Citizen Jane discusses different backgrounds through short film program “Intersection”

The film festival showed short films highlighting race, sexuality and stereotypes Saturday.

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The Citizen Jane Film Festival featured a short film program titled Intersection on Saturday at the Macklanburg Playhouse. The program showed six short films addressing racial and sexual divides, stereotypes and labels faced in the 21st century and throughout history.

Out of the six shorts featured, my favorites were “The Brownlist,” a comedy short about a woman struggling to find a job as an actress based on her skin color, “Watched,” a documentary short about former President George W. Bush’s terrorist spies on Muslim communities, and a comedy film entitled “Intersection.”

The program started with “Intersection”, directed by Angela Tucker. The film featured a girl and her two friends who talk about race and sexuality while road tripping to one of the only abortion clinics in Louisiana. Filled with crafty dialogue and typical road trip situations, such as going to the bathroom on the side of the road, Tucker and her producer, Lauren Domino, were able to address controversial issues with a comedic twist.

“I like to explore social issues but through a comedic lense,” Domino said in the Q&A with the audience after the show. “In this film, we wanted to talk about abortion, specifically the mandate in Louisiana. I think there’s only, like, one place in the state where you can get an abortion. If you live up north, it’s a six hour drive in order to get services.”

“The Brownlist” also used comedy to face a social issue. Ursula Taherian, the producer and star actress in the film, created a comedy based on her inability to get diverse roles in movies and shows because she was too “light skinned” to play Middle Eastern roles.

“I was going out for all of these diverse roles and I would get to the end; I would get to the test,” Taherian said. “I would be signing contracts and I would be asked, ‘Why is your skin so light if you’re Middle Eastern?’ There was so much devastation, and that’s what we talked about. It shouldn’t be a color game.”

The shorts program ended with “Watched,” a shocking documentary film that featured two girls in Brooklyn who were followed by a government spy living in Muslim communities to find possible terrorist threats. The girls’ interviews, along with animated segments of their story, showed the xenophobia and paranoia they faced and are continuing to face as they struggle to grasp that their friend was actually an undercover government agent.

The shorts program ultimately showed the perspectives of different ethnicities and backgrounds, providing a voice for marginalized communities around the world.

“The fun, sassy friend doesn’t have to be the black girl,” Taherian said. “The smart co-worker doesn’t have to be the Indian guy with the accent. The laundromat owner doesn’t have to be the Asian guy. It just has to be the best person to tell that story.”

Edited by Brooke Collier | bcollier@themaneater.com

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