This film explores being queer and in love in the Bible Belt

This new series follows Sarah and Bri, finding their way together while pitted against the conservative traditions of American society as young lesbians

Film DirectionMichael CarterExecutive ProducerAG RojasExecutive ProducerVincent Haycock

When you’re young and in love, it can feel like the purest state of living imaginable. Nothing can infiltrate your bubble: but for Sarah and Bri, a young lesbian couple from Nashville, Tennessee, they’re at odds not just with lingering family disapproval, but wider society.

As part of our brand new True Love series produced by MAINLINE, we follow Sarah and Bri as they discuss the first time they met, their burgeoning sexuality and the mixed reactions from their local community. Sarah wrote her father a coming out letter at 15, which he and the rest of her family wholly accepted. Bri’s family were not as welcoming.

The couple communicated with secret phones and via binoculars, sneaking stolen moments together away from the eyes of Bri’s parents who couldn’t comprehend their daughter’s sexuality and relationship.

Bri’s family caught the pair during one of these visits, and attempted to have Sarah arrested for statutory rape. “We beat the law by ten days,” says Sarah. “I would have went to jail if I had been any older the day her mother called the police on me. The cops basically laughed at her and said, ‘you’re tripping ‘cos your daughter’s gay, it’s not a crisis’.”

AG Rojas and Vincent Haycock, the executive producers of the series, allude to the “visual playfulness” of this first episode. Light, dreamy piano music and fireworks permeate the soundtrack, along with the booming voices that echo in the mega-church. The family barbeque scene at Sarah's house illustrates the warm and welcoming atmosphere that surrounds the couple; a safe space where they are comfortable enough to be themselves.

“I think the playfulness in ‘Sarah & Bri’ comes from the little kid, Sami, getting his head shaved and walking around. I didn’t even know he was going to be there when we shot,” says director Michael Carter. “There’s more traditional direct cinema documentary there as opposed to the written visuals of that episode. Like Bri’s family being represented by a mega-church.”

This first episode highlights the class, religious and societal pressures placed on the two women, as a queer couple in a working class area of Nashville. Elise Tyler, the producer of the film, explains. “I think that so many sociopolitical issues emerged in the stories. Each of our subjects has been personally affected by larger national issues”, she says. “There is a war on poor people in this country, and it is frightening. It is not something we addressed directly, but I think the air of each episode alludes to the struggles so many Americans currently face.”

Stay tuned for episodes two and three, coming soon to Dazed