Note: I recommend skipping this post if you haven’t yet seen “In the Hollow” and are planning to. Though I’ve intentionally tried to leave out specific details about elements of the film, I’ve also left the comments from someone who was with me unedited.
“In the Hollow” is a short documentary-narrative hybrid directed by Austin Bunn which is currently making its way around the festival circuit. The film, which combines traditional interviews with images of events past and events present, follows Claudia Brenner as she returns to Michaux State Forest for the first time since the shooting which wounded her and claimed the life of her then-girlfriend, Rebecca Wight. It additionally tells the story of how the crime and Brenner’s activism in the years that followed helped lead to the creation of the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990, the first piece of federal legislation to require the collection of data on acts of anti-gay violence.
Alice and I were both present at the premiere screening of “In the Hollow” in Toronto this past spring, and I recently took a group of people to see the film when it screened at the Dayton LGBT Film Festival. We never posted our thoughts about the film, though we highly recommended it and talked about it extensively among our inner circles. When I learned “In the Hollow” won the Audience Award for Best Short Film in Dayton, I wanted to share a bit not only about what I and my group thought of the film, but about what it was like to be in the audience in Dayton. The impact “In the Hollow” had on that audience was immediately seen and felt and absolutely clear from the opening scene, through its fifteen-minute run, until well after the film had ended and the next had started.