BOYS IN THE SUN

After an abrupt and heated break-up, two boys must learn how to cope with heartbreak. Nostalgia, regret, and longing are just a few of the obstacles they must confront as one of them navigates a new life in NYC while the other lingers in their small hometown. This queer coming-of-age short film warps the spatial and temporal timeline of their romantic experiences to tell the story of this young couple.

  • Adrian Balvuena
    Director
  • Adrian Balvuena
    Writer
  • Adrian Balvuena
    Producer
  • Jackson Stinebaugh
    Key Cast
    "Leo"
  • Ân Vòng
    Key Cast
    "Alonso"
  • Yumo Lu
    Co-Director of Photography
  • Adrian Balvuena
    Director of Photography
  • Yumo Lu
    1st Assistant Director
  • Nikki Marsh
    2nd Assistant Director
  • Astrid Malter
    1st Sound Recordist
  • Nikki Marsh
    2nd Sound Recordist
  • Jimmy Bice
    3rd Sound Recordist
  • Yumo Lu
    4th Sound Recordist
  • Astrid Malter
    1st Camera Operator
  • Yumo Lu
    2nd Camera Operator
  • Adrian Balvuena
    Lighting Director
  • Yumo Lu
    1st Assistant Lighting Director
  • Astrid Malter
    2nd Assistant Lighting Director
  • Adrian Balvuena
    Costume Design
  • Jackson Stinebaugh
    Costume Design
  • Ân Vòng
    Costume Design
  • Adrian Balvuena
    Sound Design/Soundtrack
  • David Espinoza
    Sound Design/Soundtrack
  • Adrian Balvuena
    Film Colorist
  • Adrian Balvuena
    Graphic Design
  • Adrian Balvuena
    Sound Editing
  • Adrian Balvuena
    Sound Mixing
  • Adrian Balvuena
    Sound Recording
  • Kevin MacLeod
    Music
  • Morgan Honaker
    Re-Recording Mixer
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Romance, LGBTQ+, Queer, coming-of-age, student, Drama
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    March 2, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    1,350 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    4:3
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Carleton College
Director Biography - Adrian Balvuena

Adrian Balvuena is an up-and-coming filmmaker & dancer based in the Bronx. From childhood to adulthood, he has continued to tap into his artistic intuition to explore his intersecting identity as a gay man of color. He is currently investigating his artistic and personal identity through modern/contemporary choreography and through queer modes of filmmaking.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

This LGBTQ+ romantic short film invites viewers to reimagine their outdated characterizations of young queer love.

Growing up, I hardly knew any queer people let alone any queer characters on TV. Up until my sophomore year of high school, I felt like I was taking on the world all by myself. I had this huge secret that could destroy my world as I knew it. "Why couldn’t I be normal?" I asked myself. I did not want to be Catholic anymore if this is the life God wanted me to live. I constantly felt trapped no matter where I went and no matter who I was with. When I finally got the courage to accept my sexuality, I was fully able to accept my whole self.

This self-acceptance was a long and grueling journey–it was even a little bit grotesque. But being able to freely love who I want without shame feels like a thousand cuts of worthlessness and shame have been healed. I knew that my accomplishment of self-acceptance could be fortified if I told a gay story that I was proud of–-a story that I could proudly show my peers and the communities I am a part of.

Accordingly, my short fiction film tells the story of two young gay men who must learn how to deal with the aftermath of a breakup. The themes of loneliness and heartbreak are explored through the visual and aural landscapes of two locations (a small town vs an urban city).

Queer love is like a sacred artifact, as most LGBTQ people grow up having to hide and suppress any attraction to the opposite sex. Thus, once you are able to find love, it becomes something you want to cherish and hold on to for the rest of your life.

Unsurprisingly, stories of love and heartbreak are often told through a heteronormative lens. Despite the rise of LGBTQ+ films in popular cinema, the depictions of gay love stories are often told in a simplistic black-and-white manner, as they are either overly optimistic or rely heavily on the trauma of queer characters. Thus,
through my short fiction film, I illustrate a more in-depth, accurate, and thoughtful queer film through my personal experiences as a gay man of color.

Before starting the production process of my film, I wrote these questions to guide me:
1. What emotional layers make up queer love?
2. How do we deal with the inevitable emotions of loneliness and solitude after a breakup?
3. How can I create a queer love story that accurately represents an aspect of the LGBTQ+ experience?
I can’t say that I can eloquently answer these three questions, as my responses change almost every day. My identity as a queer person is like a seesaw–it’s always an up-and-down journey. However, what I can say is that these questions allowed me to tell a story that felt like an authentic queer story. These questions, in short, allowed me to write a script that felt true to my experiences as a gay man of color. They allowed me to direct my actors on a personal and intimate level, as I had first-hand experiences with the emotions my characters were experiencing.

Overall, I am still learning how to be a filmmaker. I am still learning how to direct. This project has empowered me to further pursue my other artistic passions, including dance. Through directing and storytelling, I have learned how to fully use my voice.