Sometimes we all need someone to turn to, but equally, sometimes the person we need may not be someone already in our social circle. It is within the complexity of human connections, friendships and relationships that NQV’s brand new short collection Right Beside You takes inspiration. With five beautiful short films from Mexico, Brazil, France the UK and the Netherlands; each one exploring companionship, belonging and connection.
Right Beside You opens with the Mexican short Los Novios de mi Madre (All My Mothers Lovers). Teenage Cesar has more than a glancing admiration for best friend Pablo, and Pablo knows it. His conversations with Cesar constantly verging on the flirtatious, as he enjoys his friend’s admiration. However, despite the overt nature of Cesar’s interest, the topic of sexuality and attraction remains firmly off-limits. With Cesar, neither having the confidence nor wish to step beyond the realms of their friendship. However, when Cesar invites Pablo to his house for a sleepover, it’s his mother who grabs Pablo’s attention. With teenage hormones and forbidden attraction changing the boy’s friendship forever.
Director Samuel Montes de Oca León perfectly captures the stress and anxiety of hiding your true feelings in youth. But equally laces this with the devastating realisation that love does not always play to the same tune as your internal desire. While at the same time, reflecting the internal battle that many young people face, when their parent/s are unable to think beyond their own selfish needs and desires.
Next up is Bootyful from french director François Barbier; a beautiful snapshot of the first tentative but exciting steps we take when forming new friendships. And the unlikely connections and random events that lead those new friendships to grow and prosper. Estelle arrives at her best friend Garance’ flat expecting a standard night of dancing, drinks and fun. However, on arriving she is introduced to the exuberant Sasha, who will be joining the two women for the night. Sasha proudly defies gender boundaries, his style, confidence and humour wrapped in a love of life. And as the night progresses, Estelle and Sasha converge, in the heat of dance and energy of a budding friendship.
Director François Barbier encapsulates the energy, doubt and excitement of new relationships and new connections. The Journey of both Estelle and Sasha leading to a convergence of personal discovery, love and protection. In a similar vein, the third film in the collection also centres on the first tentative steps to freedom and rebirth with Apenas o Que Você Precisa Saber Sobre Mim (Only What You Need to Know About Me). A delicate but beautifully realised portrait of change, acceptance and fear as a young woman starts her life afresh; the local skate park a refuge and potential garden of growth and belonging. Director Maria Augusta V. Nunes delicately unpicks the fear of discrimination as a new person emerges from the chrysalis of childhood. With one boy, the key to rebirth; a boy who is unaware of her past, but desperate for connection.
Sometimes the connections we make and support we rely on comes from a need to survive in a dark world. A reality that finds a clear and devastating voice in director Joe Morris’ heart-wrenching exploration of youth homelessness in Junk. Tat’s life was forever changed when forced to leave his family home due to his sexuality. His only security and hope sitting delicately in the hands of his companion Jack. Both young men travelling from town to town, seeking comfort and safety in a dark world of prostitution, begging, and drugs. However, when Tat tries to re-engage with his mother, he soon realises that their relationship is beyond hope; her partner both, controlling, homophobic, and violent.
Joe Morris never shy’s away from the relentless need to survive in a world where the individual is a mere ghost in the eyes of society. The catastrophic effects of volatile family life laid bare, as the reality of homelessness due to sexual orientation is placed front and centre. In a world where homelessness due to sexuality continues to destroy hope and opportunity for far too many young people. Their lives caught in a bleak choice between the darkness of the streets and violence of the home. At the same time, as the safety net of social support and protection remains ineffective in catching individuals slipping into invisibility.
Finally, Stille Dorst (High Tide) explores the ability of a single individual to aid recovery and healing. Following his recent divorce, Tarek seeks solace and space in a holiday rental property. His life at sea, as he tries to find a new path while continuing to support his daughter. However, when the cottage owner Jonas, comes over to make some repairs. Tarik is immediately intrigued by the young man. His confident yet calm aura allowing Tarik to finally explore his feelings within a secure, loving and life-changing connection.
Director Claire Zhou short and beautiful reflection of random meetings and connections is wrapped in the ability of one person to change the life trajectory of another. The bright light of two souls meeting for the first time, laced with the healing power of conversation. In a film that offers hope, as love and belonging shines through the worry and pain of a life in turmoil. In turn, asking us all to embrace the hand of another, when it is extended in goodwill, healing and a hope for a new tomorrow.
With Right Beside You, NQV Media has once again knocked the ball out of the park. With a curated collection of short films that shines with diversity. At the same time reflecting the different connections that enable self-discovery and belonging. And at a time when we are all distant due to COVID 19, Right Beside You reminds us all of the power and healing of human contact, while in turn shining a light on the importance of positive support in personal wellbeing. The collection of short films on display both challenging, heartfelt and enriching. Each one reminding us if the importance of friendship, love and belonging. While in turn, encouraging us to reconnect with those who may have slipped from our world during the lockdown.