First Girl I Loved

DIRECTOR: Kerem Sanga

Bay Area Premiere

Expected to attend: Director Kerem Sanga, Producer Seth Caplan, Producer David Hunter, Producer Ross Putman, Actor Dylan Gelula, Actor Mateo Arias

Opposites attract in this alternately funny and heart-rending high school romance. Anne is a bike-riding, yearbook-editing, gangly nerd whose best friend is yearbook pal Cliff. Sasha is an attractive and popular athlete in the top 15 percent of the class. Anne finds herself smitten when she photographs Sasha playing softball, and she uses the yearbook as an excuse to interview her girl crush. Attraction sparks, and soon the girls are texting nonstop, thrift-store shopping together, and sneaking out to bars. But are they budding BFFs or something more? The line blurs during a sexy sleepover, leaving Anne clearly ready to bust out of the closet. However, even in these enlightened times, coming out can be complicated and painful—especially when odd man out Cliff turns jealous and Sasha gets nervous.

Winner of a NEXT Audience Award at Sundance, First Girl I Loved unfolds in kaleidoscopic fashion, as writer-director Kerem Sanga moves back and forth in time to reveal the full story—handling the visual challenge of communicating these teenagers’ digital, device-driven lives with ease. Dylan Gelula (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) as Anne and Brianna Hildebrand (Deadpool) as Sasha capture all the awkwardness and effervescence of first love, backed up by a terrific supporting cast of teachers and parents. In this middle-class SoCal community, everyone is, of course, OK with gay kids—except when they actually have to deal with them. Look for Cameron Esposito in a sweet cameo as a counselor who gives Anne the quiet acceptance she’s seeking.

— Monica Nolan

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: F109

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