Queer Film Screening at UMD’s Theorizing the Web
This Saturday, during the lunch break of University of Maryland’s Theorizing the Web Conference, one of DC’s very own will be screening her short film, Over & Out. A queer romantic comedy “about the way in which technology is transforming the time and space of our intimate relationships,” explains the writer.
The film focuses on a lesbian couple whose relationship starts to disintegrate due to one character’s unhealthy obsession with technology. “Communication technologies—such as smart-phones—have made it easier and more convenient to communicate with others,” says Kelsey Brannan, the creator, writer and producer of the film. “But it has also made our relationships with those near to us less intimate. The idea of the film is that life happens, when you log off."
Brannan is wrapping up the first year of her Master of Arts program in Communication, Culture and Technology at Georgetown University. She came up with the idea for Over & Out two years ago while studying abroad in Australia as an undergraduate at University of California, Santa Barbara.
“I began conceptualizing the idea for the film while writing a feature length lesbian romance for my screenwriting class,” says Brannan. Her original storyline was a period piece set in the early 1900s about two female telegraph operators that fall in love over the wire. “About halfway through writing, however, I realized that the prospects of making this film was low.” She began thinking about how to apply the idea to modern life. “Then it occurred to me— that as great as online dating is (and I know several successful cases)—I much prefer the ideal, offline romance.” It’s this thought that created her character Taylor, played by Hannah Telle, who “embodies the question: What happens to old technologies when we move onto the next ‘new’ technology?”
As a Film and Media Studies student at UCSB, Brannan also wanted to create a film to counter the heteronormative stories coming out of her program. “I felt that it was time for a lesbian romance to make its way to the screen. It was also a way to reach out and work with other queer artists and allies in Santa Barbara.” However, she’s also quick to note that though the main characters are queer the plot does not center on their gayness. “I wanted a different type of lesbian movie. Over & Out is a post coming out film.”
When asked to pick between California and DC, Brannan was hard pressed to answer. “I would say DC, mainly for the passionate and the incredible women, and California for the ‘easy-going’ way of life. I'm not sure if I would have chosen to move here on a whim. However, I don't know if I would have such an awesome group of well-connected women in Cali as I do here in DC.” She is certain about one thing though: regardless of background and sexuality everyone will be able to relate to her film. “I think we all have that moment in our life when we want to give back and share our story to the world. I wanted to create a story that I could also share with my family. In a sense, the film's premiere was sort of like a public coming out to my family and UCSB community—even though I was already out. In a way, it's about visibility and creating a culture where you don't have to be shy about being who you are because you know that there are others out there doing the same thing.”
Over & Out has appeared in several Film Festivals, including ” Outrageous: Santa Barbara LGBTQ Film Festival (Fall 2011), and the Melbourne Queer Film Festival (Australia).” It also won Best Picture and Best Cinematography at the GUTV film festival. Brannan, who chose not to direct the piece, also notes that her crew was crucial to making the final product. “I could not have been more fortunate to have Melissa Perez direct. She’s such a talented filmmaker and did a fantastic job translating this tech-romance for the screen. Over & Out has not only allowed me to give back to the queer community, but it has also been the token to lifetime friendships. I hope you enjoy watching the film as much as I did producing it!”