Director: Heather Muriel Nguyen,
2019 | USA | 8m | English
As Thơ ventures into romance as a panromantic asexual/ace, her boyfriend Dylan pressures her to be both sexual and straight
Starring: Heather Muriel Nguyen, Malik Tyler, Zedakiah Koterba, & Michelle Fang
Playing in shorts program: Stand Up, Be Heard
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Heather Muriel Nguyen (she/they) is a queer Vietnamese-American filmmaker passionate about visceral stories that honestly reflect queer and trans communities of Color grappling with intergenerational trauma and self-love. Heather’s a 2020 Gemstone Studios/Sony Rising Storytellers semifinalist.
Jake Villadolid (he/him) is a young Filipino-American filmmaker who loves telling stories off the beaten path. He’s directed short films and award-winning music videos appearing in festivals across the U.S.
Together, Jake and Heather create films that feature People of Color rising above barriers. THƠ serves as their first outing as a directorial pair, with several films in post.
Our film features the ONLY asexual girl of color, played by an asexual girl of color, in media so far, and she is brazen and inimitable with her raw authenticity. THƠ (pronounced “tuh”) challenges the misconception of asexuality being something to be fixed, and reclaims it as a valid queer identity. An emotional and visceral memoir told with unapologetic honesty, THƠ depicts how assumed consent and sexual entitlement to a female body can dismantle her sense of reality. With evocative make-up, frenetic pacing, and non-linear storytelling, we exhibit the distinctive but ephemeral experience of taking on others’ emotional baggage through sexual harm.
Asexuality is misunderstood even within the LGBTQIA+ community, where it can be rejected as just a phase. In intimate relationships, allosexual people often assume that pressuring asexual people to have sex won’t create any lasting trauma, and when it does, use the sexual trauma as another excuse to invalidate their partners’ asexuality. We frame these consequences within the all-too-common experience of being misunderstood and betraying oneself to be accepted, in order to bring clarity to viewers potentially unfamiliar with asexuality.