Toronto Youth Shorts film festival will be taking place this Saturday (August 6th) at Innis Town Hall. With 44 films on the roster, the range of subject matter is as eclectic as it gets.

In Flush, two best friends figure out who they are and who they want to be in front of the bathroom mirror. We do a lot of introspective thought in the bathroom too, so we decided to shoot some questions to filmmaker Maisie Jacobson and writer/actress Natasha Greenblatt.

You have worked together on several other shorts that take place in washrooms….tell us more, please. 

We have written 12 other shorts that focus on the same two friends, as well as other important people in their lives. Together the series examines mental health, intimacy, bodies, sexuality, and the uncomfortable process of self discovery. And they all take place in bathrooms. We hope to make them into a web series one day.

In your opinion, what could we take from being vulnerable with each other in private spaces out into the public?

Natasha: Certain things are taboo because we make them that way. Things like our periods, the ways we alter our bodies to achieve societal beauty standards, and abortion, to name a few. When these things are whispered about between women in private spaces, they become connected with shame and secrecy. Talking about them in public can de-stigmatize them and help destroy any negativity associated with them. I talk about my period a lot, and often with men in a casual way, because I feel like: I have to go through it, why shouldn’t they know about it? Also, I, like many women, have had an abortion. I think it’s better to talk about hard things than to keep them hidden.

How do people become confident?

Natasha: When you find out, can you tell me? I don’t think confidence is a static thing. It ebbs and flows, like happiness. But definitely getting older helps. Finding your voice, and using it. Finding out what you’re good at and what you love doing, and doing those things more and more. Some people are lucky and have grown up with people telling them how great they are all the time. Other people have had to claw their way towards confidence. Some people are outwardly super confident but inside are dying little deaths every day. For me, it’s a constant challenge, but one that makes life interesting.

What, in your opinion, are the best traits in a best friend?

Maisie: Kindness, intelligence, and a good sense of humour. I like being friends with people who can laugh at themselves, who are curious and interested in the world, and who really like to talk.

Do we all spend too much time gazing into the bathroom mirror?

Maisie: Probably! As women, since we’re conditioned to think our worth is dependent upon our looks, this can be especially exhausting. My friend used to run her own farm and sometimes spent many months without a mirror. She felt the best about how she looked during that time, which I think is very telling.

It can also be fun and empowering to play around with our image and how we present ourselves. I suppose it’s about finding a balance.

Check out Flush at the Toronto Youth Shorts film festival this Saturday at Innis Town Hall. We promise you, it will inspire you to write and shoot something! Or at the very least, it will spark great conversation.