aGLIFF Film Review/Overview: Erica’s First Holy Shit

Created and filmed in Austin, Erica’s First Holy Shit had the World Premiere at PRISM 35: aGLIFF’s 35th annual LGBTQ+ Film Festival during the in-person festival that continues in virtual mode starting August 29th. The festival films can be viewed with the purchase of a badge this week and here is the link:

Austin and the greater Austin area has many creatives who have been hit hard by the pandemic as well of course the higher rents and general cost of living in this Central Texas area. Many of us in the city know full well how this issue has hit many residents/former residents, friends and/or just fellow citizens in general. Erica Nix and her creative team have certainly tackled the issues related to lack of affordability and the impact on the individuals living through it – and with a comedic flair.

I can tell someone the film has comedy, but everyone has a different sense of humor and can embrace what the filmmakers create. When a film is described as a mash up of genres, then the viewer must be ready to anticipate just about anything on screen. This is not a film that is made for viewers who only like films with stories that run from point A to point Z and that’s it. Colorful and creative it is, but it may not be easy to watch and continue to hold someone’s interest story wise.     

Short Synopsis: Erica Nix, Austin’s fitness and workout guru, presents her first feature-length film showcasing a large cast of Austin’s celebrated queer icons. In the spiritual follow-up to her 2019 performance art piece, This Is Not A Cult, Erica’s First Holy Shit, is a comedic psychosexual lesbian fantasia of adventure and discovery.

Her psychedelic opus is a tribute to old Austin, an homage to keeping things weird in a changing landscape that is no longer artist-friendly, and a salute to trying desperately to do the right thing but never getting it quite right. In a bizarre instance of life imitating art, the film depicts Erica running for mayor of Austin, which in turn has resulted in Erica actually running for mayor of Austin.

Taking inspiration from the likes of Waking Life and The Holy Mountain, the film is a psychedelic mash up of genres and formats ranging from confessional monologues, outré humor, game show segments, explorations in self-help, and mind-bending visual freak outs. Tackling some of Erica’s most vulnerable insecurities, Erica’s First Holy Shit is a personal film satire on the mass culture of seekers and the insatiable need for personal fulfillment. Join Erica as she explores religion, psychedelic rituals, therapeutic healing, and politics. Will Erica’s inner truth set her free or set the world on fire?

Erica Nix, producer/principal actor, is an Austin based filmmaker, performance artist, aerobics instructor, choreographer, and body positivity ambassador. Nix performed as a back-up dancer in Richard Simmons last workout DVD before he made his infamous transition into seclusion. Erica’s First Holy Shit is her feature length debut film project. Her short films Air Sex and Just Pee screened at Hump Fest.

In Erica’s First Holy Shit, her character realizes to make a difference in her community she needs to become involved in local politics. In an instance of life imitating art, Erica collected the necessary signatures and is now on the ballot for mayor. She is running on a platform to make affordable living more accessible, as well as protecting creative spaces, music venues, and gay bars from the hyper-gentrification that has been changing Austin’s cultural landscape.

This film was made collaboratively by the team of This Is Not A Cult (Erica Nix, Jessica Gardner, Sawyer Stoltz and Jeremy Von Stilb). Many of the key filmmaking credits listed were shared amongst the team in a fluid and collective manner. Directors: Jessica Gardner, Sawyer Stoltz, Jeremy Von Stilb; Lead DP + Editor: Jessica Gardner; Screenwriters: Sawyer Stoltz, Jeremy Von Stilb; Producers: Erica Nix, Jessica Gardner, Sawyer Stoltz, Jeremy Von Stilb; Production Designer: Aaron Flynn; Original Music: Malika Boudissa with additional music by Thor Harris.

This is an interesting interview with Erica Nix from April 2022 prior to a fundraising event:

Nix was awarded the Austin Critics Table for best independent project in 2016 and for Best Personal Trainer in 2017 and 2018. Her collaborations with her teams of dancers from her workout classes are a continual gift to promote self-esteem and community growth. Her notable work includes This Is Not A Cult, a variety show performed on the side of the Austin Motel pool with the audience floating in the water, as well as pieces at Outsider Fest and Fusebox Festival.

USA / 2022 / 75 min / Color / Feature Narrative

Source: Erica Nix, aGLIFF

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