Morning After, a short film from director Patricia Chica and writer Kristian Hodko, delves into the subject of sexual fluidity through five friends who have just spent a night exploring their desires. The film just screened at the Cannes Film Festival as part of the "Creative Minds" shorts program and will be featured in other festivals around the world. The Advocate put five questions to Chica.
The Advocate: Why did you endeavor to make a film about sexual diversity?
Patricia Chica:With Morning After, I wanted to speak about human connection, energy, and sexual enlightenment from a fresh perspective other than the labels of LGBTQ or heterosexuals’ points of view. I wanted to make a film about desire and arousal that would go beyond the conventional physical realm ... a deeper and perhaps more spiritual approach to sexuality, self-expression, and self-acceptance. So when my friend Kristian Hodko pitched me the script of Morning After, it presented the perfect opportunity for me to hit all of these narrative targets in one single project.
Morning After is more than a film about the fluidity of sexuality and the diversity of sexual identities. It is about accepting yourself the way you are. It's also an inspiring tale about human connection, oneness, and finding the flow that unites the sensual experience with the truth within us.
How do you identify on the gender and sexuality spectrum?
Identifying myself on the sexual spectrum would defeat the purpose of this film and of my creative process, which is about the notion that labels should not define us. I strongly believe that sexuality is composed of an infinite range of shades and colors, and that they are unique to each individual. From my personal experience, what defines love, desire, arousal, and attraction has nothing to do with the gender of the person but more with their energy.
And wouldn’t we all admit that each character in a filmmaker’s film is always a reflection of their own self?
How do sexual labels unite and/or divide the LGBT community?
Sexual labels are not what unites or divides the LGBT community. It’s people and their “believes” depending on their openness or closeness to human sexual diversity. Would you say an apple, an orange, and a banana are divided because they are all fruits but from different kinds? I feel is the same for sexual labels. We are all human beings sharing our experience on this planet and part of the unity of life. For me, there is no separation; that’s why labeling is a concept that I don’t find pertinent anymore in our day an era.
When I’m curious to find out what a person’s sexual identity is, I ask them “What is your preference?” And like the character Alex (played by the extraordinary Joey Scarpellino) in Morning After answers, I personally believe it all comes down to “energy.”
How would you describe the fluidity of sexuality and gender to someone who thinks it is "decided" at birth?
Sexual fluidity is a complex concept. For me, I see it independent (but not separated) from the physical experience. Sexual fluidity is when you honor both realms; the physical (body) and the spiritual (mind). They could be aligned and/or complementary.
For example, some people would identify as heterosexuals all their lives and are happy and fulfilled in a heterosexual relationship for many years. However, what would arouse them sexually the most could be same-sex imagery and situations, or the presence of both genders in the physical act.
Some people can only fall “in love” with one gender and at the same time only reach “orgasm” with the other or in the presence (or the though) of both “genders.”
Some people, would go through phases throughout their lives, where they would feel more attracted to the same sex for a period of time, and then be involved in a “hetero” relationship.
Sexual fluidity is still a relatively new concept, and there’s still many things to explore and learn from it. There is no black or white, just a spectrum of infinite possibilities of desires, fantasies, combinations and relationships.
How do you hope your film impacts an LGBT audience?
This singular and provocative story is intended to be optimistic, uplifting, and enlightening for all viewers, wherever they are on the spectrum of sexuality.
I hope the people who watch the film will be touched by the story of Michael (played by the outstanding Thomas Vallières) as much as I am. It is an inspiration to know that we can choose to be freed of sexual labels in our lives and honor the true meaning of human connection with others and acceptance within ourselves.
I hope this film can allow the viewers to become fluid in their thinking.
Watch an exclusive clip from Morning After below.