Directed by: #MichaelBeddoes
Sequins is such a breath of fresh air. I watched it in a rainy Saturday and it completely changed the mood of my weekend. Michael Beddoes took a subject that can easily be done over the top but he told this story with such a beauty and tranquillity that offered the subgenre a sigh of relief.
The short film is set in late 1990s in Blackpool and it tells Paul’s (Robbie Gaskell) journey of self-discovery when he embarks on his quest of becoming a drag queen. The film, of course, deals with bullying and the overall fear of being different. Beddoes, however, does not focus on that, he uses it as background to emphasise the importance of a community and a supporting system. Paul is different than his peers and that makes him a target. When he runs away from his bullies he finds safe haven in a queer bar – literally, being saved by the queer community. The people in the bar receive Paul with open arms and turn this somewhat bad situation into an opportunity of self-discovery and acceptance. Gaskell has a difficult task when bringing Paul to life – he needs to convey such a wide range of emotions in less than 20 minutes and he does it perfectly. Paul changes from being sad and afraid to proudly owning his identity through subtle changes in his demeanour.
Paul decides to come out at the school’s talent show - a place he was thrust into without having a say in it and manages to turn into an opportunity to blossom. Paul stands in front of everyone – his bullies, his family, his teachers, his mentors and his friend – in full drag and the courage it takes him to stand tall is enormous, to say the least. Beddoes and Gaskell work well together to emphasise the fearlessness of someone who is willing to be true to themselves regardless of how difficult it might be. And here is where the film shines – literally and figuratively.
Sequins takes on the responsibility of telling a story that is often tied together with tragedy and violence and chooses to put it in the back, not ignoring completely, but focusing on other important aspects, such as friendship and acceptance.
As I mentioned before, the performance and the screenplay are the high points of this film. Beddoes’ directing seems effortless and this sense of effortlessness pervades through every aspect of #filmmaking. The sound, the photography and the editing all tie together in a genuine way.
By watching Sequins it becomes clear that some filmmakers really do believe in the power of film and Beddoes alongside his crew and cast should all be praised for this short film.