On January 13th, the City of West Hollywood presented the Lesbian Speakers Series showing three short films, Shelby’s Vacation, Nona Hendryx Transformation, and Twenty. There was a panel discussion afterward conducted by Angela Brinskele, Director of Communications of the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives and the filmmakers. On the panel were Nancy Beverly, writer/producer of Shelby’s Vacation, Victoria Sampson, Director of Shelby’s Vacation, Lily Richards, writer/actor/director of Twenty, Caitlin Combe, producer of Twenty, and Mary Jo Godges & Renee Sotile, filmmakers of Nona Hendryx Transformation.
Nona Hendryx Transformation was filmed at the Women’s Palm Spring’s Jazz Festival where the filmmakers, Renee Sotile and Mary Jo Godges interviewed the recording artist plus showed Nona performing onstage. The quick cuts back and forth from hearing the 71-year old artist speak about her personal philosophy of sexuality, aging, and making it as a female in the music business to Nona’s electric, dynamic pageantry onstage, created a colorful portrait.
Twenty is a web series created by Lily Richards. In this particular segment, the main character, Maya, played by Lily Richards was dealing with heartbreak because her girlfriend was getting deported. The close-up shots of the two women talking in bed set an intimate tone so the audience could delve deeper into the lover’s psyches. In the next scene, Maya was visited by her two wacky friends who were there to console her. Again, an intimate space was created but this time it was done through humorous dialogue that was witty, yet poignant.
Shelby’s Vacation had the qualities of a feature film with expert script writing by veteran Nancy Beverly who has worked in television for 25 years on hit shows, such as Desperate Housewives and Ghost Whisper, and directing/film editing by Victoria Sampson who is an award-winning producer/writer/director, film and sound editor. Victoria was the sound editor for the movies, Speed, and The River to name of a few. The story reflected the difficulties of modern day romance as Shelby sets out from L.A. on a much-needed vacation to mend her heart from its latest unrequited crush and ends up at a rustic mountain resort where she meets manager Carol, who has her own fantasies that are getting in the way of creating a real relationship. The audience is pulled into Shelby and Carol’s world through provocative dialogue that painfully punctuates each character’s psychological hang-ups. Through superb editing, a fantasy world was interwoven with the gorgeous natural setting of the woods in which Shelby and Carol interacted. Here, we watched the two women attempt to free themselves from their past wounding from previous relationships and families of origin. Beverly doesn’t give us a happily ever after ending and we are left with the question, will their brief encounter lead to any significant changes in Shelby and Carol’s lives?
All three shorts represented different categories of filmmaking: documentary, webseries, and short features, and all the women filmmakers did an outstanding job in crafting their projects
For more information about the three films:
Nona Hendryx Transformation: http://www.valleyfilmfest.com/valleyfilmfest/app/films/2070/
Shelby’s Vacation to go: https://www.facebook.com/shelbysvacation/
All photo images were photographed by Sheryl Aronson