Short LGBTQ+ Films: Phil Cheng (2015)


In early 2018 Alan Sanchez (2015) and I came across a short film festival brief that asked us to share how we celebrate. We both really had to have a think about what in our lives we considered exciting enough for celebration. It had honestly been a challenging year for the both of us. 

In my free time I’d taken up baking to further explore my love of carbs, but also because I believe a deep subconscious part of me needed the satisfying precision of something as scientific as baking. I thought of this guy who put his heart into making a cake but still managed to find a way to screw it up; but he had someone there to help him find a reason to celebrate the imperfect cake anyway. In the midst of our down moments we really ended up leaning on the other as a confidant and cheerleader. It felt obvious to cast the leads as two gay men simply because thats how we identify, but on a broader scale we also felt the importance and weight of telling a universal narrative with a couple that happened to be gay.


Created in collaboration with Animator Allen Martsch, Bittersweet was selected as the Pride 2018 feature digital short for Frameline, the country’s largest LGBT film festival. When creating it, Allen said “I wanted to make something I could have used growing up, something for the queer kid who was searching for context.” Animation's core audience is often youth, which means it has a responsibility to be mindful of the types of people and imagery it shares. Bittersweet is an example of the type of media that we want to make in the world, normalizing these relationships and releasing the stigma of queer relationships being inherently sexual and not "age appropriate."