There is a wide range of LGBTQI movies and TV series that you can experience during Pride Month Unidentified objects It should be high on your must-see list. Not because it features gay characters but because it explores universal themes that unite us. exit Juan Felipe Zuleta He saw that and created a winning story about two characters we can both understand and encourage.

There you have it. So… what could go wrong when a nervous troll and his space-obsessed neighbor travel to Canada on an offbeat quest to find their place in the universe? A lot, that’s what makes it Zuleta An indie outing that’s a lot of fun to watch. The guy is also on board as co-screenwriter with Leland Frankel. Together they weave a compelling and often funny story of an unlikely friendship and enduring existential angst. Juan Felipe Zuleta, who had an incredible film festival experience with the film, shares more in this exclusive MovieWeb interview.

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Why unknown things happened

Unidentified objects It introduces us to Peter, a misanthropic dwarf (Matthew Auguste Jeffers) confined to his New York City apartment, and Winona (Sarah Hay from… Flesh and bones), who becomes Peter’s unlikely ally. Their adventure is prompted by Winona’s determination to find the location of an upcoming alien visitation in the Canadian wilderness.

Colorful characters pop up along the way, of course — the “extraterrestrial” highway cops were a nice touch — but by the end, Zulita’s film delves into the traumas people stuff and asks the question: Are we really all alone in this universe? Here, with ourselves on planet Earth, with billions of other people around us. deep? Yes. But the filmmakers show enthusiasm all the way.

Related: 7 Iconic LGBTQ+ Characters From Horror Movies

“It wasn’t the movie I wanted to make. It was a movie I needed to make,” said Zulita. “I’m a sci-fi fan, but I also love stories about strangers, people who live on the periphery, people who don’t have a place in the world. I’ve done a lot of studies about little people and even little people in cinema, but in particular this character, Peter, I had some blueprints about who this character could be.”

What brought it all into being here is the pandemic. Zuleta was working on another project that failed. “I wasn’t employed, and in a really dark place. I couldn’t afford the rent, and that’s when the story came out.” “It’s like the universe has conspired in the most insane way to bring it back to life. So, when I say it’s not the movie I wanted—because it didn’t go through the studio system—I’d punch people and say, ‘I need to make this movie, I want you to be invested.’” In it.” I started production without the full budget. I struggled with it. Because I needed to tell a story that would allow people to feel the way I did and hopefully find a little hope in the world. I say it’s a love letter to strangers or people who don’t have a place in the world. “.

A story the public has never seen before

Quiver distribution

Zulita knew he wanted to tell the story of a little person after realizing there was an incredible group of dwarfed performers to choose from — actors who are rarely offered the chance to play multi-layered lead roles on screen. He felt that this type of representation was important.

He found true North in actor Matthew August Jeffers, who plays Peter, an eccentric man with achondroplasia. Peter, who is also gay, is strapped for cash. The only reason he agreed to go through with the idea of ​​a road trip seemed so foreign to Wynonna was because she would pay him. Sarah Hay showers Wynonna with a lot of grit and angst here — the character is a free-spirited sex worker on a mission, so there’s that.

“I was very lucky to have found Matthew and Sarah.” Zuleta said. “During pre-production, Matthew and I had previously talked for far too many hours each day, just breaking down the script, talking about the characters, coming up with our language. We talked about our personal feelings and why we were telling this story. It was the same with Sarah. I don’t think people They usually do that sort of thing. But there was a time before pre-production when we had to do Quarantine together. I think all of that [depth] appear on the screen. “

Related: The best LGBTQ+ thrillers, ranked

When asked why it was important to create a gay character with dwarfism, like Peter, Zuleta said:

“Many reasons, but one is because it moves me in a very personal way. My niece was born with an arm problem — she doesn’t have one — and I remember how she loved reading children’s books. Then my brother-in-law started drawing princesses with the body and arm of his disabled daughter. I started She sees herself defined in that princess. The traditional books didn’t have that. So, I fell in love with the importance of telling stories with characters we haven’t seen, because there are so many people we can connect with, but we don’t see as often. Including me. I’m from South America/ Colombian. I don’t necessarily see a lot of people in movies like me. Peter in this movie is something I’ve never seen in my life. And it’s a character broken in many different ways and different shapes.”

He added, “I am a very human filmmaker, as you can tell from this interview.” “I’m interested in making films that can affect and change the world and at least give us something to think about. But for me, the reason I fell in love with Strangers, Misfits, and Different People and found collaborators like Matthew to bring these stories to life, is because it’s important for us to see different stories. , and with different people. Not all stories have to have a white superhero who looks 100 percent like without the flaws.”

Juan Felipe Zuleta’s biggest hope for the movie

Unidentified objects
Quiver distribution

It is fitting, then, that Zuleta’s influence is directors Alfonso Cuaron (RomeAnd Y Tu Mama También) and David Lynch (blue velvet). Both directors are exceptional in the cinema they make.

Y Tu Mama También “One of my all-time favorite films,” said Zulita. “I still can’t believe he shot it with handheld cameras carrying two characters inside a car. No crazy visual effects. Alfonso put it in a very human and natural way. This guy changed my life. And David Lynch… listen, he’s had a few people in a lot of his movies.” But I don’t think they’re necessarily explored. They’re more like a freak show in some ways. But its visual narration, and the way it tells the stories, I’d say it steals a lot from it. Wizard of Oz– That humanity escapes. People face a lot of problems, and they find a way out.

Those pepper influences Unidentified objects. As the audience navigates through it, a platonic love story emerges, one the likes of which we haven’t seen before. Bottom line: Zuleta would like audiences to be entertained, but there’s also another hope he has.

“I hope this movie is a movie that people can find themselves in when they are alone,” he said. “When they don’t feel like they belong, when they don’t feel like they have a place in the world, when they feel rejected or beaten or bullied or thrown out. I hope people realize that there are these two spheres [on screen] They are just like them. And in the end, to realize it is you Can find your people. You Can Find your clan and you Can be yourself.”

Unidentified objects From Quiver Distribution, out June 2 in theaters and June 9 on VOD.


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