Students host prom for release of new short film



Prom-goers dance the night away before the premiere of “Muff” short film at the Broadside Theater on Feb. 25. The film aims to showcase “authenticity” in queer cinema. Maleigh Crespo/The Maroon

Mia Oliva, Reviews Editor

This past summer, digital filmmaking sophomores Oliver Parker and Quinn Young collaborated to generate a concept for their script-to-screen class. In approximately four days, “Muff” was born. 

Parker and Young premiered their film on Feb. 25 at the Broadside Theater. The premiere was prom-themed and showcased several Loyola musicians, such as music industry sophomore Evan “Chimney” Michell, who wrote and performed the score for “Muff.” 

“We really wanted to make sure Evan’s work didn’t go unrecognized. They made all this really great music for the film, but you barely hear half of it, so a big event with live music where they’d perform the whole soundtrack just made sense. Quinn and I both love getting fancy so we took the prom thing and ran with it,” Parker said.

The duo said their goal was to create something that’s been lacking in queer cinema for quite some time now: authenticity. Drawing inspiration from the melancholic pining of Gus van Sant’s “My Own Private Idaho” and the transgressive revulsion of Harmony Korine’s “Gummo,” Parker and Young pieced together what they consider a love letter to unconventional queer cinema. 

“For me, ‘Muff’ is everything that I miss about the independent cinema boom of the 90’s. It’s raunchy, it’s raw, it’s an honest story from people who care about cinema, and it’s for queer people that cannot and will not assimilate,” Parker said. “Virtually all the movies we’re force-fed now are so sterilized and contrived and just fake, and I don’t want to see it. I don’t care if the representation is good. I want to see the people I love on screen. I want to see myself on the screen. I want bad gays and weird gays and evil gays, as long as it’s honest. If you want a real story, to see something earnest, ‘Muff’ is for you.”

“Muff” is the first independent film both Parker and Young have made. 

“The ‘Muff’ marketing campaign and the people behind it are at the top of their game,” said digital filmmaking professor Miles Doleac.

Granted the permission to hand select film friends and peers for their crew, shooting for “Muff” was completed in three days.

“It was so stressful but so fun planning every little bit of how we’d shoot, edit, make everything look. We also got so incredibly lucky with such an amazing crew I can’t thank enough,” Young said. “Everyone involved has been so, so wonderful and helpful, and I can’t imagine the process having gone smoother.”

While it was first brought up as a joke concept, Parker and Young ultimately decided a prom-themed premiere for their film would be fitting, as many queer individuals didn’t have an ideal prom experience back in high school, said Parker. 

“You can do it right this time at ‘Muff’ prom,” Parker said. 

The pair submitted “Muff” to ten different film festivals and the anticipation of other communities apart from Loyola watching their work thrills them beyond imagination. 

“It’s so important to us that what we make is genuine and exciting. We recognized from the beginning that we would only ever make movies we wanted to watch,” Young said. “’Muff’ is just so much, it’s been hard to describe it to anyone. I hope the mystery of it is as alluring as I want it to be.”