I have always viewed movies as a doorway to places I have yet to experience. It was where I could see a different world from the one I grew up in. A chance to challenge the views I was taught. They became my escape from the reality I was forced to live in and could be someone else for a short amount of time.
This carried into my adult life and after coming out. Seeing gay movies allowed me to witness a world that seemed so far away from the rural setting that caged me. The one downside to all of the queer films I watched was that they seem to always cater to only white men. Hollywood seems to turn away from movies that deal with People of Color. Thankfully, we have independent filmmakers to help fill a much-needed void. That is why I am privileged to bring you Love The One You’re With by Sampson McCormick.
I realize that there are many local LGBTQ films to watch during Cleveland International Film Festival, but I thought I would add one more to your list.
Sampson McCormick is a black queer award-winning comedian, writer, and filmmaker. His work has been featured at Harvard University and The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Sampson is also the first black queer comedian to headline a show for three consecutive years at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
In his current film, Love The One You’re With, Samson takes a unique approach to relationship and dating in a very honest way while still portraying true and authentic narratives of black queer men. This is the third film written and executive produced by Sampson McCormick.
In the new dramatic comedy “Love The One You’re With”, (2021, run time: 64 minutes) the third, written and executive produced by award-winning black queer comedy pioneer, writer, and filmmaker Sampson McCormick, whose work has been featured at Harvard University, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and even as the first, black queer comedian to headline a show for three consecutive years at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, not only does McCormick approach the topic of relationships and dating in a raw and honest way, but stays true to his dedication to authentic narratives of black queer men, tackling issues related to the community that affect our dating lives, such as self-esteem, coming out, drug use, not communicating honestly, the reality of interference from social media in relationships, and in some cases overlooking those who are right in front of us who could offer possibilities of romance.
Love The One You’re With
“In a dating climate where ghosting, polyamory, and everyone in search of the next best thing is beyond the norm, it goes without saying that for any hopeless romantic, prospects for a successful dating life seem slim to none. Even for those in long-term, “monogamous relationships”, the currents of temptation are certain to rock the boats of perhaps even the sturdiest of relationships. What it all ultimately boils down to, is knowing what you want, being honest, and embracing the possibility of heartbreak.”
The movie opens up to six years ago when Miles(Donnie Hue Frazier) and Avery’s (Anthony Bawn) relationship was first starting. You see how in love they are and how new the relationship is. Slowly the movie progresses to the present where we see that a lack of communication has caused a rift in their relationship. We see that both have become fed up with where their relationship has ended up and are looking for the next best thing.
This movie also briefly touches on the social dynamic of neighborhood gentrification and how it affects people of color owned businesses. This is where we meet Renee (Sampson McCormick), Mile’s best friend. Renee is the friend we all have that is very blunt and to the point. Renee is the stalwart friend who tries to point out the positives of what Miles and Avery have while also allowing Miles to learn his own lessons along his journey.
The movie culminates when Miles, Avery, and their side piece all meet at a party held in honor of Avery’s mother. The movie takes a light-hearted approach to discuss topics like ghosting, infidelity, self-esteem, coming out, lack of communication, and evolving ideas of relationships.
What Are You Waiting For
You really need to check out Love The One You’re With. It is guaranteed to give you a few laughs in the still stressful world we are living in. Remember to support independent film, this is the one true place where any minority can be center stage. It’s a place where we can see what is closer to our existence on the silver screen. Keep creativity flowing by following and supporting local and independent filmmakers everywhere.