Cinema Femme Short Film Festival features a rainbow of talent

Mon. May 1, 2023 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

Cinema Femme Magazine presents Cinema Femme Short Film Festival with a series of four short film programs over the course of two dates. While this is the fifth year for the festival, it is the first year to convene in person at a public venue.

For opening night on April 30, 2023, an early celebration at 5 p.m. kicked things off before the screening at The Music Box Theatre. Food, drinks and silent auction items such as autographed DVDs and other novelties were part of the festivities this year.

Several cast members and creatives associated with this year's films were in attendance at the VIP party such as Chicago-based stars Alyssa Thordarson and Shaina Schrooten from Paper Planes, a queer holiday romantic comedy about a woman suffering from agoraphobia who meets an AirBnB guest from across the hall.

Thordarson, who also directs the film, stated, “There are not a lot of queer holiday comedies like this other than Hulu's Happiest Season, but that was about the trauma of coming out to someone's family. We were not making a film about that. In Paper Planes the queerness is implied and not mentioned similar to the sexuality in straight rom coms from the past.”

She described the production process as lasting 10 weeks from the script's first draft to the film festival's final acceptance.

Look for a drag queen and king film called Pluma on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, along with Spanko's director and star Melanie Zoe Weinstein. She said, “I wanted to tell the story of a femme person coming into their voice while exploring sexuality. What I have experienced and integrated has made me feel whole. I grew up in a time without access to the Internet and having a sexual quirk back then was extremely isolating. I want to help people within my sub-community feel less alone and I'm an activist at the end of the day. I hope people can laugh and feel moved because that is why we go to the movies in the first place!”

Spanko is currently touring as part of Dan Savage's Hump! Film Festival and Weinstein hopes to expand the project into a feature film at some point in the future.

Festival and Femme Magazine founder Rebecca Martin Fagerholm said at the party, “I am excited that we are elevating emerging filmmakers that aren't necessarily recognized enough. The talent is huge and people will be blown away after seeing these films!”

For the future, she hopes for a bigger space and more growth in attendance as CFSFF evolves.

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