Tello Films is bringing a queer holiday to our screens this season with a focus on three female/female romances. Season of Love, written by Kathryn Trammel, who was the winner of the Queer Holiday Pitch contest according to the fully funded Indiegogo page. Brought to you by Tello Films and Dash Productions, ClexaCon attendees may recognize some familiar faces in the credits as well as making brief appearances in the background of a festive party. Directed by Christin Baker, co-founder of Tello, and produced by Ashley Arnold and Danielle Jablonski, this film showcases characters that are left out of typical holiday stories.
Season of Love opens with a wedding about to happen and a brewery about to be opened. Lou, played by Jessica Clark, is having a rough start to her day as she tries to get out the door to a wedding where she is part of the wedding party. In her rush we also learn she needs a welder for her new brewery and her neighbors, who she assumes are a very rude heterosexual couple, are making everything worse. Once she gets to the wedding we watch as Iris, Emily Goss, is left at the alter. Her wedding dreams are crushed as her husband to be leaves with no word, though he does send his sister, Mardou, Laur Allen, to deal with the fall out. With instructions to watch out for Iris, Mardou winds up spending multiple nights at her house. This is where our third couple slowly emerges. While we have seen Dominique Provost- Chalkley on the screen briefly, we do not learn that she is a woman named Sue, who is the long time on and off girlfriend of Iris’ cousin Janey, Janelle Marie, until later on.
Janey has been in the military and is now finally being stationed back in her hometown, where Sue lives and takes care of her mother. The two have had some issues, but Janey wants to propose. An issue though is that Sue is coping with a level of anxiety that her girlfriend doesn’t understand that we see brought to head in connection to her fear of singing in public. We do get to hear Provost-Chalkley sing so don’t worry Earpers, though you may want to keep in mind that this couple receives the least amount of screen time. While Iris and Mardou are vital to all the plots being connected, I would argue that Lou and welder love interest Kenna become the focus of the story. This may be swayed in my mind solely because I found Sandra Mae Frank, who plays Kenna, and her platonic, gay, male roommate, yep Lou totally guessed wrong on that front, to be a delight on screen. Kenna is a deaf character, who happens to be the last minute welder brought in to help with the opening of Lou’s brewery. I will note that I was totally getting The L Word vibes from this pairing, but I leave that up to other viewers. When Lou does begin actively trying to date Kenna the two have a lot of humor in their scenes. For those who are curious, there are some subtitles in primarily signed scenes, but not for all scenes. When Kenna’s friend translates for others he typically acts as the avenue for the viewer to understand what is being said.
In the Iris and Mardou story we see Mardou trying to help Iris through an unexpected break-up, which I should note does occur very close to Christmas. The movie is set a few days before Christmas and ends on New Year’s Eve, though I personally could see the movie working even without the holiday tie in element. I do appreciate the inclusion in that it allows queer women to in some ways see themselves portrayed in a holiday film, which is exceptionally rare. While I have not yet seen it, I did hear that Netflix has included a queer storyline in their recent film Let It Snow, but that’s all I’ve heard about any other even vaguely queer connected holiday representation. Mardou and Iris are sweet together and through their time together Iris embraces something about herself, which comes to a head later on in the film.
Overall Season of Love does provide multiple queer storylines and tie in with the holiday season in a way that no other film I’ve seen has ever done before. There are hints of Love Actually, which I appreciated, and I could see people being drawn to watch this movie multiple times. I was entertained, though I do wish that there had been a bit more variation in the women presented. There are women of color and the inclusion of a deaf character in a lead role, choices which I definitely applaud, but I just wish we’d had someone who was less femme presenting. I think the movie does a strong job of advancing queer stories and is part of a movement to bring better representation to our screens. You can find details about screenings or pre-order your copy of the movie on the Season of Love website.