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Video: illuminate — a cinematic poem about being in the closet


Nisha Gupta, the director of “illuminate,” says:

This short film is based on in-depth phenomenological research interviews with sexual minorities about their lived experiences of being in the closet. Research findings suggest that the closet is experienced as a traumatic loss of existential rights: the right to truth, freedom, love, hope, and power. The film presents a poetic journey of coming out of the closet, healing from its sociopolitical trauma, and re-gaining access to these existential rights. It uses symbolic cinematography to make visible the invisible pain that the closet incites, to illuminate how sociopolitical oppression deprives us of our existential rights, and to instill empathy, compassion, and hope among viewers.

While “illuminate” focuses on the closeted experience among sexual minorities, this project stands in solidarity for intersectional LGBTQ+ rights across the globe.


Directed by Nisha Gupta. Cinematography by Joseph Carreno and Nisha Gupta. Acting by Orlando Davis (lead). Supporting cast: L.H. Gonzalez, Monisha Schwartz, Isaiah Noreiga, Lee Lytle, Jacob Wasson, Mary-Beth Grimaldi, Matt Rich, and Hakim Fontaine. Music by Lesley Flanigan.

A Phenomenological Film Collective production: pfcollective.com

Email subscribers may click on the title of this post to watch the video.


Nisha Gupta answering a question at a screening of her film ‘illuminate’

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