‘Sequin in a Blue Room’ brings a fresh view to queer Australian cinema

 

Technology has fast become integral to the way young LGBTIQ+ people connect with the world around them, and a new Australian film tells a contemporary queer coming of age story rarely seen on screen.

Sequin In A Blue Room follows a 16-year-old boy who goes by Sequin on the dating apps, and he’s discovering more his sexuality through anonymous online encounters. Tantalised by an invitation to an anonymous sex party, Sequin finds himself caught up in a dangerous chase that will shape his future.

Director Samuel van Grinsven joined OUTinPerth for a chat about his debut feature, a coming of age story he originally didn’t think he wanted to tell.

“I feel like a lot of queer cinema, especially queer cinema that makes it to the mainstream, is set in that coming of age world, and there’s a lot of protagonists in that age group,” van Grinsven said.

“But, the more I went down that path, even in the research for the film… I couldn’t deny that that’s the kind of story I had to tell and really came from a place of not seeing my own experience as a young queer person in the current age reflected accurately on screen.

“Technology’s part in coming of age, in coming out, I didn’t see that honestly reflected, so I thought I could add my voice too.”

Though the film’s protagonist is a young gay man, the film delves examines the experiences of queer men from across generations, where technology has the power to both connect and divide.

“I think what was most interesting in the research around those apps, and the difference in generations, is how much quicker people grow up now because of access to technology and information.”

“It’s easier to see yourself reflected, but it’s also easier to log on and have conversations with other queer people from all different generations… it all came from a fascination of the idea that there’s a meeting place for all different generations, who’ve all had completely different experiences of coming of age, and coming out, and what happens when they collide.”

Van Grinsven’s work is very much his own creation, an exciting new piece of Australian queer cinema, the influence of gay indie director like Gregg Araki and Gus Van Sant cannot be denied.

“When I went to film school, I came across New Queer Cinema and just fell in love with it. It was the first time I’d seen those young coming of age stories, or even young queer protagonists, where the story had absolutely nothing to do with their sexuality.”

“It was about genre, it was about reinterpreting classic American genres like the Western, and it was looking at those from a young queer perspective, with low budges, who just didn’t really care about what the wider mainstream audience thought.”

“The result was films that were full of energy and life, which is something that I see as the energy of our queer community that doesn’t often make it to the screen.”

Sequin in a Blue Room is now showing at Luna Leederville. For more information, head to lunapalace.com.au

Leigh Andrew Hill


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