May 5, 2013

IconWeb Series LESlieVILLE explores common lesbian theme

I recently discovered a new Canadian online short film series called LESlieVILLE. It’s shot in Toronto and the subject matter centres on two women who find themselves attracted to one another but one of them is in a committed relationship. There are a total of 11 less-than-10-minute shorts in the series and the first short was released in February 2013 which was followed by weekly releases thereafter.


On the series website the series is described as…
“…a story about connection, attraction and navigating between lust and true desire. It’s the story of two girls meeting, clicking, but one is already in a relationship. Still, the two carry on with their “friendship” firmly wrapped up in denial about what they’re really doing – falling in love.”


The series writer and director, Nadine Bell, wanted to explore the difficulties lesbians face when finding themselves attracted to a new ‘friend’ while at least one is unavailable to develop the friendship into something more.


Tiffany Martin plays Ona who has been in a relationship with Laura for about a year and a half. Samantha Wan plays Sera who is currently single but is best friends with her ex Gwen, played by Jenna Harder, a more rough-around-the-edges non-romantic realist who calls it as she sees it. The dynamic between Wan and Harder is quite believable in Episode 2 ‘Getting to Know You’ and Harder’s role is clearly to encourage Wan to step outside of her heteronormative ideals.


While the actors have a rather short medium in which to explore their angst at the situation the interaction between Martin and Wan feels forced and uncomfortable in a way that does not appear to be intentional. Even the relationship dynamic between Martin and her girlfriend Laura (played by Meghan Campbell) doesn’t feel authentic.


It’s refreshing to see a series that dives into what can be quite a common lesbian dilemma and may be helpful in offering other women who are facing a similar situation to see the dynamic from another perspective.


The first season so far has relied on a variety of volunteers who have spent their spare time editing the shorts for release. Bell is dedicating her time to ensuring these episodes are also provided with subtitles in a number of different languages in an effort to reach as many audience members as possible.


On a positive side note, the soundtrack to the short series features local Toronto-area queer and queer-friendly musicians such as Emma McKennna, Bonjay, Warm Myth, Carly Rhiannon, Fake Date, Phèdre and KidKulit


While it may not be quite an award-winning project, there is enough tension between Ona and Sera (with a little help from Gwen) to make this series worth following and I’ll be keeping my eye out to see what Nadine Bell’s next project may be.

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