A lot of gay men have experienced the painful disappointment of being rejected because they’re not masculine enough or deemed too feminine. After a viral crowdfunding campaign, the film Femme promises to tackle that touchy subject, shining a light on toxic masculinity in gay culture in a fun, uplifting way.
The short film will make its world premiere at Wicked Queer, the Boston LGBT Film Festival on March 31. In celebration, creator Corey Camperchioli and executive producer Rachel Brosnahan, known for her Golden Globe-winning lead performance in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, have released a first look trailer for the film.
Femme follows Carson (Corey Camperchioli), a gay twenty-something looking for love on all the wrong apps. After being rejected by an online hookup for being too “femme,” Carson embarks on a journey of self-discovery and acceptance by way of a manic existential crisis and a drag queen fairy godmother played by Aja from RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3. Set in the New York neighborhood Hell’s Kitchen, Carson must confront his own notions of masculinity and gender performance within the LGBTQ community and beyond.
“Femme is a deeply personal story written by and starring my friend Corey Camperchioli,” Brosnahan shared in a statement. “His unique voice and perspective add another nuanced layer to the conversation surrounding gender performance, identity and the societal expectations surrounding them. I’m so proud and honored to be a part of the Femme family and look forward to sharing our film at Wicked Queer!”
We chatted with Camperchioli after today’s announcement.
Hornet: Did a singular experience inspire you to create this film?
Corey Camperchioli: After the nine millionth time seeing a “No Femmes, Masc Only” account I finally decided to do something about it. The way to do that, for me, was to write a film that unpacks and breaks down why this is happening, and hopefully promotes a dialogue that directly challenges toxic masculinity in the LGBTQ community and beyond.
When choosing drag queens to star, why were you drawn to Aja?
I’ve known Aja from the New York City drag scene before she was on RuPaul’s Drag Race. In a weird twist of fate, I won a raffle at her birthday party where the prize was for Aja to put me in drag. While she was putting me in drag, we chatted about the script for Femme, her experience doing drag and her inspiring views on gender and gender performance. After that conversation, I knew she was the only choice to bring the role of Panzy La Rue to life.
How did Rachel become involved?
Rachel and I went to New York University together! When we launched the Kickstarter, she reached out letting us know how much she enjoyed the empowering message of the film. She came on as executive producer and we are beyond thrilled to have her. Her stunning work on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel directly challenges rigid gender roles, and I hope that Femme will do the same.
What do you help gay men in our community take away from your film?
I hope that the take away is to embrace who you are, no matter who you are or how you present to the world.
What has been the biggest challenge for you to overcome as a queer filmmaker creating a very queer narrative. How did you overcome this?
I think my biggest challenge as a queer filmmaker was convincing myself that my story was worth telling. We as queer folks get told by society that we shouldn’t take up space, that our stories don’t matter. Telling my story has been the scariest thing in my entire life, yet the most rewarding. I urge you to tell your story, too. It has transformed my life.