Program 25: Straight UpDirected by James Sweeney
- Narrative Feature, October 16
- 95 mins
- NEW YORK STATE premiere
Todd obsessively structures his life to dodge a flotilla of phobias: flying, UV rays, and all bodily fluids and intimate sexual contact. After years of disastrous dates with men, Todd has a breakthrough: Maybe he really isn’t gay after all. Maybe finding the right woman will solve his deepest fear: living alone for the rest of his life.
When Todd excitedly shares this revelation, his therapist and his two best friends react with utter disbelief. Todd is clearly a classic Kinsey Six, at best a Kinsey Five if he avoids wearing cashmere. Undaunted, Todd determinedly pursues his new straight persona.
When Todd randomly meets aspiring actress Rory at a local library, they rapidly bond over Gilmore Girls (not only do they love the characters, they also both speak at the show’s insanely fast tempo). Over wine, cake, and a series of housesitting gigs in luxe LA mansions, they become soulmates.
But sooner rather than later problems emerge. Todd’s studly friend Ryder continues to challenge Todd’s supposed heterosexuality, saying that he’s acting untrue to himself and unfair to his girlfriend. And everyone constantly inquires about their sex life, which is nonexistent and an increasing frustration for Rory, who is simultaneously fed up with the indignities of the Hollywood acting world.
Finally Rory makes the difficult decision to leave Todd, relocate to Seattle, and settle for a humdrum 9-to-5 job. Heartbroken, Todd refuses to relinquish their romantic future. But how can their unorthodox relationship ever really work?
Writer, director, and star James Sweeney mixes witty dialogue and hilarious characters with emotionally complex moments. In our modern era of exploding identities, from graysexuality to heteroromanticism to polyamory, Straight Up probes how self-reflection can lead to self-reinvention, even when it means steering off all the traditional paths and into the unknown.
~ J. O’Neill
Awards & Accolades
- Official Selection – Frameline SF Int’l LGBTQ+ Film Festival
- Official Selection – Outfest LA LGBT Film Festival
- Closing Night – Out on Film Atlanta LGBT Film Festival
- Official Selection – Reeling Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival