Queerly Not Straight: ‘Passage The Series’ Interview w/ Creator Hillary Esquina

In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Tuesday I’ll be posting opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community. Welcome to Queerly Not Straight! Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for what I should cover next.

There’s no denying that queer content is hard to find. And when you do they’re not the lead of the story, are the quirky or over-sexualized BFF, or they die via the Bury Your Gays trope. Been there, done that.

Queer creators are tired of it. They’re tired of not being represented properly and given the scraps. So they’re branching out on their own, surpassing big TV networks and going smaller to create the content we need in 20GayTeen. I’m talking web-series.

Our very own Hillary Esquina is one of those queer creators who’s had enough! Right now she’s in the process of raising funds for her own web-series titled Passage The Series, which she won after entering Tello Films Pitch to Production competition. It tells the story of Ali Prader, who is played by Shannan Leigh Reeve. She’s lesbian, who just so happens to be a veteran, a wife, and a paranormal operative of a secret government division called Caelus.

They depend of Prader to use her special abilities to handle paranormal situations that arise. Per usual, everything is going swell with her job and her personal life, until she starts to unravel a thread that could change her world and bring forth a crucial shift in power.

We had a chance to talk to creator and fellow Fangirlish writer Hillary Esquina about Passage the Series, what it means that the protagonist is a mother, the experiences that influenced the series, and more!

Before we dive in, make sure to follow them on Twitter HERE. And support their campaign HERE!

1. In one sentence, tell me about your show.

Passage The Series is about a lesbian mom who is a badass paranormal agent who struggles with complications in both her personal and professional life.

2. Why did you choose to make a mom be the center of this story?

Honestly, because we don’t see it very often. We don’t get to see the leads, especially in genre series, be queer – let alone one who is married or who has a kid. I’m a wife and a mom, and I happen to be a lesbian,  so I connected with my character in that way and then wrote it in a genre that I absolutely love. Moms have a different driving force and I wanted Ali to have that foundation with the story arc around the paranormal element because we don’t often get to see that.

3. What real life experiences influenced your story?

There is a lack of positive queer family representation, and I wanted to bring a tiny part of what that part of my life is like as a layer for Ali Prader as a mom to help give something to that community. This is not the show that is going to break the bad representation trope, we just didn’t have the time or budget to do so, but I hope it helps chip away some of the frustration when queer families aren’t represented well.

4. How scared should we be about Caelus? Janus’ powers? The power shift that she discovers?

Caelus has done a good job at hiding in the shadows but secret organizations always tend to have their own hidden agenda, and we just don’t know what that is yet. When someone asks a question that no one knows the answer to, that fear of the unknown can become a powerful motivator. The Janus Agent’s powers and abilities are explained in the first season, so I hope people are going to be excited to see this world were these exist rather than scared. And as for the power shift, well you’ll just have to wait and see.

5. What does Emily Andras have to do with this?

There was a moment in 2017 at ClexaCon, a convention focused on LGBTQ representation in the entertainment industry, where Emily Andras was on stage and answered a question about visibility. In her response, she said “Don’t let anybody tell you that there’s not an audience for the stories we want to tell cause here we are.” That just stuck because as someone who went to film school and was told there wasn’t an audience for LGBTQ stories – it felt like the nudge I needed to get back into telling the stories that I saw people in my community want. On the way home from the convention I wrote a ton of ideas, and Passage The Series was one of them.

6.What would you like viewers to come away with after watching Passage The Series?

I hope that people fall in love with Ali, these characters and this world. I wanted to create a show where viewers could have more positive LGBTQ representation and have these layered complex strong female characters in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. So I’d want them come away with wanting more and wanting to support this show because by doing so we can prove that there is an audience for this type of content.

Check out the trailer for Passage The Series below:

Don’t forget to follow them on Twitter HERE. And support their campaign HERE!

Queerly Not Straight posts every Tuesday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community.

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