in a blog post and a video. I thought it was amazing to be able to talk about a project from my country for a change. Apparently, you thought so too. This video is my most popular video to this date! For a long time, the series wasn’t available to international viewers yet. As of January 17, the YouTube videos are open beyond the Dutch borders as well. In this review, I expect you to have watched the first season, but I won’t give away spoilers. I was so excited to watch ANNE+ season 2 and below, you can read why you want to watch the new season too.
ANNE+ season 2: new storyline
the makers taking ANNE+ season 2? The plot of season 1 was clear in advance:
Anne reflects on the relationships she had in her college days and on how they
shaped her as a person. Hence the plus in the title: each episode focused on one
of her relationships. Realistically, the same principle can´t be applied to a
new season. As I said in my previous review, though, the creators did leave a
big opening for a future storyline.
ANNE+ season 2
the story start in the next season? In season 2, Anne is 24 and she seems to
have it all figured out. She works at a creative agency. She has a girlfriend
and a lot of friends. Anne also has her own place in Amsterdam.
life isn´t going the way she really wants it to go. Anne wants something
different. But she doesn´t know where to start and she constantly gets distracted.
Then an ex shows up on her doorstep unannounced. This happens at the same time
she has trouble with another ex.
you can go to the people around you to talk, but her parents are having their
own problems and sometimes, her friends have their own things to deal with. And
she should also really take a look at all those bills that are coming in. Being
an adult is different from what she expected. How do you do that: balancing
friends, work and relationships?
ANNE+ season 2 brings diversity to the cast
One of the
things that make me happy this season is the diversity of the cast. Anne’s (ex)
relationships and friends are from mixed backgrounds. With the transgender
character, there is a big focus on his transition. Still, you can say that this
series handles it better than other productions. This character comes across as
a very strong individual and draws strength from the transition. He also
clearly sets his boundaries. Many times, productions often highlight the
difficult and sad parts of their lives. I write this review as a white, cisgender
woman, so you might experience this diversity differently.
What I also
like is that in this series, you also see men as friends. In lesbian
productions, you often see the storyline only revolve around women and there is
much resentment against men. Here, you see Anne having male friends, without
emphasizing the differences between men and women. They are just there and you
can be friends with them as an LGBT+ woman. Refreshing! Or maybe not?
Laura Gómez plays a role
addition to the cast: Laura Gómez. You know her as Blanca Flores from Orange is
the New Black. She saw the first season of ANNE+ at the Tribeca Film Festival
in New York and wanted to participate in the second season. I have only been
able to watch the first 4 episodes, but in the fourth episode, I saw her in the
preview of episode 5, where she attends a wedding. So, I can’t tell you if she
only guest-stars in episode 5 or in more episodes. Either way: that’s such a
ANNE+ has a
real sense of humor. The biggest way they add humor to the series is when you
hear Anne’s thoughts out loud. They are a direct commentary on what Anne is
experiencing in the scene. I often find it very relatable.
And yes, you
often notice that Anne says the opposite of what she thinks in her head. There’s
also a sense of humor in that: the difference between what society wants you to
say and what you actually want. Fortunately, from time to time, they also show
positive results when Anne does the opposite of what she actually wants.
Because sometimes, it is also about stepping out of your comfort zone and
point of this series is that they don’t let Anne be perfect. Yes, the series
revolves around Anne but sometimes, you simply don’t like her. Sometimes you
disagree with her. And sometimes, you understand why she has an angry outburst
when she’s with her friends. It’s not nice to watch, but you know where it
comes from. That edge makes her character very relatable. Because in reality, you
also know that you’re not being reasonable from time to time and that your
behavior isn’t very nice for others.
Where can you watch ANNE+ season 2?
The world premiere is on Monday, March 2 in Amsterdam. If you live in The Netherlands, you can watch the second season of ANNE+ from March 3: BNNVARA on NPO 3 at 10:25 pm. This season has more episodes and they will last longer. That means more ANNE+! You can also binge-watch the whole season on NPO Start Plus from March 3.
If you’re not in The Netherlands, you can’t watch it yet. They have just done the international release of the first season. All those episodes are available on YouTube. They have English, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.
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!
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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 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.
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.”
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.”
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
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
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?”
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.
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.
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’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.
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
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
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.
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!
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.
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