Most societies are uncomfortable with pre-teens having knowledge of, or even curiousity about, sex and sexual desire, especially girls (though we're sexualized enough from an early age, but that's a story for another day). Recent feature films such as The Edge of Seventeen and Eighth Grade have done a great job of looking girls' navigation of sexual desire and how to manage it in a world that both condemns us if we feel it, and yet wants to use us at the same time. Director Amber Sealey (No Light and No Land Anywhere) explores the themes of a girl trying to figure it all out in the midst of her parent's divorce in the Sundace-selected short How Does It Start.
It's 1983 and 12-year-old Rain wants sex, the only problem is she has no idea what that means. With her self-absorbed parents distracted by their recent divorce, Rain is left alone to navigate the complexities of love and adulthoos, and learns to do it her own way.
At around this age, yes, girls do get curious: as Sealey points out, at this age, you are old enough to know that everyone older than you knows things you don't that they won't talk to you about, but you're too young to fully process what it all means and the maturity it takes to handle it all. It's both wonderous and frightening, and the film captures both that wonder and fear, along with the potent rise and fall and exploration of sexuality and knowledge.
How Does It Start premieres today in the Short 2 Program at Sundance (hopefully to more festivals nears you soon), and we've got the trailer below.