A chat with Triple Threat’s director Stacey Maltin

(Stacey Maltin, director of Triple Threat)

A positive sex story that explores the nuances and fluidity of queerness could only be told by the open-minded and open-hearted filmmaker Stacey Maltin.

Maltin’s debut feature, Triple Threat is a queer-centric film that tells the story of three best friends—on the verge of their Broadway debut—whose relationships are put to the test when diverging dreams meet the realities of adulthood. Reel 360 caught up with Stacey as she was promoting Triple Threat at Lighthouse International Film Festival.

Maltin’s passion radiates in creating stories that showcase queer characters with universal issues in which their queerness isn’t a traumatic aspect of the story, but just a given circumstance. Of her film Maltin says, “I like to tell stories like Triple Threat, about humans having universal human experiences who just happen to be queer.”

Being a bisexual woman herself, Stacey carries queer sexuality close to her heart. Her life experience navigating the often sexually and LGBTQ oppressive world with such a sex-positive outlook has shaped her reason for telling these kinds of stories.

With a progressive and inclusive upbringing in San Fransisco, that included attending Pride Parades with her mother and performing at Harvey Milk Center for the Arts, Maltin’s lens of queerness, women, and her own bisexuality is seen through her eyes of passion and joy.

Martin feels, “as a bisexual, woman, I think the world would be a better and less misogynistic place if there continues to be a representation of sexually fluid people, where the characters are living their lives fully but their queerness itself isn’t questioned. Each of us can only tell stories from an authentic place, and for me, the way the world around me has always looked has a lot of awesome queer people with a variety of sexual preferences and points of view. I don’t think of myself as making queer art, I think of making art that is full of characters who represent the world around me.” 

Triple Threat has also been an official selection for the Blackbird, Out Shine LGBTQ, 24 Pink Apple, and Twister Alley (nominated for Best Director) film festivals. 

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The NYU Tisch School of the Arts graduate will also world premiere Triple Threat at the Oscar-qualifying Cinequest film festival.  

With this film and her work in general, the female filmmaker tells Reel 360 she wants to “tell stories of women who don’t fit into the conventional molds of a virgin, Madonna, whore, etc. and in turn break those compartmentalized boxes women are reduced to and break the stereotypes that bi and queer-identifying individuals are also minimized to.”

Not only does Stacey have a passion for stories of bisexual women being told, but additionally stories from the female gaze where sexual pleasure is being had. With all her films she hopes to infuse the world with nuance; “nuance is my favorite thing in the world and also the thing the world is lacking most.”

Maltin at her core is an extremely optimistic and hopeful person. With that inherent hope she intends “that people feel joy and acceptance out of my work; and that queer people will see a part of humanity in themselves on the screen they haven’t had the chance to before and possibly even inspire them to explore different parts of themselves.” 

Stacey recognizes that she was extremely lucky to grow up in a queer-positive city and family and hopes her open way of viewing sexuality can result in more people existing with and growing up with accepting queer energy.  Even with that privilege, as a bisexual woman in the queer community and film community, she has often been challenged with the question of “are you queer enough?”

As a fellow bisexual woman, Stacey and I connected on the perplexed pressure from both the cisc and LBTQ  communities to “pick a side” and the judgment of “not being queer enough” for having been in more opposite sexual relationships than same-sex relationships.

Maltin believes sexuality is not something that can be compartmentalized into a restricted box,  that sexual experience doesn’t necessarily equal sexual orientation, and your very personal sexual relationship to yourself and your own sexual attractions are what make up your sexual identity. 

Stacey’s answer to the question, “are you queer enough?”  for her, for I, and for all bisexuals is “you are queer enough, you exist in your nuances, in your fluidity, and in wherever your sexuality is.”

Megan Penn reports on the indie film market and anything that empowers women and underrepresented groups.