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Actress Leslie Susana Campbell has made her directorial debut with her LGBTQ drama movie “Yu-Yi”. The former professional Bahamian swimmer moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting and has now penned her first drama film based on real events that has been creating quite a stir in the film festival circuit. We chatted with Leslie to talk all things “Yu-Yi” and being accepted into the IndieX Film Fest and Marina Del Rey Film Festival.

Hello Leslie! Welcome back and congratulations on your film festival journey so far. You must feel elated from the positive response.

The enthusiastic reception of my film so far has been unreal! I am extremely grateful to be on this journey. I’m even more excited to see it on the big screen!

Tell us about the movie “Yu-Yi”.

 “Yu-Yi’ is a raw and poignant exchange of a person confronting their friend about the challenges of coming out, the complexities of evolving feelings, struggles with identity and navigating feelings of attraction. Unresolved tensions and misunderstandings come to light as unspoken truths surface. Complexities around friendship, communication, acceptance, and ultimately, the inability to bridge the gap leads to a poignant decision that redefines their shared narrative.

What does Yu-Yi mean?

The phrase denotes one’s ‘longing to feel intensely again’. I felt that this title really encapsulated the essence of this project, and the nature of navigating the evolution of oneself. There is a grieving process. This grief can feel cloudy. While in it, I definitely longed to go to a space where I could feel freely, and safely again. 

When did you come up with the concept?

I am the creator of this project. The idea was born several months ago. I wrote the first draft of the screenplay several months ago. At the time, it was a completely different idea, and much less clear in its direction. I completed the penultimate draft early this year. I didn’t have the courage and resources to bring this film to life until recently. I am an artist that very much believes in using my experiences to further highlight the human condition. What I’ve lived through, and experienced, can very well be a vehicle for storytelling, discussion, and introspection. Conceptualizing this idea was the most challenging aspect of this film. What message am I trying to deliver? How does one take a memory, a moment, an instance, and convert it into something cinematic? Thankfully, I had many talented artists and friends to help me supersede these challenges.

Watch the trailer for Yu-Yi here:

What do you hope audiences will take away from the film?

I sincerely hope this film helps viewers take away the importance of vulnerability. I want the film to encourage viewers to shed what no longer serves them. Most importantly, I hope viewers can see the impact fear has.

Have you any plans to direct and produce more films?

Are there any immediate plans? No, not yet. But this experience has lit a fire in me. I want to continue my filmmaking journey. Hopefully, I will birth my next project soon!

We can’t wait to see what you do next. How can people follow your journey?

People can check me out on my IMDb and the movies Instagram, and my Instagram for everything else.

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