Directed by Jasper Soloff
Text by Joseph Gregory
An open call was put out earlier this month for queer writers, producers, and directors to submit short horror films for DRØME’s inaugural film festival, I’M SCREAMING, for which ten films were selected. On a torrential October Sunday evening, filmmakers, moviegoers, and young creatives gathered in the Velvet Room at Ludlow House for a night of fright.
The screening opened with Sleeping Pills. Gabriel Hawes created an eerie visual and aural experience in black and white that “thinks about the idea that our contemporary lives are completely smothered in plastic and steeped in artificial materials and experiences.”
Following Hawes’ piece was Eat, a “voyeuristic nightmare of Eden” taking form as a fashion film for Official Rebrand, directed by Jasper Soloff. Breaking down the establishment of a familiar biblical origin story, the film was an unsettling journey through humiliation and redefinition of traditional power dynamics, positing the potential of an undefined future where gender is obsolete.
Thank You For Playing, created by Willa Tracy, stood in stark contrast to the oversaturation of the OR film, exploring “the space between feeling lonely and being alone.” Evoking vivid memories of rolling a ball across the floor as a child, Tracy’s film put an unsettling twist on the comfortable and the familiar.
Anthropophagy, simply stated, was a film about eating flesh. A compelling combination of mediums, Asia Hunt’s film brought the audience to a deafening hush.
Hellraiser -3000, a four minute presentation of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser reversed and sped up, was MI Leggett’s means of subverting perceptions of time, memory, and fate. Using a familiar borrowed source made it feel like the viewer was trapped in a distorted sense of déjà vu.
Mary, a Dank Henny Production, was a masterful mixed media film. Blending fairytale, modern music, and horror, the audience was thrown loop after loop as the film transitioned without warning between comedy, kitsch, and dread.
Creepy Cruiser, directed and produced by Fábio M. Silva, got a rise out of the audience. Camp met horror in beautiful union in a ten minute flick about three drag queen housewives of Berlin whose idyllic picnic is marred by cruising gone wrong.
The Night is Darkening Around Me by Kat Danziger and Hannah Hughes was a visceral visual representation of a poem by Emily Bronte about a tortured soul, inducing a collective skin crawl as a figure forcefully drew a blade down their neck.
God Don’t Like, a collaboration between experimental filmmaker Sina al-Qamar and CULTRA was a dazzling presentation of music and visual storytelling, highlighted by incredible costuming and SFX makeup that transformed the cast into snake-like aliens that slithered off-screen and into the room.
Queerness is to filmmaking as fake blood is to a classic 80’s slasher flick. While visible queerness has been historically relegated to the Indie genre, I’M SCREAMING highlighted the creativity and range of young filmmakers asked to work without guidelines as a means of destabilizing a traditionally cis straight male dominated art form.
In the making of DRØME we hope to showcase a community of doers and nourish an attitude of empathy in a world that teaches us to pass judgment rather than practice kindness. The stories, images, and people shared in this magazine are an amalgamation of perspectives often overlooked or explicitly excluded from art and media worlds. The dearth of diverse identities and viewpoints within the arts is harrowing, especially for a young generation that is fighting its hardest to overcome conservative notions of order ultimately practiced as acts of discrimination against the very people and things we find most inspiring. In DRØME, the featured creators and creations encourage us to never shy away from who we are and what we want. Each artist, in sharing their story, embodies their own definition of agency. Against a mainstream ideology that indoctrinates patriarchal, capitalist, and hateful theories turned into policy, the artists in our first issue represent the ways in which art can take power back from society's denigrating control.