By Nosa Eke

18 March 2020 - 08:47

two teenage girls looking into each others eyes in a closet
'The first step of coming out, in my experience, is telling yourself.' Photo ©

Nosa Eke

Nosa Eke's short film, Something in the closet, tells the story of Maddie, a queer teenager struggling with her sexuality.

The main character doesn’t say that she is queer in the film – was that intentional?

Yes, that was definitely intentional! I wanted to show what it’s like to suddenly have to come to terms with something you hide in your own mind.

The first step of coming out, in my experience, is telling yourself. It’s a personal journey. 

There's a scene where the main character, Maddie, and her mum are on the swings, having a one-to-one. It seems like she is about to come out to her mum, but she doesn't. 

I wanted to include this scene to allude to the fact that she can’t tell her mum or anyone else because she hasn’t confronted what’s inside her.

What does the ‘monster’ in the closet represent?

It represents Maddie’s fears and wants, and maybe some of the shame that she feels. It is also the happiness and giddiness that she feels.

Her mixed emotions manifest themselves in that closet.

The 'monster' doesn’t just come from those moments where she’s terrified that she’s going to be found out by her friends. It also comes to life when she’s playing a game with her friend at the beginning of the film, and she is happy.

Teenage angst is a common theme in film. How is the perspective of teenage angst in this film different?

When I was growing up, I loved early Steven Spielberg movies like ET and Close Encounters. However, I didn't see queer people in those movies. 

I wanted to make a short film that was similar, but also had teenage characters who were battling with queerness and identity. 

How would you describe the relationship between the main character and her crush?

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It’s definitely a friendship, but friendships in adolescence can be complicated if you stand out. Kids that age don't want to stand out.

I think when you get older, you want to bask in your uniqueness. But when you’re younger, it’s hard to do that because you’re scared of being picked on. 

Maddie doesn't want to have the spotlight on her. But it is because of what she’s going through, and her friends finding out about her crush. 

Maddie's friend in the film knows that Maddie is going through something. She thinks she might be struggling with her sexuality but knows it’s not her place to bring it up. She provides her with understanding. 

I experienced that with coming out. In your own time, you’ll get around to telling people, once you’ve told yourself.

#FiveFilmsForFreedom, the world’s widest-reaching digital celebration of LGBTIQ+ themed film returns from 18 to 29 March 2020.