LGBTQ short rejected by high school to screen at Big Muddy

A still from “Since the Day We First Met.” (Photo courtesy of Big Muddy Film Festival)

CARBONDALE — A student’s LGBTQ themed short film, “Since the Day We First Met,” that was rejected by his high school film festival will be screened at the Big Muddy Film Festival of Southern Illinois University.

From Alex Rodriguez in The Southern Illinoisan:

Originally being rejected by his high school’s film festival for “clearly illustrating LGBTQ themes”, the short had picked up traction around the internet, being picked up for several other festivals and Singleton even being interviewed by queer news sites for the situation. The official reason given to why his film was rejected was because of LGBTQ themes, which, according to the MPAA, are categorized with a PG-13 or R rating, allowing the festival’s committee to reject it on those unjust grounds. Thanks to backlash and the efforts of many online, Singleton’s film, along with others rejected on similar grounds, were readmitted into the festival, sending a clear message that queer cinema has a place in all film festivals.

“Since the Day We First Met” centers around a deaf high school student named Max. Max moves to a new non-deaf school early in the narrative and finds a friend in Finn. Over the following months Max and Finn grow closer, the director using Finn’s ability to use sign language as a narrative device to progress time. The end of the short includes the two admitting their true feelings for each other, feelings they have held for each other since meeting, and ending with an onscreen kiss.

Rodriguez called the film impressive and unexpected from a young director.

Housed within the Cinema & Photography Department at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, the Big Muddy Film Festival celebrates the innovative works of emerging and established filmmakers and media artists. The Big Muddy is dedicated to encouraging grassroots filmmaking in local communities, and to bringing independent film to the rural Midwest. After 41 years, Big Muddy is among the oldest student-organized film festivals in the United States.

“Since the Day We First Met” will screen with other dramatic short films at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22 at The Varsity Center in downtown Carbondale.

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