Billy Porter’s directorial debut, the movie “Something’s Potential,” explores the lifetime of Kelsa (Eva Reign), a high-school senior who loves animals, plans on going to school to check nature cinematography, and harbors a crush on Khal (Abubakr Ali), the lovable, virtually preternaturally form boy in her artwork class. She can be transgender and spends her evenings making movies about her experiences navigating highschool.
Adhering to the blueprint of a standard rom-com, the film follows Kelsa and Khal’s relationship, starting — in Gen Z vogue — with a Reddit put up Khal makes expressing the nervousness and pleasure he feels about asking out his classmate. Regardless of some drama, they finally get collectively, and the film traces their romance because it blossoms by means of broken friendships and the looming query of postgraduation life. Peppered all through with shiny neon hues and attention-grabbing animal movies, the movie — which premiered on July 15 at Outfest — is exclusive for the methods it authentically incorporates social media, and for its refusal to align with stereotypes. As a substitute, it presents a imaginative and prescient of a world the place being trans is — if not seamlessly accepted by everybody — supported and even celebrated.
Porter is greatest identified for his work on “Pose,” a present that explores New York’s ballroom scene within the Nineteen Eighties and ’90s. The collection broke floor in some ways, centering the experiences of Black and brown queer and trans folks and unearthing a powerful story within the course of. However whereas “Pose” was a glance again on the previous — and infrequently an unflinching one, exploring ache and wrestle alongside the ecstatic glamour of the ballroom scene — “Something’s Potential” is eyeing a possible future.
“Billy needed this movie to be one thing devoid of trauma,” Reign instructed POPSUGAR previous to the movie’s launch. “He additionally all the time gave me a lot freedom to simply play with Kelsa,” she added. “Something’s Potential” would not draw back from the complexities and nuances of being trans, although. Nonetheless, it incorporates a very optimistic parent-child relationship between Reign and her mother, performed by Renée Elise Goldsberry, and Kelsa is resplendently assured, fashionable, and full of massive goals. Primarily based on Porter’s course, “I actually began every thing with pleasure,” Reign stated, and it reveals.
For Porter, whereas pleasure was on the heart of his objectives by way of the movie’s general message, he didn’t take the duty at hand flippantly. “Being behind the digicam, there’s an urgency within the sense of — I’m on the helm of making an area for the communities that haven’t been seen,” Porter tells POPSUGAR. “And that’s very highly effective.”
The film felt virtually like an inevitability to him, a pure subsequent step within the profession trajectory of somebody who has lengthy pushed on the limits of what is perceived to be doable just by being himself, absolutely and with out apology. “The challenge selected me,” he says, “primarily based on the alternatives and selections I’ve made in my life to decide on my very own authenticity. So this was a pure outgrowth of that.”
With “Something’s Potential,” Porter has created a blueprint for what queer cinema can appear like when it would not heart on trauma but in addition would not erase the nuances — and the creativity and the chances — of queerness. In a 2021 interview with The New York Instances, Porter talked about his sense of accountability to Hollywood and his understanding that he’s on the forefront of that change. “Everyone who comes behind me and who’s with me, we’re holding Hollywood’s toes to the fireplace,” he stated to the outlet. “We’re holding the world’s toes to the fireplace in each space. We’ve to be answerable for that. We will not await different folks to do something for us.” “Something’s Potential” is at present streaming on Prime Video.