“It Gets Better!” …. well does it really get better? It’s a question I ask myself often enough, and it’s something that most people have uttered to a person pouring their hearts out online as a way to show unity and support, but how far do a few words really go when someone’s struggling without any hope in sight? While I’m not encouraging the cancellation of the online support system, I dare ask what happens when you take your experience, your pain, and decide to be more than just another friendly face on a social media post?
Well, Donta Storey’s ‘LiME’ happens. LiME at face value is a story about a young, queer boy named Deshawn, and as soon as the film begins, we’re tossed into a day in the life of a dreamer. During this journey, we’re taken on an emotional rollercoaster, with no shortage of anxiety, upset, understandable anger, but most notably, black joy. Rather than presenting a regurgitated view of a ‘coming out’ story, Donta who wrote and directed the film based on their youth takes us on a journey that I can best describe as cathartic and necessary. ” Sharing my own experience was the only way to truly present what I wanted with LiME”. Storey shares that they wanted to help show the youth, and anyone who may find themselves at what they think is the end of a tunnel, that It does get better, and not because they say, but because they are living proof.
Donta reigns from Compton, California, where they were in dance team, marching band, and drama. “Growing up I was lucky enough to have a home outside of the home. When I was a part of drama or dance it was a sub-community for me, and it was a place I felt safe, a place I could be myself in… and I’m grateful for that,” replied Storey when asked what it was like for them to grow up in the city NWA made famous. When watching the film, it’s easy to forget that this is the work of a first-time filmmaker because the words flow like your favorite song, and the film is stuffed with beautiful cinematography.
Donta doesn’t shy away from starting the conversation many are afraid to have with their friends and families, and with the rising death toll of black trans women and men it’s never been more relevant. Black Lives Matter, but not unless All Black Lives Matter! Through ‘LiME’ Donta rejects victimhood and attempts to inspire an entire generation to push on and past homophobia, hate, and exclusion. When asked If they will continue to make films alongside that of their debut they assure to “…. tell stories that inspire me, that feed my creativity beyond what’s expected. My next two films’ Dooley Does Murder!’, and ‘Boys Like Us’ are polar opposites, but are about the human experience in some way. I want to keep telling stories that are relatable just beyond the surface.” Donta seems to be on the rise, and I’ sure this won’t be the last time we hear from them.
Dooley Does Murder! is scheduled to release in early 2021, while LiME is currently streaming on Amazon Prime, UrbanFlix TV, and SVTV.