Director Tristan Scott-Behrends short film Only Trumpets was named best in fest at last year’s OutFest and he’s made the film available for our readers.
Scott-Behrends describes the film in a statement as being about, “a cynical but hopelessly longing for love, Tristan (played by Xavier Jimenez March) ,
who is looking for fulfillment through dating apps and casual sexual encounters, who is suddenly swept up when an unexpected glance across the bar leads to a magical evening of connection and passion with an angelic equal played by rising star musician and artist Daniel Crook.”
“The night leaves Tristan back where he started,” Scott Behrends says “but better, having loved and experienced genuine connection— if only for a moment.”
Engulfed in the hyper-masculinity presented by gay men, for gay men, across pop culture, films and pornography, it occurred to director Tristan Scott-Behrends that if, “we are going to shift the way we treat each other and ourselves in efforts to overcome internalized homophobia and misogyny, our creative culture must start offering imagery where feminine-presenting or gender non-conforming men are presented in situations where they are depicted as deserving of love and sexually desirable. In my experience, my sexual and romantic options in the world vary based on the degree of ‘femininity’ or ‘flamboyance’ I present. In thinly veiled words, I have been told by multiple potential suitors that my sartorial choices make me unworthy of their affection. In the age of digital dating we are all susceptible to curating our romantic partners as one
would decorate a house or plate a meal — in order to fit the projection of our social media personalities.”
“There’s no room for nuance or fluidity; we are two-dimensional caricatures of ourselves and we seek the same in potential mates. This film is the manifestation of a commitment to myself to keep my heart open to the possibilities the world has to offer, and serves as a reminder that love does not have to be lasting to be genuine and affecting,” he continues.
Towleroad spoke to Scott-Behrends.
TLRD: What is Only Trumpets about in the simplest terms?
Tristan Scott-Behrends: Only Trumpets is about exploring the way technology has enabled sexual encounters to exist at our finger tips, and the emptiness that can lead to, particularly for those that don’t fit into the mold of gay perfection that has for too long been promoted in all mainstream spaces for gay conversation and culture.
TLRD: What was your inspiration?
TSB: This was my way of dealing with concepts and feelings I have been sorting out for years. In recovering from a traumatic end to an unhealthy relationship I have explored many variations of sexual and romantic contact in my journey to be able to once again open up my heart and soul in a loving, safe and nurturing relationship with another person.
Since first being aware of my sexuality as a young teen I never felt a strong connection with the gay community as a whole. For a scrawny feminine boy the images I would see on gay magazines or on the posters of gay bars were not an ideal I related to. As I got older I continued to see a pretty problematic representation in the community particularly in spaces the were intended to be for gay people. Ranging from gay film festivals to bars. While liberating sexually the app culture has somewhat amplified this problem. I find it odd and unsettling that people who have for decades been oppressed for their sexual preferences have in some ways created their own micro communities that put one another into boxes based on psychical appearance.
My reaction to labels and boxes has always been to defy them and flip them on their head. If my beard makes me masculine I will wear a gorgeous gown and fake eyelashes.
I think it is always important as a community, that has long been ahead curve, to examine or own culture to ask how we can be better to ourselves and to each other. The purpose of queer publications, film festivals, tv networks, bars is just as important as ever. Gay marriage is not the end of our cultural struggle. It should have never been a debate to begin. It very important to have challenging conversations within our own community and examine how the culture we create within queer media impacts every individual within the queer umbrella.
TLRD: What do you want people to walk away with?
TSB: While I am telling this story from my own experience which is a queer one, the emotional journey is largely a queer one. I hope that there are people who have not seen themselves or their experiences represented in this way can see this and feel less alone. I would love for viewers to reflect on their own behavior and how it can be affecting their own happiness. We are all capable of giving a receiving love but it has to start with and for ourselves. I think love is a very important thing in all of its forms and I walked away from making this by being aware of how my daily behavior can add more love to my life and how fleeting sexual encounters can be erotic and alluring can be ultimately draining and depleting of love.
Paper magazine said of Only Trumpets: “The film, which employs a beautiful wash of colors evoking dark rooms in buddy booths and faded Hollywood glamour, actors Xavier Jimenez March and Daniel Crook play characters who are marginalized by the hierarchical throne of queer desire. A fit, “hot” gay cisgender male sits atop that throne, and the rest of us who aren’t that struggle to find connection, whether momentary or long-lasting — or at least, that’s the narrative this film works to deconstruct. The two ultimately see a likeness in each other, as people who are more femme-presenting, and discover a mutual kinship. You see supporting characters scrolling on their phones and becoming archetypes to fit in, sexually and romantically: twink, bear, daddy, jock, the list goes on.”
Follow the link here to watch the film which has mild nudity and may not be safe for everyone to watch at work.