Huffpost Gay Voices

'Natives,' Jeremy Hersh Short Film, Explores Queer Cultural Appropriation

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What it means to embody a queer identity is different for every individual, as that identity always involves a compilation of many different, intersecting parts and personal experiences from one's life.

Queerness is also understood differently in varying cultural contexts and this is the foundation for a new short film "Natives," from filmmaker Jeremy Hersh. Following the experiences of a lesbian couple as they visit one of the woman's Native American parents, the plot heavily centers around an attempt by the other woman in the pair to connect with her partner's parents through her understanding of "two spirit" Native American identity and feminist theory.

"The film is my exploration of the concept of a 'white gaze,' asking if it's something that can be escaped by having good intentions," Hersh told The Huffington Post. "...It was also important to me that it's a queer story, because though we rarely see complicated queer protagonists in film, appropriation is something that can be seen just as commonly in queer communities as in heterosexual communities... I want to tell universal stories but I believe in attaining universality through specificity. Regardless of cultural differences in a couple, anyone can feel that their partner is with them for superficial reasons."

Though "Natives" currently exists as a freestanding short, Hersh is in the process of working on a feature script based on it. Check out the film above and if you're interested in the future of "Natives" and receiving updates about the project, head here to sign up for the mailing list.

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