Aina Dumlao

Actor. Filmmaker. Mother of Chihuahuas.

Actor. Filmmaker. Mother of chihuahuas.

First Girl I Loved

I do not have a refined and articulate understanding or appreciation of film a'la the late great film critic Roger Ebert. I was neither born to a family of filmmakers (hello Coppolas!) or went to university for drama or film. My only credential is something I was born with: an innate love for film.

While most kids my age dragged their parents to Little Mermaid (which I thoroughly enjoyed too, by the way), I found myself sneaking out of bed to watch late-night TV showings of epics like Gone With The Wind. I was 8 years old, mind you, waaaay too young to appreciate the complexities of Rhett and Scarlett's relationship or the historic references in the film. Nonetheless, I was in awe of Gone With The Wind and all its 234-minute splendor. Something about the film spoke to me and moved me. And to this day any film that makes me feel, makes me think, or gives me a better understanding of people like and unlike me... is a good film in my book.

Clark Gable & Vivien Leigh

I recently saw 'First Girl I Loved' - an indie film about young love and all its awkwardness, innocence (and soon-after loss of it) - at its L.A. premiere. The deft hand of writer/director Kerem Sanga wove a beautiful, intricate tapestry filled with subtle yet powerful performances by all the actors. 'First Girl I Loved,' most importantly, shone a spotlight on the struggles of LGBTQ youth, especially those who are just coming to terms with their own sexuality and are afraid of not being accepted and understood by their loved ones. The film moved me, and made feel for the LGBTQ community more deeply.

Stills from 'First Girl I Loved' on IMDb.

Stills from 'First Girl I Loved' on IMDb.

If you are a lover of GREAT films like I am, First Girl I Loved is a must see. And if you are someone who is struggling to come to terms with your gender identity, or are afraid of coming out...this film is for you. Its a beautiful reminder that it all starts with YOU loving YOU and accepting yourself irrevocably and completely. Its a reminder that there are many of us around you who will LOVE YOU and ACCEPT YOU for who you for the unique and beautiful person that you are.

First Girl I Loved stars Brianna Hildebrand (aka Deadpool's Negasonic Teenage Warhead) and Dylan Gelula (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Casual). Available on iTunes and Amazon.