unseen dancer

Luca performs for the first time in a queer ballroom and is interrupted on the dance floor by his mother, even though she has already passed away.

  • Kevin Corbeil Palma
    Intentsity (2023) - Mothers, Deaths & the Rest (2022)
  • Kevin Corbeil Palma
  • Kevin Corbeil Palma
  • Johnny Wu
    Key Cast
    Legends of Tomorrow (2020), Kung Fu (2021), Bunny Man (2018)
  • Ramona Kim
    Key Cast
    The Fall of the House of Usher (2023), Altered Carbon (2022), Kung Fu (2022), So Help Me Todd (2022)
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    6 minutes 24 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 9, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    1,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    No Dialogue
  • Shooting Format:
    RED 6K
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Vancouver Film School
Director Biography - Kevin Corbeil Palma

Kevin Corbeil Palma is a French Canadian-Panamanian writer & director who was born in Rouyn-Noranda, Québec, Canada. His work revolves around character-driven stories exploring the themes of cultural identity, queerness, family, immigration, assimilation, death, grief, traveling and self-discovery. He is known for the two queer short films Unseen Dancer (2023) and Intentsity (2023). He also directed Mothers, Deaths, & the Rest (2022), a short documentary exploring the theme of creativity as a path to cope with grief. He graduated with Honours the Vancouver Film School, with specializations in Directing and Cinematography.

Raised in a home where watching movies was one of the main family activities, his passion for cinema solidified during his teenage years when his father gave him a Sony handheld camcorder to capture great memories during his experience as an exchange student in Germany. After studying natural sciences at the college in his hometown, Kevin relocated to Montreal to enter a private school of communication.

Thirsty for new experiences in unfamiliar places, he made the decision to travel the world for few years with his brother before embarking on the path of cinema. This grand adventure was also a way to honor the deaths of their mother and father. Following two extensive backpacking excursions in Asia and an extended road trip in the USA, the brothers took the opportunity to become more deeply acquainted with their parents' families of origin in Panama and Peru. With many completed short films under his belt, Kevin strives to create deeply transformative stories that will ignite hope and assist in building a more tolerant world.

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Director Statement

“Coming out to the Dead”. There is no better nor simpler way to express what lies at the core of the psychological drama “Unseen Dancer”. Amongst the plethora of coming out stories from the 2SLGBTQIAP+ global community, there are the ones we cannot do. Either we did not gather enough inner strength before our loved ones passed away, or they just left too early. People going through this situation face a daunting dead end. Standing in front of this impenetrable wall, their hearts are burdened with unexpressed feelings mixed with questions, fears, doubts, and countless torturous scenarios created in the mind. Without finding a specific solution, this is the subject tackled in this short film.

Since we are in the realm of what is unspoken, Unseen Dancer is a musical and visual piece without a single word of dialogue. Following Luca, a gay man who is about to put himself out there and perform for the first time in an underground queer ballroom, the audience will experience an intimate and emotional dual reality of the protagonist arc. As he summons the resolve to open a wooden box bequeathed from his deceased mother in the dressing room, we also witness his first attempt to impress a crowd on the dance floor. Every detail of Luca’s exploration of this legacy is echoed in his performance in the ballroom. The surrealist appearance of his mother on the dance floor not only reflects the coming out he never had time to do, but also a part of his grieving process. The outcome of this mysterious encounter represents a state of mind chosen by Luca, who no longer wants to suffer from his unanswered questions and endless doubts.

“Unseen Dancer” is a vibrant and colorful simple story with a diverse cast and crew that pay tribute to the queer ballroom culture of New York City during the 1980s and early 1990s. These events represent a way for the 2SLGBTQIAP+ community to unite and overcome the stigmas around different ethnic minorities, gender identities and sexual orientations. Luca’s performance is inspired from a freestyle dance called “waacking”, from the 2SLGBTQIAP+ clubs of Los Angeles during the 1970s disco era. On behalf of the whole team behind this beautiful project, we sincerely thank you for watching this film.