Short film ‘Only Trumpets’ is a rally cry against toxic masculinity and a celebration of male femininity

Directed by Tristan Scott-Behrends, the award-winning short film ‘Only Trumpets’ makes its online premiere today.

‘Only Trumpets’ first premiered at the 2018 Outfest Film Festival, where it was highlighted by many as being one of the highlights of the festival’s programme.

The film follows Tristan (played by Xavier Jimenez March) as he looks for fulfilment through dating apps and casual sexual encounters. A glance across the bar leads to an evening of passion with an unnamed angelic equal played by rising star musician and artist Daniel Crook.

Director Scott-Behrends says: “This film is the manifestation of a commitment to myself to keep my heart open to the possibilities the world has to offer and serves as a reminder that love does not have to be lasting to be genuine and affecting.”

It’s time to present feminine or gender non-conforming men “in situations where they are depicted as deserving of love and sexually desirable”

“It occurred to me that if we are going to shift the way we treat each other and ourselves in efforts to overcome internalized homophobia and misogyny, our creative culture must start offering imagery where feminine-presenting or gender non-conforming men are presented in situations where they are depicted as deserving of love and sexually desirable,” director Scott-Behrends says.

The film is sensitive in its approach, leading with narration from Tristan. Outside of narration, Tristan is a quiet soul however that’s not to say we never understand where he’s coming from. His emotions, thoughts, feelings are all conveyed through beautiful imagery, ethereal soundscapes or breathtaking choreography and cinematography. We don’t need him to say anything as we already know. We’ve been there before.

At its heart, ‘Only Trumpets’ is a wake-up call – for both Tristan and the faithful viewer. It’s a lesson of realising that the ‘you’ that you want to be is your most authentic self. If putting on make-up, experimenting sexually, or skipping the tropes of toxic masculinity is your shtick, then you do you. Embrace it. Love it. Discover it.

“In the age of digital dating, we are all susceptible to curating our romantic partners as one would decorate a house”

In fact, it’s that exact world of toxic masculinity, often presented by and for gay men, that was Scott-Behrends’ creative inspiration for the short film. “My sexual and romantic options in the world vary based on the degree of “femininity” or “flamboyance” I present,” he says. “In thinly veiled words, I have been told by multiple potential suitors that my sartorial choices make me unworthy of their affection.

“In the age of digital dating, we are all susceptible to curating our romantic partners as one would decorate a house or plate a meal — in order to fit the projection of our social media personalities. There’s no room for nuance or fluidity; we are two-dimensional caricatures of ourselves and we seek the same in potential mates.”

Taking on the lead role of Tristan is Xavier Jimenez. An artist, actor, dancer, and self-proclaimed sound spelunker, Jimenez was recently nominated for Best Actor in a Feature Film at the MethodFest Film Festival for his feature film debut in ‘Zooey’.

Xavier Jimenez in the role of Tristan. (Photo credit: Carter Quick)
Xavier Jimenez in the role of Tristan. (Photo credit: Carter Quick)

Meanwhile, co-star Daniel Crook is a conceptual painter and sound artist based in Los Angeles California. With his formal works, Daniel intends to portray a person at their most vulnerable and least confrontational.

‘Only Trumpets’ is written and directed by Tristan Scott-Behrends and produced by Rhianon Jones and Luka Fisher. The cinematography is by Kelsey Talton.

Daniel Crook previously worked with producer Luka Fisher on ‘Precious Stones’, a visual project that premiered last year on i-D. The film documents Crook’s painting alongside his unique process of “masculinity reprogramming”.

“I’ve seen so many men suffer from the narrow and repressive form of masculinity they impose on themselves,” Crook said at the time. “There’s so much jealousy, insecurity, and unworthiness beneath the veneer of the strong, powerful male archetype.

“By ‘reprogramming’ masculinity, I’m attempting to rewire the neural pathways that lead to those kinds of oppression and replace them with empathy, sexual awareness and tenderness towards the self and others.”

You can watch ‘Only Trumpets’ below.

Only Trumpets (NSFW) dir. Tristan Scott-Behrends from Tristan Scott-Behrends on Vimeo.

Written by QWEERIST editor

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