›› Alaska Is A Drag
a short film by Shaz Bennett.
2012 | 14 mins | US.
principal players: Martin L. Washington, Jr. / Leo, Spencer Broschard / Declan and Barret Lewis as Kyle.
Official Synopsis: "The unique Leo stands out from the crowd. That's not ideal when working in a small fish cannery in Alaska. His dreams of leaving this small town appear impossible, until a new boy joins and sees Leo for the superstar he was destined to be."
Some short films you just don't want to end and this is one of them, as writer and director Shaz Bennett tells the dragulicious tale of Leo; a young man whose effeminate nature and love for all things that glitter is out of line with his fellow workers up to their hands in fish guts down at the local cannery and in particular with macho Kyle; former friend, but now a man who likes to showcase his heterosexuality by using Leo for boxing practise. Only there's a new man about town and it's here that Bennett beautifully explores the growing friendship between Leo, as played with zeal by Martin L. Washington, Jr. and Spencer Broschard as Declan; newfound best friend whose sexuality is undefined, yet is clearly at ease in Leo's company, both being outsiders to the world; well certainly the small town mentality of those around them.
In short, this is but a play on the (and with no pun intended) fish out of water theme, one that strikingly juxtaposes Leo's monotonous Alaskan existence with the life he longs to have, courtesy of a series of dreamlike escapes of drag inspired fantasy, only for the short to be surprisingly devoid of the big production number itself. Then again, perhaps that's reserved for the feature; thankfully already in pre-production. And that's good to know, given this wondrous work, as made as part of the AFI Directing Workshop for Women, speaks volumes on to thy own self, being true, in spite of what others around you may think, or do. Sweet, telling and downright entertaining, yet equally an uplifting cinematic testimonial as to why you should never give up on your dreams. Frankly, what's not to like?
Gay Visibility - overt.
Nudity - none.
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars.