Scott De Buitléir travelled to Hackney Picturehouse Attic for the London premiere of Caris Rianne’s début LGBT feature film, DEMI.
Demi tells the story of Diana (Kerenza Qayum) whose boyfriend goes out of town to study at university, leaving her lonely and depressed. She regularly hangs out with her group of girlfriends, and is attending a local creative writing course.
It’s during her course that she meets Demi (Hannah Bury) a friendly and warm girl, who soon strikes up a friendship with Diana. Diana welcomes her new friendship, as it begins to take her mind off her boyfriend, Owen, who is increasingly difficult to contact on Skype or on his phone.
Soon, it becomes clear that Demi is bisexual, as she opens up to Diana about her experience of heartbreak, caused by both guys and girls.
When Demi decides to skip their college course for the day, she invites Diana to take the day off with her, and a day-long date between the two follows. Shortly afterwards, Diana finds herself confused; is Demi bringing out the real Diana, or is she looking for a distraction while Owen is away?
Demi is the first feature film from British filmmaker, Caris Rianne, who has successfully brought this project to life, thanks to a mixture of crowdfunding and her own funding. The writing is open-hearted, funny, and well-crafted, while the acting by all the cast is natural and engaging.
The theme of bisexuality, especially from a young adult’s perspective, is dealt with sharply by the story and the screenwriting; addressing Western society’s issues with biphobia, and making the audience realise (if they don’t know already) that not all is prejudice-free yet for bisexuals today.
The only area where this film is let down a little is in the sound editing and mixing. There are certain scenes during the film, where it is difficult to hear the dialogue over the music. Despite how lovely the soundtrack may be, it sadly distracts from some of the more intimate and special moments of the blossoming relationship between Diana and Demi.
Small audio issues aside, Demi is a powerful representation of a new generation of British LGBT film. If this is only her first LGBT feature film, Britain may need to pay more attention to what Caris does next.
The LGBT coming of age drama has been selected for the 2016 New Jersey Golden Door Film Festival as part of its LGBT strand. This marks the fourth film festival for the independent film, and its second US film festival selection, after reaching Florida Movie Festival earlier this year. With an estimated 12,500 attendees at the event for the past five years, Golden Door is the largest festival that Demi has been accepted into thus far.
The festival runs between October 22nd and 25th
For more information, visit:
(This review was first published in our September monthly issue of EILE Magazine, pages 26 – 27. To view, just click on the magazine cover icon on top post or sidebar).