LGBT Film Festival Favorite That's Not Us Gains Distribution


Indiewire has reported that Strand Releasing has acquired North American distribution rights to LGBT film festival favorite, That’s Not Us.

The film follows the ups and downs of a group of friends (three couples: one straight, one gay, and one lesbian) as they relax for a weekend in a beach house at the end of summer. It garnered wildly positive reviews when it played at Outfest Los Angeles, Frameline San Francisco, InsideOut (Toronto’s LGBT Film Festival), and various other LGBT film festivals. It’s still too early to tell how many theaters the film will play in, but Strand Releasing is going to push for an early Spring 2016 release date.


Exclusive: Strand Releasing Acquires LGBT Romance 'That's Not Us'


From Indiewire:

Strand Releasing has acquired "That's Not Us," a comedic drama about three twenty-something couples -- one gay, one lesbian and one straight -- at a beach house during the end of summer. "That's Not Us" is directed by William C. Sullivan, co-written and shot by Derek Dodge, and stars Mark Berger and Sarah Wharton.


Austin Chronicle: No Rom-Com Gloss in That's Not Us

From The Austin Chronicle:

Love is a many-splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love. Relationships, on the other hand, are a bit more complex than a song lyric. At least, that's the idea behind Will Sullivan's semi-improvised romantic dramedy, That's Not Us.

The film follows three couples as they head to the beach for one last summer weekend. But what's supposed to be a fun getaway gets weighed down by real-life struggles. While the twosomes sound like the start of an offensive joke – a lesbian couple, a gay couple, and a straight couple walk into a bar – writers Sullivan and Derek Dodge instead show that, at the beach's end, all relationships share threads of commonality.

With only seven cast members (and a dog), That's Not Us dives into the complexities and nuances of relationships, both sexual and nonsexual, without ever feeling quite as trite as mainstream "gay" movies. "We shot the film last September," says Mark Berger, one of the film's producers and stars (he plays James). "The summer leading up to filming, we all rehearsed in our couples with Will. But we'd work around the scene – never quite tapping the actual bull's-eye."

Read the full article here

IndieWire: Talking To The Folks Behind The Very Sweet 'That's Not Us'


The sweet, unpretentious "That’s Not Us" -- playing Frameline this month, and Outfest and Philadelphia’s QFlix next month -- was co-written by Derek Dodge and William Sullivan, and directed by Sullivan. This charming comedy-drama features three couples—lesbians Alex (Sarah Wharton) and Jackie (Nicole Pursell); gay couple James (Mark Berger) and Spencer (David Rysdahl); and straight couple Liz (Elizabeth Gray) and Dougie (Tommy Nelms)—spending a late September weekend together at a New York beach community. While each couple spends their time alone together fucking or fighting, all the characters are dealing with partnership issues involving honesty and (mis)communication.

If the storylines are slight—the lesbians haven’t had sex in ages; the gay guys are separating because Spencer got into grad school in Chicago, and the straights are having problems of trust—“That’s Not Us” is consistently warm and engaging, thanks to the assured performances by the entire cast, who improvised most of their scenes. The scenes between Wharton and Berger, who co-produced, are particularly strong. This is a perfect film to see a summer night with someone you care about.

Sullivan and Dodge as well as Wharton and Berger chatted with /bent about making their fine film.

How did you conceive of the film, the intimate style, and the characters?

William: The impetus for the entire project was that we were seeing coming out or falling in love stories. We wanted to do something that reflected what we go through and experience on a day-to-day basis. That was the trigger that made us write down things we were thinking about. We had an outline for the characters and their arcs, and we wanted to explore these themes—the vulnerability, the physical separation of the gay couple, and the sexual offseason.

Derek: You see people in films trying to find love, or navigating new love, or it’s a break up movie, but for couples that are together, things always seem easy. But even for couples that have been together for so long, there is still work to do to make love last. We wanted to show everyday obstacles real couples face in long term relationships. Just because they have a bump doesn’t mean they will break up; they have their partner’s best interests in mind. We particularly wanted to see young gay couples doing that.

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HuffPost: "Yes, And": What Making an Independent Film Taught Me About Identity, Fear and Self-Worth as a Woman

Our own Sarah Wharton shares her experience of making ‪#‎ThatsNotUs‬ with HuffPost Women:

In acting, the first rule of improvisation is to say, "Yes, AND", the idea behind it being that a scene can only move forward if you first accept the circumstances around you, and then add to them. "Yes, AND" allows for collaboration. "Yes, AND" fosters imagination. "Yes, AND" instigates progress.

For a long time, my life felt like one "No" after another. I wanted to be an actor but couldn't even get an audition, never mind an actual role. I was working four jobs and just barely getting by. I was definitely more "starving" than "artist".

I was losing the "game" that is getting work as an actor. The truth is that I wasn't trying very hard to play it. I didn't like the rules. As a woman, I felt like I was expected to live up to an imaginary ideal perpetuated by the oversimplified narrative most female characters are placed into. I remember one particularly painful audition that required all the actresses to bring bikinis with them. Usually I would have fled from kind of request, but it was for a reputable graduate film program so, (against my better judgement) I went. I made it to the "please put your bathing suit on" phase and was then given a scene that required me to violently assault my scene partner. I asked if we could practice once or twice, just to make sure no one got hurt. Or perhaps I could just show my half-naked rage through my words? I was dismissed and received an email a few days later saying that I was "too aristocratic" for the part. I was tempted to reply "Are you sure you didn't mean 'too smart'?"

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AfterEllen: William Sullivan on his lesbian-inclusive improvised rom-com “That’s Not Us”



That’s Not Us is a different movie experience. This romantic comedy that follows three couples (one lesbian, one gay and one straight) over the course of a weekend getaway is completely improvised.

Your eyes will be glued to long-term girlfriends Alex (Sarah Wharton) and Jackie (Nicole Pursell), who are struggling with lesbian bed death, but handle it–shockingly–like adults.

We spoke with writer/director William Sullivan ahead of the movie’s world premiere. The acting in That’s Not Us is improvised. Have you ever worked on a project like this? Why did you decide to go this route with the movie?

William Sullivan: I had never done an improvised film before. I wanted to do something that was going to scare me a little bit. And this idea of going into a shoot with only an outline and letting the actors improv dialogue led to this very intangible realness to the words that were coming through.

When you watch it, you can’t put your finger on why it feels so natural, but it’s because these actors are so in the moment and have no idea what they’re going to say next. I think it lends itself to the way that couples find themselves acting when they’re alone together, which would be hard to script.

Click here to read the full interview at

Boyculture: 'That's Not Us' Review

From Boyculture:

Saw and loved That's Not Us, an intimate, character-driven indie about three couples (one gay male, one straight, one lesbian) having fun and discovering the struggles of modern-day love on a weekend getaway. It's like a '90s gay movie with Smartphones and smart observations, totally naturalistic improv dialogue and so much charm it should really cede some to the other gay movies out there. 

Out Magazine: That's Not Us Trailer Debut


The film That’s Not Us explores sex and relationships with a fresh perspective through the story of three young couples —­ one gay, one lesbian, and one straight — as they travel to a beach house to enjoy the last days of summer. Set to premiere May 23 at InsideOut, Toronto’s LGBT film festival,Out's debuting the trailer of the micro-budget indie film today.

“We wanted to make a movie about young gay men and women in committed relationships,” says William Sullivan, the film's director. “We wanted to show characters who aren’t stereotypes or comedic relief, but are deep, thoughtful and emotionally complex human beings.”

Click here to watch the trailer at

Our Composer, Xander Singh, Talks to ROLI About New Beginnings


It has been said that every end has a new beginning. Xander Singh can attest to that. He formed the eclectic chamber-pop duo Pepper Rabbit, toured with the likes of Ra Ra Riot and Passion Pit, and soon after deciding Pepper Rabbit’s demise, joined Passion Pit. He traveled the world, performing with the acclaimed synth pop act for three years, and reached the end of that road recently when health issues forced him to resign. While the change of pace and necessary spinal surgery brought on challenges, Xander has found his new beginning and he’s showing no signs of slowing.

We sat with Xander to talk about his current projects, podcasting, the Seaboard GRAND and more.

ROLI: First off, we hope you're feeling well. How has your recovery from spinal surgery been?

Xander Singh: Doing much better! Most of the pain I was in is gone, and I should be able to start physical therapy in the next few months. What I’m really looking forward to is getting back on the golf course. It’s a huge relief to just be more comfortable sitting down in front of an instrument, as it was nearly impossible for the better part of last year.

ROLI: Great to hear. So speaking of instruments, how did you get started with creating music?

XS: Well, I did a lot of musical theater growing up, and always loved singing. Eventually, I grew tired of singing other peoples’ songs and started writing my own on guitar and piano. From there, I started listening to more and more genres of music and gathering the tools to create a wider array of styles. Getting my first laptop with recording software was when I really started to create music, instead of just writing songs in my bedroom.

Click here to read the full interview at

HuffPost: Tips For Keeping Long-Term Relationships Healthy Inspired By 'That's Not Us'

A few weeks ago we ran a story about a new film that tackles the question "what does it take to make a long-term relationship last?"

As soon as we published that piece, we had you -- our dear readers -- sending in your experiences and tips from your own relationships and it got us thinking, Why don't we round a bunch of these awesome suggestions up and share them with everyone?

After all, when it comes to getting relationships right, we could probably all offer a bit of advice and what's more, we could all probably use a little advice too.

Read the full story at