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When actress Shannon Beeby decided to try her hand behind the camera, she drew on her experiences growing up in Pensacola as she wrote and directed R.S.V.P., her first short film. Last week, Beeby was back in Pensacola to attend the film’s debut screening at Pensacola’s STAMPED: LGBT Film Festival.

The four-day festival, which concluded on Saturday, screened more than 20 award-winning short and feature-length films. “When I discovered that Pensacola had an LGBT film festival, I knew right away that this was the first place I wanted to screen the film,” said Beeby.

R.S.V.P. centers on the story of a grieving widower who returns to his husband’s hometown to scatter his ashes, and who — to honor his last wishes — has invited his husband’s estranged family to join him.

Trailer for R.S.V.P. (Courtesy Bee Nest Films)

Beeby said the film was inspired in part by her friend Dean, who came out as gay while the two attended Tate High School in the late 1990s. While Dean’s friends and family were supportive, that experience was unfortunately not the norm for many young people coming out as gay in the south. “I started thinking and sort of daydreaming and exploring different ideas that I had had, and that’s when I came across this story that my best friend Dean had told me about a guy he was seeing who had been disowned by his family,” Beeby said. “I started to imagine a really sad future for the two of them, and that’s how R.S.V.P. was born.”

For more about R.S.V.P., visit http://www.thebeenest.com/films/.

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