DIRECTOR: Saša Numić
SYNOPSIS: With news that her 10-year-old son is being bullied because of his feminine long eyelashes, a single mother tries to protect her son by trapping him at home. After being plagued by a series of escalating nightmares in which a shadow figure creeps closer to her and her son, the mother’s fear for her son’s safety culminates in a fight about her not allowing him to go to his best’s friend birthday party. After she comes home to find him trying to cut off his own eyelashes, she realizes that she cannot protect him by keeping him trapped inside- instead she must teach him to be brave and fight his own battles.
DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT:This film is based on my own personal story. Growing up, I was not only a feminine kid but also a boy with long eyelashes. This meant that many kids made fun of me. Feeling powerless, my solution, as a 12 year old was to try cut off all my eyelashes. My mom discovered me trying to do so, and forbid me to ever do it again. Desperate, I even tried to blow massive bubblegum bub- bles, in the hope that I would get bubble gum stuck on my eyelashes so that she could then cut them off for me.
I have now grown up confidently to become a boy that likes other boys. But coming out (especially in Eastern Europe) is a hard thing for anyone. Like many who had difficulty coming out, I went through fear, anger, humiliation, self-doubt and even suicidal moments. Now, I can say that I am very proud of who I am, as well as for the strength I needed to overcome these obstacles. So much of my strength is due to the people who loved me and supported me. As a filmmaker, I wanted to explore my coming out story through the perspective of one those people, who watched and supported me through it.
So many coming out stories has been told through the eyes of those directly going through it, however, especially while dealing with it, we forget that other people can be influenced by these changes. So, I called one of them, the closest one – my mom! She told me she has and would unconditionally accept who I was, but her first reaction when I came out to her was: “Fear! I worried someone would beat you up, Sasa. People can be mean. I just wanted to protect you and not see you get hurt.”
Yes. Fear, irrespective of its source, is a big challenge to all of us. For me, fear for my beautiful and naive niece (to let her go outside, where someone will break her heart), fear for my script (locking it, even if it is not perfect), fear of what others will think … fear of letting go. And to do that – sometimes you just need to close your eyes.