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Corey Camperchioli Explores Queer Identity in FEMME

“Telling my story has been the most liberating thing in my entire life.”

– NYU Tisch at Strasberg alumnus, Corey Camperchioloi

NYU Tisch at Strasberg alumnus Corey Camperchioli has written and starred in FEMME, a new film that explores its selfsame identity and its interactions within the queer community. “For me, the word ‘femme’ can be interchanged with ‘too gay’ and ‘flamboyant.’” Camperchioli says. “Being ‘femme’ means you are markedly gay, and to put down someone for being femme is to put someone down for being markedly gay.” In the film, Corey plays Carson, a young man who gets turned down by a guy he met on Grindr for being overly effeminate. Carson discovers the ways in which, even in a liberal and open place like New York, stigma towards femininity runs deep. Oftentimes this stigma runs deep within gay men themselves, which Camperchioli describes as “a product of wanting to assimilate into straight culture” (HuffPost).


In the film’s opening scene, viewers follow Carson as he travels to meet Evan (Derek Klena), a successful lawyer living on the Upper West Side. Their interaction is unfortunately goes wrong from the start. After learning of Evan’s profession, Carson tries to keep the dying spark alive, murmuring “I’ve committed a terrible crime. Can you get me off?” which makes Evan loose interest even further. Evan tells Carson, “Maybe you should go home. You’re not quite what I was expecting.” Carson is befuddled, thinking that the photo he had sent let Evan to believe he was more fit than he was. Evan replies, “You’re too… femme. It’s always been kind of a turn off for me. If I wanted to date a girl I’d be straight.”

Over the next 24 hours, Carson grapples with an identity in crisis; he asks a stranger he is sharing a cab with incessantly about what his first impressions of him were. In another scene, we find Carson trying to act purposefully masculine as he promotes the fictitious off-Broadway show starring Lance Bass entitled Goldie Twink & the Three Bears. “Being femme is like being the ugly stepsister in gay world,” Carson complains to Stephanie Hsu’s Harper. “I’m feminine and I’m strong… they’re not opposites – as much as the patriarchy wants us to think so,” she retorts. The events of the film bring Carson to see Panzy la Rue, played by Aja of RuPaul’s Drag Race Fame. Panzy la Rue acts as Carson’s drag queen fairy godmother and allows him to see his femme identity in a more positive light.

Executive Producer Rachel Brosnahan

“Rachel Brosnahan, Camperchioli’s fellow NYU alumna and recent Emmy Award winner, serves as the film’s executive producer.”

Rachel Brosnahan, Camperchioli’s fellow NYU alumna and recent Emmy Award winner, serves as the film’s executive producer. In an interview with Deadline, Brosnahan states, “His singular and powerful voice is an important part of a new generation of barrier breaking storytellers, and I’m proud to collaborate with him.” FEMME premiered at Wicked Queer, the Boston LGBT Film Festival and was awarded Best Coming of Age Short. The film has also been screened at the Toronto LGBT Film Festival, Film Out San Diego, OutFest Los Angeles, Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ International Festival and more. FEMME has raised over $30,000 on Kickstarter, and Camperchioli intends to travel the world with his film. “Telling my story has been the most liberating thing in my entire life,” Camperchioli says.

Where to Watch

FEMME is now streaming free worldwide exclusively on Revry. You can learn learn more about FEMME and its cast and crew
Stay up-to-date with Corey Camperchioli by following him on Instagram at @coreycamp.

Alumni News written by NYU Tisch at Strasberg alumnus Will Brockman.
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