WKU alum set to have his film screened at festival

Photo courtesy of Colby Holt

Griffin Fletcher

A WKU alum will premiere his first feature film at a Texas film festival next month. The film tackles issues such as societal expectations of women and social-media pressures.

Colby Holt of Paducah, now a Los Angeles-based producer, co-directed the film, titled “Pig Hag,” alongside his partner of six years, Sam Probst. The two produced the film under their personal production business, Neighborhood Pictures, a “company dedicated to bringing queer, diverse, and heartfelt content to small screens, big screens, and stages,” according to a press release for “Pig Hag.”

Holt said the film was named after an actual text message a friend of his once received after declining to go on a date. He said he believes similar instances of verbal abuse directed at women are more common than one might expect.

“The title is meant to call attention to the inappropriate way that men speak to women and how unacceptable that language can be,” Holt said.

In turn, Holt said his and Probst’s primary intent with “Pig Hag” was to provoke a dialogue regarding other modern difficulties women face.

“It’s kind of a look of how society’s expectations for women influence their barometer for success and the choices that they make,” Holt said. “It kind of challenges people to look at the narratives they’re creating for the women in their lives.”

To best do this, Holt and Probst based the film loosely off the real-life experiences of the same friend who received the “Pig Hag” text message.

At already 36 years old, the film’s protagonist, Jodie, “obsesses over whether she will meet someone, if all men are garbage, and if her ‘uterus will rot out’ before she has children,” the press release stated. This all changes after meeting Dustin, a man she quickly grows attached to, at a Gun’s N’ Roses concert.

Bombarded constantly by social media posts of friends with their kids and pressure from her sisters to find a husband, Jodie sees Dustin as her next chance at love.

The day after the concert, however, Dustin “ghosts” Jodie, effectively cutting off all communication with her and begging the question: “Is Jodie unlovable?”

Jodie soon after goes to her four gay best friends for advice, which ultimately forces her to face her fears and move forward.

Holt described the film as a consolation to those women who’ve found themselves in a similar situation and a warning to those there right now. On one side, Holt said he hopes “Pig Hag” serves to break down stereotypes regarding the female narrative, and on the other, he said he intends it to reveal the oftentimes harmful nature of adhering to others’ expectations of you.

“This film is kind of a cautionary tale if you succumb to that line of thinking,” Holt said.

He said he encourages the viewers of “Pig Hag” to realize they are in control of their own decisions and life trajectories.

“Everyone’s success looks different, everyone’s timeline for their life is different,” Holt said. “Don’t accept someone else’s narrative.”

As a gay man who received much support from women when he was younger, Holt said “Pig Hag” is also a testament to the power of relationships between women and gay men. He said he believes such relationships are often mutually beneficial and heartfelt.

“It really is a love letter to all of the women who’ve befriended gay men,” Holt said. “You are beautiful the way you are, and we stand beside you too.”

Shot starting in March 2018 in both Los Angeles and Indio, California, the film was accepted to be shown at the 26th annual South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, in late December. The film will premiere in the festival’s “Narrative Feature Competition” on March 10 at the Stateside Theatre at 2:30 p.m., according to the press release.

Though “Pig Hag” is Holt and Probst’s first full-length film, the two have worked together on series “Down Home” and “Gayborhood,” viewable on streaming service Revry, “the premiere digital media network for the inclusive 21st century queer community,” according to the service’s Facebook page.

Holt said he and Probst love working together to address LGBTQ and other social issues. He said they attack each project from all angles and with their subject matter foremost.

“We’re all kinds of involved at all stages,” Holt said. “It really is just a partnership across the board.”

Reporter Griffin Fletcher can be reached at 270-745-2655 and [email protected]