Aging Out Showcases Vancouver at It’s Queerest

Breanne Williamson talks the premiere of her second short film and the community that made it a reality

Gwen Pemberton (she/her) // Arts & Culture Editor

Hannah Bontinen (she/her) Illustrator

“There’s gotta be more people like me. Where the fuck are they hiding?” 

That is the experience of a lot of people new to the queer community in Vancouver, including Breanne Williamson, the writer, director and star of the short film Aging Out. The film is Wiliiamson’s second short, a cozy holiday rom-com following Jen, a lesbian woman bordering on 30, as she tries everything in her power to win back her ex before her birthday on New Year’s Day.

The world premiere of Aging Out took place at the Rio Theatre on Oct. 17, 2023, and the Courier was invited to attend. Before the show even started, it was clear that Vancouver had come out to support. People made friends in the sold-out audience while they listened to a playlist — curated by Williamson herself — which would be the perfect soundtrack for season three of Heartstopper (if you know you know). The room was so full of love, and the premiere felt like a gathering designed to bring Vancouver’s queer community — particularly the lesbian community — together. Williamson said that was her goal exactly.

Since the early days of Tumblr, Williamson has been something of a local celebrity. By around 2010, she had amassed 10 thousand followers on Tumblr and from there moved to YouTube, then eventually to Instagram as well. She also has a podcast called I Can Explain which she co-hosts with Sean Lusk. The podcast, about to release it’s 225th episode, is LGBTQIA+ focused and answers all the questions, “that you are too afraid to ask.” In fact, all of Williamson’s content is about LQBTQIA+ experiences, with a specific interest in her hometown, Vancouver.

Coming Out was Williamson’s debut as a director. The eight minute short was released to her YouTube channel in 2019 and has since been viewed over 2 million times. The comedy spoofs the coming out process, and shows that it is not linear and in fact unending. The short was shot in part on the Bosa stages at Capilano University, Williamson herself being a graduate of the CapU Business Administration program.

With Aging Out she wanted to go bigger. “I really wanted it to be long enough that it could feel like an event… like a way for folks to gather, whether it be in the comments or in person with one another.” The premiere at the Rio was the first step. Screenings are also planned in Seattle, L.A. and Portland. 

“Most of what I do is internet-based. So there’s something special about watching things in person and actually experiencing live reactions,” says Williamson, “I just see numbers and it’s hard to remember that those are actual human beings.” The community aspect of Aging Out was just as integral in the production of the film as in the release. 

Over $30,000 were raised to produce Aging Out, and everyone in front of and behind the camera is Canadian. Vancouver itself is also on full display. A large chunk of the film was shot at the iconic Numbers Cabaret on Davie St. Williamson says management was a huge part of making the film happen. “[They were] so wonderful and we had a blast shooting there.”

Because the film was made up entirely of Canadians, shooting did not have to be put on hold due to the WGA/SAG-AFTRA strikes, the latter of which only ended this November. This ended up being a stroke of luck for the low-budget indie, which might have had a hard time bouncing back from such a prolonged stoppage otherwise. Williamson also talked about the process of finding actors to round out the cast. She says during the process she thought, “This is why it’s so hard to get a role. Because everyone’s so fucking talented.”

When it comes to the inspiration for this film in particular, Willimason drew on her love of romantic comedies. She noticed that there weren’t many that focused on the queer experience, and those that did exist were mostly coming of age, and coming out, stories. 

“I’m here for any sort of representation, but, you know, we live on past high school,” she said. Williamson wanted to create a light-hearted Sapphic film full of fully realized queer characters, “living their authentic lives and experiencing the normal hurdles and hardships of life.”

Aging Out is much more focused on the uncertainty that can come with entering a new stage of life. Williamson was about to turn 30 herself when she developed the script, and was inspired by her own experiences, as well as those of her friends. She said as messy as her twenties were, she had always expected to have her life sorted out by 30, but as she got older and talked to women in their thirties, forties and fifties she realized, “it’s all a sham.”

The film takes all that on and more, with Williamson’s signature wit and a showcase of local talent. Aging Out was produced with the hope of creating space and joy for Vancouver’s queer community, and it does just that. The film also manages to tackle what it means to be a young adult realizing that maybe you won’t ever have everything figured out.

“While that’s a scary realization. It’s also kind of a fun one,” Williamson says, “life just doesn’t end. You keep getting to rediscover yourself.” 

Aging Out will be available to watch on December 15 at

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