The short Muy Gay Too Mexicano tells the story of JD (Abel Benitez) and his roommates Juan (Juan Sanchez) and Daniel (Casey Thibodaux) helping him with a third date with Owen (Collin Riley). Very quickly we find out that his roommates are personified as his “Mexican” side, represented by Juan, and his “Gay” side, represented by Daniel.
Identities are so complex and multi-faceted, we have tons of stories wherein the main character has to face different inner personalities. And while many of these stories are universal, easily understood by most, sometimes you get a story that comes along that feels so finely crafted and personal that you can’t help but go, “I’m not the only one. Someone out there gets me!”
I think the creators of Muy Gay Too Mexicano have something special. They have an interesting yet simple story to tell. And most of all, it can appeal to a small and underrepresented demographic, the gay and the latiné.
JD’s two sides are constantly bickering amongst each other even when his date arrives. Daniel wants JD to embrace and express himself as a gay man. He wants him to be adventurous and wild much to the annoyance of the more reserved and culturally conscience “Mexican” Juan.
Such a collision is the source of most of the comedy. Juan and Daniel consistently clash. Daniel constantly flirts (one-sided! Mind you!), ogles JD’s date, questions his masculinity, and unapologetically points out his “feminine/gay” traits like their love for Meryl Streep and wanting to watch Mamma Mia. In another scene, Juan helps coach a very visibly anxious JD on a phone call from his Spanish-speaking parents, presumably because he’s not entirely open about his sexuality with his folks.
While Owen and JD have dinner, Owen asks him what part of Mexico is he from? And to save from having to explain his true hometown he just says, “Mexico City”, as he assumes it’ll just be easier for Owen to digest, instead of being proud to share that it’s actually, Cuernavaca. It’s during such a moment that we see that Daniel’s very much of the mind that pleasing his date and sacrificing his heritage is more important to get to a quicker sexy time. Juan is not pleased by this and reminds JD he should be honest.
When things do go as expected the morning after and Owen begins to explain he doesn’t want to continue seeing each other, it’s hilariously heartwarming to see Juan and Daniel so keen on defending JD. While Juan and Daniel accuse each other of being the reason why things didn’t work out between JD and Owen, the real reason is revealed to be Owen being entirely superficial over a thing that clearly JD can’t change.
As Owen leaves, we see two new characters, the inner combating sides of Owen’s personality. There’s Owen’s practical and caring side being disappointed over Owen treating JD in such a manner, especially when Owen’s been rejected himself. And there’s his other side, the one appearing to be somewhat of a fun-loving circuit gay who wants to continue being single and carefree, regardless of other people’s feelings.
The final scene showcased the importance of JD and his two sides being supportive of each other. JD’s going to be just fine.
I just— wow. I have so many comments. The representation is so refreshing. Writer Jorge Molina truly inserted himself into this short and the payoff just works. This short really shines a light on what many young and confused LGBTQ+ Latiné experience. I think of all the minorities out there who have had and still go through these exact scenarios, quieting our voices and presenting a version that’s easily digestible and favored by others. It’s exhausting and that’s exactly why such an issue should be addressed.
Speaking of Jorge Molina, I would like to take this moment to highlight a couple of his achievements. He’s staying active as a programmer in the Film Festival circuit in places like Outfits, Sundance Film Festival, and is now the Program Manager at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF).
You can also find him as the creator and showrunner of the award season murder mystery scripted podcast Just to Be Nominated. Finally, he’s also the co-founder and director of IMFest, an organization for and by young immigrant artists that shares and showcases their works and gets them connected in the larger Hollywood Community. Also, ABBA Gold is his muse.
Next up, we have Lorena Lourenco, who served as the Director of this short. She’s an award-winning director, writer, and producer from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her work has been screened and awarded at festivals internationally, inclusive LALIFF, Outfest, Inside Out, Out On Film, the Short Film Coroner at the Cannes Film Festival amongst others.
She’s worked in production for Tribeca and Sundance nominated documentaries as well as in scripted television for Netflix, HBO, and Amazon. You can find out more at lorenalourenco.com.
Carly Stevens produced this short film. She’s currently working in talent management. She’s produced a number of short films and has continued her acting education at Upright Citizen’s Brigade and Anthony Meindl’s Actors Workshop.
Natalia Moscoso, who directed Photography for Muy Gay Too Mexicano, is a freelance cinematographer based in LA. Moscoso graduated from Cal. State University, Northridge with a BA in Film and Television Arts. She’s worked on music videos, a feature film, and a bunch of short films.
The amalgamation of all this talent came together to produce Muy Gay Too Mexicano and I can’t help but recommend this little slice of a relatable queer story, especially because of what it means for visibility and representation in media. Well-written LGBTQ+ Latiné representation in media was also talked about in the recent Voces/Voices event.
Released last week, I highly recommend you watch Muy Gay Too Mexicano on HBO Max. And as for everyone who had a hand in being a part of this short film, thank you and I wish all of you only the best in your careers.
Author: Micah Carrillo
Micah is studying English and Digital Design. His love of geek culture spans across diverse mediums and genres. Comics, anime, films, you name it! He enjoys video games on the Nintendo Switch and Xbox.
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