Bending the narrative of the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale, LIL’ MER repurposes elements from The Little Mermaid to explore the topics of gender identity and self-actualization. Tapping into the vibrant drag scene in New York City, as well as featuring the legendary Mermaid Parade on Coney Island, LIL’ MER presents a unique approach to narrative storytelling, grounded in documentary and experimental video.
Director Megyn Cawley brings her visual style, anchored in a 90s pop aesthetic, to LIL’ MER. Her exploration of gender and self is visible in her 2012 short film, GIRL, and she continues to explore these topics in depth in LIL’ MER.
LIL’ MER is the first in a series of short films, produced and curated by Alex Herboche. The films aim to document underrepresented and misrepresented communities in the United States through the lens of classic fairy tales. By reusing and subverting these beloved narratives, the series, lead by LIL’ MER, aims to offer a radical and collaborative re-appropriation of these well-known tales. The films hope to raise awareness of the communities and different forms of womanhood, allowing them equal representation within our shared, collective storytelling, while offering the opportunity for each to express their individualities and complexities with the support of diverse filmmakers and crews.
In an experimental retelling of Hans Christen Andersen’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ set in the drag and genderqueer communities of New York, Mirabella is a young girl, struggling to express her inner self to its fullest. Her thumping, inner soundtrack is her only way to cope with a world that feels dull and drab. One fated night, a mystical infomercial from NYC’s legendary House of Lah Dee Dah dares to shift Mira’s existence forever. Miss Ursulah Dee Dah, Sea Witch and Guru supreme, promises her viewers the limited time offer of self-love and actualization. Without hesitation, Mira dials the 900 number glowing on the screen, 1-900-WTCH-WAY. Little does she know, her reality is about to change for good.
LIL’ MER will be distributed online (through VOD websites and distribution channels such as Seed and Spark), as well as on the festival circuit.
Screenings will be organized in Los Angeles and New York.