Interview by Paul Salfen
This surreal sci-fi tinged buddy comedy follows a curmudgeonly gay dwarf (Matthew August Jeffers) and his free-spirited neighbor (Sarah Hay) who hit the road in search of an alien abduction on a trip that will alter their relationship—and their sense of reality—forever. Along the way, their friendship will be tested by shroom-addled survivalists, overzealous cosplayers, and the painful realization that we possibly may be alone in the universe.
San Francisco Magazine said of the film, “remarkable, staggeringly original…sure to become an indie cult classic” and Hammer To Nail wrote “There’s something for everyone…the film works as a buddy comedy, a late in life coming of age story, a science-fiction tale, and of course a queer road movie.”
UNIDENTIFIED OBJECTS features multi-layered performances from leads Matthew August Jeffers and Golden Globe-nominee Sarah Hay (Flesh & Bone). Additional cast include Roberta Colindrez (Vida, upcoming A League of Their Own), and Hamish Allan-Headley (Mayor of Kingstown).
Says director Zuleta, “Our film is a platonic love story about finding connection in a divided world that reflects my own experiences adapting to a new country. If UNIDENTIFIED OBJECTS can show even one restless soul how much they matter, then all of our work and sacrifice was absolutely worth it.”
Lead actor Jeffers is a 30-year-old little person (LP) who was born with a form of dwarfism so rare that it was initially only referred to as “Matthew’s Disease.” UNIDENTIFIED OBJECTS is his feature film debut, following an acclaimed theatre career in New York City, and TV work including The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and New Amsterdam.
“Aside from UNIDENTIFIED OBJECTS, every part I have played on stage and screen was written for a person of average height,” says Jeffers. “I’ve always had to go into the audition room and change a director’s mind about how they see a role. But this project marks a change for me and for all of us in the LP community. So I’m here with my shovel to try and pave the way for others as much as I can.”
Featuring songs by queer iconic musician Perfume Genius and a standout analog synthesizer soundtrack by Sebastian Zuleta, the film is a bracingly original, character-driven story of misfits fighting to find their place in the world.
Directed by NYC-based Colombian filmmaker & commercial director Juan Felipe Zuleta and written by Leland Frankel (longtime creative collaborators), UNIDENTIFIED OBJECTS marks their feature film debut, and is also an important milestone in the history of complex cinematic representation for LP.
After world premiering at 2022 Inside Out, the film won awards this summer at Frameline and Outfest LBGTQ+ film festivals. Fantastic Fest 2022 marks its Texas premiere.