Nashville, Tenn. — April 6, 2018 — Director Melisse Tokic releases her debut short film, Queer and Southern God, in this year’s Nashville Film Festival under the Spectrum Category for “compelling, challenging stories crafted by the filmmakers who are setting trends in contemporary world cinema.” (Nashville Film Festival 2018)
Screening of the film’s premier will be at Regal Hollywood Stadium 27 on Tuesday, May 15th at 7:30pm with a second showing on May 16th at 3:30. Q&A with the director and talent to follow the premier screening.
Queer and Southern God will also be featured in the 2018 Independent Filmmakers Showcase Los Angeles Film Festival and is up for awards in Best Actor in a Short Film, Best Actress in a Short Film, Best Short Film, and Best LGBTQ Short Film.
A Southern Gothic coming of age tale set in rural Tennessee, Queer and Southern God follows Hank, played by Adrian Hill, as he manuevors his life around the aftermath of sexual assault. A trans youth, Hank lives at home with Mama, played by Noelle DeAtley. Mama is aloof, consumed in a cloud of cigarette smoke and empty beer cans—hardly the emotional support Hank needs when he find himself pregnant after the assault. Hank’s boyfriend, played by character actor Mel Burch—best known for his supporting roles in Homeland (2011), Honey, Meet my Wife! (2013) and Eastbound and Down—seems to support Hank as a queer man but does not meet the needs of Hank’s spirit, one that is deeply Southern in its underlying values.
Caught young, poor and without direction Hank’s body begins to show signs of betrayal, growing large with child and heavy with fear and doubt. It is the unexpected companionship of Honey Lynne, played by Kathy Butler Sandvoss, of films Union Bound (2016), Changeover (2016) and I Dated a Psycho (2013), who helps Hank to find hope within the aftermath of sexual abuse.
Tokic launched into filmmaking after developing themes from a novel that she began drafting during a Merrill Farnsworth Memoir Writing Circle in Nashville, Tennessee. Before her passing in 2017, Farnsworth was a verdant advocate for the film’s making, encouraging Tokic to allow the richness of the characters to speak to a broader audience. Tokic states, “The film hopes to increase awareness between cultures [and] get a wider audience to start talking and addressing their own prejudices.”
Queer and Southern God is a film that explores the importance of various spiritual paths and hope after violence. Its slated release, during the 2018 Film Festivals in Nashville and Los Angeles, aims to continue current conversations around the #MeToo movement, including a diversity of voices to the conversation. Tokic also aims to meet others who may be interested in expanding the themes of Queer and Southern God into a broader feature film or series.