When I heard about a new Oscar-qualifying short about neighbors in New York City, I knew I had to watch it. Having lived in three boroughs and had my fair share of crazy neighbors (not just in NYC), I knew I could relate to something about this short.
Troy is about a loving couple who start to hear the loud sex noises all hours of the day and night from their next-door neighbor, Troy. It turns out he is a sex worker giving men happy endings during the day and is in a relationship himself, hence the moans at night.
However, when they find out Troy and his boyfriend break up, they are worried for their neighbor and decide to help cheer him up.
I spoke with the director, Mike Donahue, about this oddly sweet comedy.
Me: This story is relatable, I am sure, for many reasons. Everyone, including myself, has a neighbor story. How has it been with viewers?
Donahue: It has been surprising and people have been sharing their crazy stories too. We have been touring the short around festivals and screenings. One story, in particular, happened in the midwest, where I am from (Missouri), one man stood up afterward and said “I see now that gay people are people too.” So it is interesting to see what people zero in on in these 16 minutes.
I would also say it sheds light on sex workers, too, because at first, I thought the neighbor was just really inconsiderate, but this is his actual job, hence the noises during the day.
Yes, exactly. What is funny is that no one really asked why these neighbors don’t know each other anyway. But it is very true that in big cities, in a small vicinity, people don’t know each other. You don’t actually have a real relationship with the people you see almost on a daily basis and share your space, it’s is just not the type of relationship that can take up room in your head space.
Why do you think the couple gets invested in Troy’s life?
I think they are overly settled and Troy brings peaks and valleys. He has introduced to them extreme desire and then despair, a variety for this couple that just has a routine down.
Was there a reason for it to be a straight couple and then a gay neighbor?
A couple of reasons. One is that we all are dealing with a puritanical idea of sex.
“So the idea that the first wall that this couple have to break through is somebody being incredibly promiscuous and there are ways that assumptions and stereotypes play in different communities based on sexuality and that was something we were interested in sort of hooking into and exploiting it and undermine and complicate that.:Mike Donahue, Director
We also were interested in queerness. There is a sense of openness and possibilities of sexuality so we wanted to explore that too.
I enjoyed this film, and it really does make you rethink what it means to be a good neighbor. Watch the trailer:
More info on the film can be found here: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt15940454/
*Image from IMDb