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‘First Girl I Loved’ Charts Two High Schoolers’ Coming Out

'First Girl I Loved' Charts Two High Schoolers' Coming Out

Here’s your daily dose of an indie film in progress — at the end of the week, you’ll have the chance to vote for your favorite. In the meantime: Is this a movie you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments.

First Girl I Loved

Tweetable Logline: A lesbian Latina high-schooler in Los Angeles falls in love with a young woman even deeper in the closet than she is.

Elevator Pitch: Anne Santos is comfortable with her social status — she’s a high school yearbook dork whose only friends are other yearbook dorks. She’s just as comfortable with her sexuality — she’s almost certain that she’s a lesbian, though she hasn’t kissed a girl or told anyone about it. Then she connects with Sasha Basanez, the pretty star athlete with the same secret. Anne knows she can’t stay in the closet any longer; what she doesn’t know is how to tell her clueless mother or her best friend, a guy who’s as in love with her as she is with Sasha.

Production Team: Writer/Director Kerem Sanga began collaborating with Ross Putman and Dave Hunter at USC, where they were all part of the MFA Writing for Screen and Television program. Together, they developed the screenplay that became Kerem’s debut feature, “The Young Kieslowski.” It premiered at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival, where it won the audience award for “Best Narrative Feature.” The film then went on to play the Bend, Mill Valley, Twin Cities, Chicago International, Woodstock, Leiden, Sonoma, Cleveland, and Reno/Taho Film Festivals. It won the audience award at the Cleveland International, Bend, and Mill Valley Film Festivals, and the Jury Award at the Sonoma International Film Festival.

With Kerem as a writer/director and Ross & Dave as producers, they founded PSH Collective, a production company focused on bringing unique points of view, fresh voices, and young talents to the screen. “First Girl I Loved” is their follow-up film, though they are also producing the punk-rock rom com “Dinner in America” and the female-driven comedy “Eskimo Sisters”, with Danny Leiner (“Harold and Kumar”) directing.

Seth Caplan is an award-winning producer known for producing the 2007 indie hit “In Search of a Midnight Kiss.” The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and sold to IFC, later winning the Cassavettes award at the Independent Spirit Awards. He has been actively producing indie film for the past decade, mostly recently the action thriller “The Well” and “The Young Kieslowski,” alongside Ross and Dave. Seth has been a fan of Kerem’s writing for years, having first noticed him while Kerem was still a student at UT-Austin.

Also returning from “The Young Kieslowski” are cinematographer Ricardo Diaz, editor Ryan Brown, and composer John Swihart.

About the film: I gravitate towards stories of youth in crisis. “The Young Kieslowski as about someone who didn’t want to be a parent but pretended like he did. “First Girl I Loved” tells the opposite story. Anne’s ready to be herself even if she is not ready to admit it.

I was inspired to write this film after reflecting on my sister’s coming out experience. Being gay is no longer “a difference to tolerate,” it simply is. It’s not about acceptance or rejection. It’s about love. And, as Anne will discover, before you love someone else, first you have to love yourself.

Current Status: Fundraising. Pre-production.

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