“illuminate” is a phenomenological short film that evokes the lived experience of being in the LGBTQ closet via poetic, sensual cinematography. This award-winning film is based on a phenomenological research study by clinical psychologist Dr. Nisha Gupta, who conducted in-depth interviews with five research participants about their lived experiences of being closeted about their non-heterosexual sexual orientations. All imagery in the film is derived from research participants’ descriptions of what being in the closet felt like for them personally. Research findings suggest that the closet is experienced as a traumatic loss of existential rights: the right to truth, freedom, love, hope, and power. "illuminate" uses symbolic cinematography to make visible the invisible psychic pain that the closet incites, to inspire LGBTQ people to keep fighting for our existential rights, and to instill compassion and hope among viewers.
Please view illuminatethecloset.com for more information about the filmmaking process, the sociopolitical trauma of the closet, and the mental health impact of existential rights.
Directed by Nisha Gupta. Cinematography by Joseph Carreno and Nisha Gupta. Starring Orlando Davis (lead). Supporting cast: L.H. Gonzalez, Monisha Schwartz, Isaiah Noreiga, Lee Lytle, Jacob Wasson, Mary-Beth Grimaldi, Matt Rich, and Hakim Fontaine. Music by Lesley Flanigan (permission granted to use music by artist).
A Phenomenological Film Collective production: pfcollective.com