LGBTQ Short Film Drama “Stay Here” – A Story About Infidelity With An Unexpected Ending

With the stream of stories coming out from Hollywood about sexual assault, rape, harassment, intimidation and abuse, it’s clear that these issues have also been yet another barrier in women’s success in the industry, as well as the types of narratives we see on screen about women. Women in Hollywood have been fighting against stereotypes and tropes for quite some time, opting to fund, create, and distribute projects themselves instead of waiting for the behemoth of the Hollywood studio system to catch up.

The proliferation of complex, nuanced female stories is something we are also passionate about, because what we see on screen has the potential to impact many other areas in society. A short film drama that ticks all the boxes both in front of the camera and behind is ‘Stay Here’, written, produced and directed by an all-female team, starring an all-female cast, and a majority-female crew.

The story follows a woman and her wife who check in for a secluded romantic getaway, only to be haunted by the one who pulled them apart. ‘Stay Here’ stars Jess Nurse, Melanie Recker, and Davie-Blue. It was directed by Lauren Schacher, who is also the co-creator of the ‘F*ck Yes’ web series (as well as an actor writer, producer and director on the series) which is all about consent and sex education.

Jess Nurse was the writer on this project, Eve Cohen was the cinematographer, Ally Zonsius edited the film, and Jewel Greenberg produced. There is no doubt about the distinct female gaze aspect of ‘Stay Here’, something that Hollywood is still missing in a number of ways, but the film also manages to be intersectional, most notably with race and sexuality.

It’s still really rare that we see a gay character at the center of his or her own story, let alone a gay woman of color; and it’s even more rare that when we do see those things, that the film isn’t then¬†about¬†being gay. This is a human story of love and betrayal wherein the characters happen to be who they are. It’s about not being able to get that “other woman/person” out of your head.

But it’s also more than that. Our main character believes the other woman to be her enemy in the beginning, as we often do, only to find out that perhaps they have more in common, or need each other, more than she initially thought. The ending is not like your typical infidelity or love triangle stories.

This is an important aspect of having more women at the helm writing and creating complex protagonists that will leave you wanting more, rather than waiting for predictable lines and scenes. ‘Stay Here’ gives audiences the opportunity to look at female characters, specifically gay women as wholly human and nuanced, rather than a trope to tick a box that we’ve been accustomed to seeing in mainstream Hollywood.

Clearly the film is hitting the right notes and proving there is finally some change in the industry, judging by the attention it has been getting from a number of film festivals. It premiered in New York at the SOHO Film Festival, and also screened at the Fresno Reel Pride Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and the San Diego Black Film Festival.

2017 has certainly been a big year for female empowerment and women’s voices in a number of areas in society, including Hollywood. Of course this was seen most notably with the release of ‘Wonder Woman’ in the summer, as box office sales and shown female-drive and female-directed superhero films DO make money (more than a number of male-driven superhero films FYI). But there have also been a number of independent films such as Greta Gerwig’s ‘Ladybird’ and Amanda Lipitz’s ‘Step’ documentary that have made waves both critically and with audiences. People want to pay money to see interesting films about women. Period.

Thanks to what we’ll dub “Harvey Weinstein-gate” exposing the underbelly of sexism and racism in the industry, there has never been a better time to support and amplify female-driven projects, especially those that have been made by up-and-coming talent. Be sure to follow updates about screenings for ‘Stay Here’ on their official Facebook Page.

 

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