View the trailer for Pariah, a film about 17-year-old 'butch' lesbian Alike discovering her sexuality, much to the chagrin of her conservative, Christian family (I've gained a newfound respect for Kim Wayan's acting ability after viewing this). In an interview with BlackEnterprise.com, director Dee Rees said Alike's story mirrors her own.
"As I was coming into my sexuality, I started to become comfortable with who I was. But I didn’t know how to express that," says the 34-year-old filmmaker. "Some of the awe and anxiety the lead character feels were things I experienced when I was coming out, coming into this world," she said.
Rees admits the principal conflicts in the film are similar to her own. "Parental conflict is something I really went through," she says. "When I came out, my parents weren’t accepting ... For a few months, they sent emails, cards, letters and Bible verses to make me change," she says. She cut off communication, alienating herself, but eventually started talking to them again. "Things are better now."
The film, originally a short, was developed into a full-length feature and debuted at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. The film is set to premiere nationwide January 2012.