The Secret Lives of Girls was a collection of short films radically brought together for their eclectic nature. Themes of social commentary or familial relationships were depicted by young female filmmakers whose films work to illustrate a subtle connection between a successor and its predecessor as the collection progressed.
In the 4-minute experimental film, "Honey, Baby, Doll," Director Kate von Mende characterized the relationship between reality and plastic to create a visually intriguing contrast of image. Complete with lots of honey and a Barbie doll with animal-like legs surrounded by one too many googly eyes, the film was a little hard to follow.
Following von Mende’s short was narrative film "Fear No Evil," directed by Catherine McCord. In the 8-minute thriller, a woman is abducted only to awaken behind a wall with a muzzle-like mask. After much suspense, the woman escapes only to get a nailed in the head by the man who abducted her while hanging up a replica of Jesus nailed to the cross where she stood.
The music and depiction of a little girl in bright red power suit was set against a generally neutral color scheme in "Euphoria." Directed by Wynter Rhys, the film almost takes on a judge-and-jury dynamic with characters all in the search for justice. However, things take a turn when the little girl who was once in charge is hauled away with screams of "Let me go!" echoing through the credits.
In the 11-minute documentary film "I Am the Only One," directed by Aicha Cherif, Cherif explores her relationship with her mother. At just one year old, she was sent to New York to live with her grandmother, leaving the two estranged. The low-quality phone calls and home video-esque approach to this short gives viewers a more authentic sense of this mother-daughter relationship. Through Cherif’s interviews with her mother, viewers come to understand the past circumstances that shaped the present. Aicha Cherif’s short was emotional, raw and true.
"100% Cotton," directed by Riley Street, is a more lighthearted approach to showing the monotonous morning routine of a mother and son. However, what seemed like subtle disobedience reveals an interesting approach to getting the attention of a fellow classmate.
"The Ways We Say Goodbye," directed by Erina McSweeny, encapsulates the sadness of a mother after the loss of her husband and the efforts to help her son cope. After some hesitation from the mother, the two hold a funeral for a dead bug on the sidewalk.
The cinematic approach in Tatum Lenburg’s "Spiral" made all the difference in the telling of a story about abuse, alcoholism and its effect on a family. The short is first played in rewind and then plays normally when it reaches the beginning of the plot. At first, the father looks like the bad guy, as one of the first scenes is him being taken away in handcuffs. However, as it reaches the middle of the short, it is clear that the mother is the one to blame.
"Seasons," directed by Caroline Subbiah, detailed the rise, fall and potential resurrection of a relationship between two teens.
Nia Simone Applewhite’s "Reflect" flipped stereotype on its head by depicting the everyday experience for many African-American women, first through a young, white boy before revealing the true character, who is constantly on the receiving end of unwanted hands in their hair, or comparisons to other black people who don’t look similar.
"The Night I Lost My Favorite Jacket," directed by Jenna Krumerman, was a comedic animation that took a few jabs at party culture and boys who are either quick to take advantage of a situation or bystanders who should know better.
The topic of rape culture continued in the short "How You See Us," directed by Susannah Joffe. This aesthetically pleasing experimental short was reminiscent of a music video. Its opening scene simply showed a black screen which kept the viewers’ focus on the audio clip of Trump’s sexually explicit comments playing in the background. The music continues as several girls covered with glitter danced.
The final short in the Secret Lives of Girls collection was "Grab Him By The-," directed by Lane McKenna. This satirical narrative not only seamlessly tied into "How You See Us," but also turned rape culture and language on its head through the creation of an alternate universe. In this universe, girls would greet the boys they liked by grabbing their genitals. The main actress had trouble grappling with this supposedly common gesture, but at the end was able to face her fears and get the boy.