Now playing (until February 9, 2021) is the short documentary called Draw With Me.
I really messed up on this one! I wrote down that the film was going to be RELEASED on February 9, 2021. I was wrong! The film is available virtually at ArenaScreen through February 9, 2021. Ugh! I am so sorry about this. I really hope that people will be able to catch the film while it’s still playing.
Normally I write my own synopsis of films that I review. For the sake of time, I’ll just share details of the film from a press release.
Draw With Me is the story of talented teen artist, Brendon Scholl, who identifies as trans non-binary and whose art has been a vital outlet for self expression. From coming out as trans and consequently attempting suicide, to becoming an advocate…this intimate portrait of Brendon and their supportive family’s trials dives deep into what was endured and overcome in this heartwarming journey of acceptance.
“Talking about your identity as a person – sexual preference has to do with who you go to bed with, and your identity is who you go to bed as,” shares Brendon’s mother, Leslie Ann Lopez.
Draw With Me was created in partnership with The Trevor Project (the leading suicide prevention line for LGBTQ+ Youth) and powered by the Onassis Foundation. The film has had a wonderful impact on the LGBTQ+ movement having been presented at Tribeca Film Festival with the support of GLAAD, having been the subject of the first-ever panel at the United Nations on Transgender Health, and having screened at numerous high-schools in conjunction with the New York Department of Education. National Coming Out Day, October 11 2020, marked a milestone for the film when President Elect Joe Biden supported the LGBTQ+ movement in an award show that screened Draw With Me and honored Brendon with the Revry Visibility Award presented by Jennifer Lopez.
“The film is important and timely in its story and message, and can have a huge impact, ” says Jennifer Lopez in the film. “It’s a story that is very close to my heart, because it is a family affair. It’s about accepting change and challenges with love, and that knowing when we do, everything is possible.”
“Although I knew that telling this story came with a lot of responsibility, I felt ready and the family truly made me feel safe and comfortable in doing so,” shares Director, Constantine Venetopoulos. “The entire family joined as one in supporting Brendon and the film.. What I truly believe drew me to the story, though, was Bredon’s confidence in knowing who they were at such a young age, and being ready to use their experience as a tool for other youth who were struggling with their identity and coming out. I thought ‘I wish I had someone like Brendon to talk to when I was struggling in the closet as a kid.’
Brendon has expanded their artistry beyond drawings and painting, and is now a sophomore in college studying acting. An advocate for acceptance, Brendon’s message for all those whose family, friends or co-workers may be trans is simple and clear, “Believe us when we say who we are.”
I did have the opportunity to screen the film. I watched it a few weeks ago. In hindsight I should have written my review that night I watched it.
I cannot imagine what it would feel like to be in Brendon’s shoes. People might assume they would know how someone else is feeling, but you never truly know.
I don’t think I could be as strong as Brendon. I don’t think I would go so far as to try and take myself (which many young LGBTQ+ people do because they feel scared and/or unaccepted for who they are), but I think I would have buried my true self deep inside of me and lied about who I truly was. I’m glad that Brendon was true to himself.
I am a firm believer that art can help express how you are feeling. I took an art therapy class in college and I found it incredibly fascinating. I would love to do something like that (as a career), but I am not a good enough artist. I’m a doodler. To be an art therapist you would have to have some kind of talent. Perhaps Brendon could look into a career as an art therapist?
This film is only 24 minutes in length, but it does give you an in depth look into Brendon’s life, both past and present. I really like that the film makers caught up with Brendon today so that we can see how he is doing and what he’s been up to.
It doesn’t matter if you personally know someone who is LGBTQ+ or not. This film is a must see for everyone. It’s about acceptance and loving the person you truly are. That message resonates with everyone.
Be sure to check the film out by tomorrow (February 9, 2021) at ArenaScreen(<– linked to the free film).
Below is a teaser trailer for the film.
*I received a free screener link to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.