Director Lloyd Eyre-Morgan acclaimed short film Closets was awarded the Prize for Best British Short at the Iris Prize over the weekend. Representing the Best British Jury Craig Ford said: “Closets is a clever, original concept. Time travel, teen issues, great performances”.
The film highlights the very real issue of self-harming amongst gay teens. "I wanted to make something that was accessible to younger LGBT youths, rather than a lot of LGBT cinema which is aimed at adults,” says the film's director, Lloyd Eyre-Morgan.
The film has pulled together an impressive cast. Julie Hesmondhalgh (Coronation Street, Cucumber) plays the mother of Ben (Ceallach Spellman, also last seen in Cucumber), a teenager struggling to come to terms with his sexuality. Life takes a strange turn when 16 year-old Henry (Tommy Knight) is mysteriously transported from the same bedroom in 1986 directly into Ben’s world 30 years into the future, literally stepping out of the closet into his room. Born decades apart, Ben and Henry act as a lifeline for each other in the face of homophobic bullying. While there have been huge leaps forward in gay rights during the 30 years between them, life for gay teens hasn’t improved all that much.
Despite numerous representations of gay life in the mainstream media today and access to other LGBT lives via Facebook and Twitter, a lot of young people are still being raised in homophobic environments. Changes in the law may have brought us closer to equality, but it seems society’s acceptance is still a work in progress with many kids as isolated and alone today as they were three decades ago.
Lloyd, 26, grew up in Marple in Stockport, Greater Manchester. “When I was young I didn’t know any other gay people, and I didn’t really know what being gay was because no one was talking about it to me. I didn’t have any examples around me in which other people were gay, and it was never talked about at school either.”
While he didn’t get bullied for being gay in school, like the characters in Closets he did suppress his feelings. “I just thought, ‘OK well I’ll just ignore this and see if it goes away and I’ll get girlfriends’. And obviously it didn’t because it’s not a choice, so in my head I was like ‘what is this?’”
He identifies the invisibility that young LGBT people feel in school as a major problem. “I think about the kids in school who are struggling with their sexuality, and I think that it really is going to push them back even more when it’s not even discussed.”
Lloyd says the self-harming statistics that Stonewall released are unnerving and he’s hoping Closets will do its bit to spark discussion on the issue. “I want to get it out there because I don’t think a lot of people know about those statistics; I’d love to get this film into schools and screened to a young audience.”
“Growing up is so hard anyway, and when you’ve got your sexuality on top of it, I just think it can be a really confusing time. I want to show them that they’re not alone, there are other people going through this, it really will be OK in the end, and it will get better.”
Check out the film's trailer and an Attitude-exclusive clip below:
Closets Attiude Magazine Clip
from Lloyd Eyre-Morgan
from Lloyd Eyre-Morgan