Awardee: Sam Tower

Primary Artistic Medium: Media Arts


Ninth Planet will produce the Honey Honey Community Film Project, a new film to premiere in November 2020. With a screenplay adapted from our original theatrical script, we will combine video submissions from LGBTQ+ teenagers with footage of professional performers, creating a communally-sourced film that places the power of visual storytelling back into the hands of our community. We will invite QTPOC youth and young adults to film and submit their interpretations of scenes from our screenplay through open casting calls and community outreach. Together, the submitted scenes will form a mosaic of our community, telling the story of three queer teenagers facing the complexities of growing up. This project will combine the visual medium of film with principles of theater and dance to create a fantastical world where the surreal exists alongside the everyday. The film will be edited to include aesthetic cues that deliver a clear sense of story, such as costumes that suggest character and music that suggests time passing.

This project seeks to unite teenagers and young adults in the creation of a film, resulting in a work that is entirely starring, written, and edited by LGBTQ+ and BIPOC Philadelphians aged 14 and older. It will be directed by Ninth Planet’s Co-Artistic Directors Nia Benjamin and Sam Tower, and edited by Nia Benjamin and Cosmo Castaldi. The script of Honey Honey (created over three years in partnership with young artists from The Attic Youth Center and a creative team of queer and trans* performers and musicians) will be released to the public, along with a series of open casting calls that invite Philadelphians to cast themselves in our story. The directors and editors will collage video submissions that feature participants performing text from the script and original dances, to form one cohesive film. The score will be composed by local rappers, djs and singers: Anthony Martinez-Briggs, Jacqueline Constance, Rachel Ishikawa, and Kira Rodriguez.

Honey Honey’s script is a mosaic of poetry, abstract dance and electronic music telling the story of three queer teenagers whose lives converge in a small town. All three must reckon with big changes in their lives, as each of them discover what it means to find home. Through a series of prompts provided by the film’s directors about location, costume, and tone, multiple actors will easily be able to embody the same character.

During COVID-19, LGBTQ, black and brown young people have an even greater need to engage in positive experiences of self expression. This project invites queer and trans* young adults to engage as performers and audience members through open casting calls on social media, invitations from educators, and direct communication. The 18 teenagers who worked on the script of Honey Honey during our 2018-2019 partnership with Attic Youth Center are excited to continue their involvement. The project will conclude with free online streamed screenings in November 2020 and a series of virtual town halls for participating artists to deepen their sense of community as we make the film.