Sundance always sees a few LGBTQ film projects on the rise. Many of which, later become big names like Moonlight, God’s Own Country, or Call Me By Your Name.
The specific project is a series called This Close. This Close actually aired at Sundance last year through the festival’s Short Form Episodic Showcase. Then, the series was celebrated so much that Sundance itself decided to back an expansion, which is being viewed this year.
The story follows two best friends named Kate and Michael and stars series creators Shoshannah Stern and Josh Feldman respectively.
The two main characters are deaf, but they don’t let that get in the way of engaging with live. The two join together to explore their late 20s and early 30s as Kate embraces her new engagement and Michael deals with his failed one.
Back in November, when Sudance Now gave its first straight-to-series order for This Close, they talked to Deadline to share their excitement.
“When Sundance Now made the decision this past spring to forge into originals, we had two goals in mind,” said Jan Diedrichsen, General Manager of SundanceTV and Sundance Now. “The first was to extend the Sundance legacy by uncovering storytellers and auteurs who had a distinctive vision. The second was to find talent that would truly connect with our engaged audience on Sundance Now. With ‘This Close,’ we’ve completely hit the mark on both fronts. We knew we had something special when we discovered Shoshannah and Josh’s work at the Sundance Film Festival. They are masterful storytellers and terrific actors, and this narrative, both charming and relatable, is the perfect fit for our service.”
And why are we talking about this series here on Instinct, because Michael is not only deaf but he’s gay. This is an intersection rarely explored in entertainment media.
“We realized that we should write something that’s very ‘us.’ Something we know best: friendship between a woman and a gay man,” said Feldman to Out.
Feldman also says that this series will be a true depiction of what it’s like to be deaf.
“Most deaf characters in other shows speak because it’s easier for hearing audiences to access the dialogue,” Feldman explains. “I don’t speak at all. So when I meet a hearing person, they expect me to speak for myself because that’s what they’ve seen on TV.”
But being deaf isn’t the only part of Michael’s story. Feldman wants to present Michael’s experience in as a dynamic and true way as possible.
“During my twenties, the periods of biggest personal growth happened after breakups,” he says. “And that includes bad decisions. I wanted him to make those because eventually they lead to growth but not for a while.”
He continues, “Our goal was to make sure that the biggest moments in the show were done in sign language because in our lives, our biggest moments are in sign language.”
If you are interested in this series, it will be available for streaming through Sundance’s new Sundance Now program. This Close will be available to watch on February 14th.