Cast: Lauren Lane, Sarah Danko, Tyler George, Melanie Notinger
Crew: – Writer: Melanie Notinger – Director: Melanie Notinger – Producer: Melanie Notinger, Diane Meo – DP: Layton Blaylock – Editor: Tyler Byrnes – Production Design: Sarah Mullinnix – Original Music: Benjamin Violet – 1st AD: Christine Chen – Gaffer: Todd Smiley
Dani, an introverted undergrad, struggles to meet the challenge of a poetry assignment that asks her to be vulnerable. She freaks when her effortlessly cool partner labels her as “high femme” and rebels by experimenting with the elasticity of her image. As the deadline approaches, she hurries to her BFF’s drag show for inspiration but fails to settle on the right words or a comfortable look. Feeling the pressure to perform as either feminine or masculine, can she write an authentic poem that answers the prompt: “how do you identify?” Featuring Lauren Lane (THE NANNY) and newcomer Sarah Danko.
Melanie Notinger is a writer, performer, and filmmaker from Texas. Her first short film, CHOKE ARTIST (dir., writer, lead) screened at Lighthouse International Film Festival ’18. Other film credits include JO (dir. Justine Williams) and MY ALL-AMERICAN (dir. Angelo Pizzo). Melanie is the co-writer of BROOKLYN NO-NAMES, a heartfelt comedy produced off-Broadway in the SheNYC Summer Theater Festival. She starred in the production with co-writer Marisa Jones, and it was awarded Best Script of the 2018 festival. She trained in Joan Scheckel’s Filmmaking Series (Action Lab ‘18) and has a B.F.A. in Acting from Texas State University. Melanie lives in Brooklyn.
DRESS CODE is a poetic investigation of labels and how they affect us. It explores society’s shame around femininity. The screenplay was inspired by the unnecessary pressure to present as either feminine or masculine. To choose. The stereotype is still damaging much of the queer community when one is assumed to be either “femme” or “butch” and act accordingly. DRESS CODE explores what’s in-between. As a bisexual creator, I’m fascinated by the spectrum of ways a woman can identify in the world. DRESS CODE was shot in Austin, Texas with a 66% female crew. Queer representation was a vital part of the passion project both on-camera and behind-the-scenes. The score was written & performed by glitter-pop Austin native Benjamin Violet (PELVIS WRESTLEY). Guided by the works of Jill Soloway (TRANSPARENT), Dee Rees (PARIAH), and Desiree Akhavan (APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR), the project began as a love letter to radical queer women whose art challenges norms. My ultimate dream is for the film to make presentation feel more comfortable for female, trans, and gender non-conforming folks.