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What To Watch: Acclaimed Short Film ‘Requited’ Explores Holding On Versus Letting Go

The acclaimed gay-themed film short Requited is available to stream for free for the first time since it made a splash at film festivals in 2011.

The 20-minute short follows a 20-something gay New Yorker, Nicholas (played by Chris Damon), who’s considering whether or not to attend the wedding of his unrequited high school crush, Aaron (Matthew Watson). Complicating the equation, attending the nuptials would mean missing the departure of his current boo, Gregor (Max Rhyser), who’s relocating to San Francisco.

Shot in an intimate, unpretentious style, it’s easy to imagine Requited as a precursor of sorts of HBO’s LGBTQ series, Looking.

With the short, Sal Bardo made his debut as both writer and director of a film project. He recently told HuffPost he was inspired to pen the short due to the dearth of good LGBTQ narratives in Hollywood at the time.

“I wanted to write something for myself that depicted characters and stories I could relate to,” Bardo told HuffPost in a recent interview. Having based the story loosely on a real-life friendship he’d had as a young adult, he added, “It’s definitely a snapshot in time. Looking back, the film feels very cynical. I think maybe I’m a tiny bit less cynical now!”

Premiering at the 2011 Seattle International Film Festival, Requited was well-received on the indie film festival circuit and was honored with the Audience Award: Best First Time Filmmaker at Washington D.C.’s International LGBT Film Festival, Reel Affirmations.

Describing Requited as his “first pancake,” Bardo looks back fondly on his first film.

“The first pancake is never as good as the rest ― you have to warm up the pan,” explained Buardo. “My work has gotten much better, but I’m still really proud of ‘Requited.’”

Previously, the short was only available as part of the compilation Blue Briefs.

Following the success of Requited, Bardo’s 2015 film Pink Moon scored the Jury Prize for Best Film Short at the Big Apple Film Festival, and his music video for Paper Ring’s “Great Escape” was nominated for the Iris Prize, the world’s largest LGBT short film award.

You can watch the full 20-minute version of Requited for free below.

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