Outfest’s Jeannette celebrates resilience after tragedy


When director Maris Curran (“Five Nights in Maine”Jeannette Feliciano, a Pulse Nightclub shooting survivor, met Jeannette Feliciano while they were working on an antidiscrimination campaign following the Pulse massacre. They could not have imagined the friendship and trust that would lead to an intimate documentary five-years later.

“Jeannette,”This film premiered at Outfest Los Angeles on Jul 20, and tells Feliciano’s story of resilience as a bodybuilder, trainer, and queer single mom who overcomes her trauma with determination. Composed with voice-over audio-only interviews, the vérité film follows Feliciano’s healing process as a survivor as she navigates relationships with her mother and son, prepares for bodybuilding competitions and returns to Puerto Rico to help her family and community repair their home after Hurricane Maria.

“The film is a very intimate look at the aftermath of violence, of what it takes to survive after experiencing something this tragic,”Curran stated that. “And I was really interested in this place that we don’t explore very often in this country of when the camera trucks pack away and when the news is no longer focused.”

Outfest Announces Lineup for Film Festival’s 40th Anniversary

The film opens with Feliciano’s account of the Pulse massacre on June 12, 2016, when Feliciano went to “Latin Night”She is pictured with her friends. Description “the rumbling, the heat and the chaos” after the gun shots that followed the bar’s last call, Feliciano recalls her realization that she was a target. “It was a gay club,”Feliciano states in the film: “we were all the targets.”

Outfest's Jeannette celebrates resilience after tragedy

Feliciano decided to combine her passions and work after the tragedy. The physical release is used as “a form of therapy,”Feliciano was able let go of her negative energy and reset herself before returning to the outside. “I can’t tell you how many times I come into my personal gym, and either I’m crying through my whole workout, or I’m angry,” Feliciano told , “But one thing that is for certain is once that session is over, it gives me that opportunity to breathe again.”

Curran immediately recognized Feliciano’s training as both an inward coping mechanism as well as a tool for community building, even focusing on a phrase Feliciano used frequently during training — “What’s your number?” — as the film’s mantra. The mantra is a key element of Feliciano’s film, just like Feliciano makes fitness a central part of her life. “help[s] others not only find their strength, but to really work through to gain confidence to see their best selves within them,”Curran.

Feliciano shared with us that, beyond her professional healing and professional pursuits she was also faced with additional challenges, such as a difficult breakup and complicated familial relationships. “How do I protect my son?” Feliciano asked. “How do I develop this relationship with my mom? How do I help my sister out in Puerto Rico? How do I continue to be this strong positive figure? How do I make sure that I don’t let hate enter into my heart?”

‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ Author Jenny Han Explains Why She Made Jeremiah Queer in the Show

When Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in Sept. 2017, the film stayed true to its vérité form and production followed Feliciano as she traveled back to her home island to help her sister, her sister-in-law and her community recover from the natural disaster that left more than 3 Million people live without electricity.

Curran suggested that there was a strong connection between Hurricane Maria, and Pulse. “hit on a very similar wound,”Noting that the disasters had a similar impact on communities, and that there was much neglect after the tragedies. Feliciano shared this similarity with her ability to help when her community was in need. Feliciano activated her instinct to assist during both events. “What happened the night of Pulse when I was sticking my hands in people who were bleeding just to stop the bleeding, taking off my shirt to wrap people’s legs and arms,” Feliciano said, “It was no different when it came to my sister having no electricity, no food and things like that.”

Although Curran could not have imagined flying out to Puerto Rico at the film’s start, this tendency toward service reflects the truth of Feliciano’s life. “Not imposing my idea was really important and going with what was actually happening and the emotional energy of her life and of her healing,” Curran said. “That was huge in terms of the trajectory of healing in her life.”

50 Years Ago Today, ‘The Corner Bar’ Made History With TV’s First Out Gay Character (Guest Blog)

Feliciano hopes audiences will replace Feliciano’s film when it premieres at Outfest next Wednesday. “Jeannette”by their name, acknowledging their own strength as well as their determination to fight for their cause. For Curran, the film’s release coincides with “a time of collective trauma”The film will allow viewers to share their feelings and have discussions about trauma and violence. “bridge to talk about healing, and how we can be better together in community.”

“Jeannette”At OutfestWith an in-person screening, Wednesday, July 20, at 2:00 PM. Stream onlineJuly 21 to July 23


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here