What We Are All About
The internal struggle one faces when finding themselves both religious and homosexual is daunting for most. It most certainly is for Mia Ferrera, a high school senior who has hidden her sexuality from her overbearing Christian mother and extremely religious community. Right before she is set to graduate, however, Mia finds she can no longer lie about who she is and outs herself to her mother and best friend, Julie. The fears that made her hide her true identity for so many years become reality – her mother and community shame her, her best friend acts like she does not even exist anymore, and her faith in God is shaken to its core. Mia now must navigate the ever-changing path of becoming one’s true self with the help of Gina, another gay girl at school. Together, they find that, while coming out is hard to do, it is worth it, regardless of whatever you may lose by doing so.
The story of I Will Become Me is one that any person who identifies as LGBTQ+ will be able to understand and relate to, even if they never had religion in their lives. While Mia is her own unique person, the trials and tribulations she faces are variations of ones that every single gay or transgendered person will have to face at some point, especially if they identify with a religion. Mia has spent her whole life in the Christian church. She has heard every single hateful verse and sermon that could be thrown at the gay community. Her quiet and obedient nature stems from years of trauma and fear that she was a sinner destined for Hell for something she could not help, no matter how hard she tried to bury it. While she loves God, she does not understand why He does not love her back, and it kills her inside.
With the story taking place in the Central Valley in 2008, the context for just how much those in the gay community faced coming out in the 21st century is on full display. This was the year of Prop 8 – the law that would ban same sex marriage in California. Mia is constantly bombarded with reminders of how much her conservative, religious town is against her, with Yes on Prop 8 signs and commercials everywhere she turns, especially in her own home. Her church discusses how to keep marriage pure every Sunday, and her mother makes sure that Mia knows how against gay rights she is. The only solace she can find is with Gina, a gay girl at her high school who brings Mia to the LGBTQ+ club and introduces her to other teens who have gone through what she is going through. With Gina’s help, Mia slowly starts to free herself from the bindings of guilt and punishment that had been placed on her since birth. She finds that religion can be a beautiful and personal experience, and that the God she was presented with by her church does not have to be the God she believes in.
The crew for I Will Become Me is filled with filmmakers who identify or know someone who identifies as LGBTQ+ in one way or another, including myself. All of us immediately identified with the themes and ideals that are presented in the story. We all discussed what our lives growing up were like discovering our sexualities, and these personal experiences were written in to the film to make it as realistic as possible. As filmmakers, we have an unprecedented ability to provide representation and truth to a global audience. That is the goal of this film – not to shame those with religious beliefs, or to play into gay stereotypes or best friend tropes. Rather, this is meant to be a catalyst into bringing more natural, realistic gay representation into the mainstream. Through apt visuals, creative camerawork, stellar production design, and the blood, sweat and tears of our cast and crew, we will be able to create something that is not only a strong tale of coming out, but a strong tale of family, love, and learning to unapologetically be oneself.