Hailey Abernathy is a 22-year-old writer and filmmaker based in Coastal Virginia who loves reading, painting, gardening, traveling and surfing. She currently works as a production assistant, writer and camera operator at WTKR News 3 in Norfolk, Va. and previously studied film at Old Dominion University. Here she wrote, directed and served as a crew member on multiple student films. After graduating, Hailey obtained a traveling job with a student film festival, which led to the creation of “Flood”. Out of all the projects she has worked on, this is the one that she is most passionate about. The theme is deeply personal, and she is grateful to her amazing cast and crew for helping her share her story and vision with the world. Hailey hopes to continue making films that raise awareness on social issues and plans to obtain her M.F.A. in screenwriting to further her career.
“Flood” is the story of a young lesbian woman who struggles with her identity and is faced with overwhelming disapproval from the religious community regarding her sexuality. In a sense, it is my story. It’s not autobiographical, but there are so many elements of myself within it.
I was raised in a small town in coastal Virginia where the sole lesbian had a mullet, smoked a pack of cigarettes a day, worked at the local grocery store and fulfilled the presupposition formed by every other person in the county. I also grew up in a southern church. I will never forget the day when a guest speaker came in and claimed she had walked through hell with Jesus in one of her dreams and saw, locked in a towering cage, “men loving men and women loving women.” To this day the thought still makes my stomach drop; how could it not after having something engraved into my head for so many years? However, now I must stop and think: love? How is there love in hell? How is “women loving women” considered hell? That sounds quite heavenly to me.
I wrote “Flood” in response to this experience and many others I had growing up. It is for everyone in the LGBTQ+ community that has felt their stomach drop when religion is mentioned. It is for everyone who feels like their friends, family and community have abandoned them or tried to change who they are. It is for everyone.