Image Credit: ‘Flirting, With Possibilities’

It takes a lot of nerve to spot a handsome guy across the room and strike up a conversation, but imagine how much more difficult a meet-cute would be when you can’t speak your mind.

That’s the crux of Flirting, With Possibilities an all-too-rare short film highlighting the deaf queer community.

Deaf actor and playwright Garrett Zuercher (previously seen in Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck) writes, directs, and stars in the imaginative romantic-comedy as Harley, a guy just minding his business in his favorite local coffee shop.

But then someone catches his eye: A cute hearing patron of the cafe (Jason Tam). Afraid the opportunity might pass him by, Harley’s mind begins to race as he dreams up the best way to communicate with his new crush—and let him know he’d like his number.

Flirting, With Possibilities has a lot of fun with form, employing a variety of creative styles as different scenarios play out in Harley’s mind. Oh, and along the way, some familiar faces from Broadway—like Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Tom Berklund—show up, too!

Image Credit: ‘Flirting, With Possibilities’

The short also offers unique insight into how it feels to communicate—and flirt—largely through American Sign Language and the written word in a world where most people are hearing and speaking in English.

For Zuercher, the film was an opportunity to not only tell a story about deafness with a universal appeal, but to actually do so with deaf talent in front of and behind the camera.

“While there are already films about Deafness,” Zuercher shares in a director’s statement, “they have mainly been spearheaded by hearing writers, producers, and directors with little to no firsthand experience with the people, the language, and the culture. As a result, Deaf actors have historically lent their incomparable talents to films made by those with little to no knowledge of what their lives and experiences are like.”

He continues: “While it is important to support all opportunities for Deaf talent, it’s also more than time to start supporting original work created by Deaf artists themselves, elevating and amplifying these voices and stories that have been thus far marginalized and ignored.”

Zuercher himself has years of experience performing on—and writing for—stage and screen. He is also the artistic director of Deaf Broadway, a collective of Deaf actors dedicated to making famous plays and musicals visually accessible for their own community, including their most recent production of Rent at the Lincoln Center.

His second short film as a writer-director, Flirting, With Possibilities actually made its world premiere in Paris back in 2022, and has screened at a number of festivals around the globe since, including the prestigious Clin d’Oeil Festival where Zuercher received a rare “triple crown” of awards nods for Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Film.

Most recently, the short received a warm reception at the Seattle Deaf Film Festival earlier this month, as part of a program of relationship stories titled “It’s Complicated” where it was one of a handful of films to focus on deaf, queer characters.

We don’t yet know what’s next for Flirting, With Possibilities, but we’re glad to have Zuercher out there advocating for deaf, queer awareness and representation in the entertainment industry.

You can stay tuned to his Instagram for more updates (and cute pictures of his cats), and in the meantime check out the trailer for Flirting, With Possibilities below:

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