A Soldier Faces The Tyranny Of The Closet In Short Film “Homophobia”

"A cheesy ending was out of the question for me," says filmmaker Gregor Schmidinger.

Every Wednesday, we’ll be sharing short films that illuminate queer life. Welcome to #HumpdayShorts.

In Gregor Schmidinger’s short Homophobia, a young Austrian soldier develops a crush on one platoon mate while dealing with bigoted abuse from another.

Gregor Schmidinger/YouTube

The film’s protagonist, Michael, is surrounded by homophobia in the hyper-masculine world of the military, but it’s his own fear of his sexuality that causes him the most pain. Homophobia slowly builds to its tense final scene, where Michael and the object of his affection share a joint while alone on duty at the Austrian-Hungarian border.

The film premiered in 2012 at Vienna’s Gartenbaukino cinema and was released online on International Day Against Homophobia on that same year. Schmidinger also pushed to have it shown in schools to facilitate a dialogue about homophobia and self-acceptance.

“That was why a cheesy ending was out of the question for me,” he says. “The happy endings of feature movies never really happen in real life. Still, I think and hope that the audience will be left with a positive feeling at the end of the film.”

Adam Salandra is a writer, performer and host in Los Angeles. When he's not covering the latest in pop culture, you can find him playing with his French Bulldog puppy or hovering over the table of food at any social gathering.