What happens when a 32-year-old woman from Paris currently living in Los Angeles agrees to go on a date with a clown? That's what "Annabelle Is Down To Clown," a poignant new short film by Home Office Productions, "a 100 percent home-made and 100 percent female-produced" company, aims to find out.
The premise of the clip, directed by Tessa Rapaczynski, is deceptively simple: girl meets clown, girl has lunch with clown, girl explains her feelings about having lunch with clown. However, B-Rad, 34, is no ordinary clown. He identifies as "bisexual," "queer" and a "faggot" and by the end of the four-and-a-half-minute film, it's clear that Annabelle has gotten more from the date than just a meal and some pleasant conversation.
"I couldn't care less that he was wearing makeup -- that's really not what it's about," Annabelle says. "I'm sad that I was hiding -- I'm sad that I'm in hiding. You look at the clown and you see yourself, you know?"
The Huffington Post chatted with "Annabelle Is Down To Clown" producer Emily Rutan to find out how the film -- which includes an inside look at outsider culture and a powerful meditation on identity -- came into existence, what happened to Annabelle and B-Rad after the filming stopped and what she hopes viewers take away from the video.
The Huffington Post: How did the idea for the film come about?
Emily Rutan: Our friend Annabelle was actually intending to go on that date in all seriousness. She told us about it and we were like, 'OK, I think we need to look at this situation from all angles -- literally.' She was hesitant at first to let us film something that personal, but in the end we convinced her that it was a win/win.
What do you hope viewers take away from the film?
Everyone is a human being, clown or otherwise. The connections we are seeking, romantic or not, involve looking beyond the superficial, and being open to things that may push you beyond what you are comfortable with.
What happened after you stopped filming?
Annabelle and B-Rad are not going to fall in love and have a cute nuclear family, that's for sure. But the day affected Annabelle pretty deeply. I think she realized that she has a lot of patterns to work through, in general and in relationships. The fact that B-Rad was so open about who he was forced Annabelle to take a closer look in the mirror and reckon with who she really is. "You look at the clown and you see yourself," as Annabelle perfectly put it.
It was really interesting to spend the day with B-Rad -- and to see the way that he relates not only to the world but how people relate to him. His comfort with himself, and his unfailing politeness made everyone around him reevaluate our own assumptions about people who may not fit into a mainstream model of "normalcy."
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