The cast and crew of ‘Good Kisser’ is 75 percent women and/or LGBTQ.

Threesomes are hot. This is a known fact. Having a sexual encounter with not one but two people (with two sets of hands, tongues, fingers, genitals, etc.) opens up erotic possibilities and new emotional frontiers. But threesomes are tricky. If someone isn't up-front about their feelings—or is withholding information—things can get weird.

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This dynamic is the subject of local director and screenwriter Wendy Jo Carlton's Good Kisser, which premieres at this year's Seattle International Film Festival. It opens with couple Kate (Rachel Paulson) and Jenna (Kari Alison Hodge) taking a rideshare to go have some hot threesome-times with the sexy and worldly Mia (Julia Eringer).

Mia is the sort of woman who stays at her friend's opulent house because she travels too much to really settle down. She takes weeklong surfing lessons in Hawaii. She wears flower-child blouses with vests. She's British. But she's deep, and she has a secret. Jenna is her near opposite, an insecure people pleaser who has misgivings about the erotic encounter.

Kate knows Mia from her work as a bartender and is the threesome instigator who sets everything in motion. Eagerly kissing both women when they are alone, Kate is ready to throw down and have at it, despite Jenna's protestations. Jenna doesn't know if Mia is attracted to her, has a hard time climaxing with new people, and constantly wonders if she can actually go through with it. It's a love triangle with thorny edges.

Filmed in a house in Wallingford, the movie unfolds over the course of one evening. The women play spin the bottle, read palms, rub ice on each other, dance—and there's a particularly provocative scene with bright lime popsicles. With help from director of photography Ryan Purcell, Carlton emphasizes a vision of sex that's different than what we're used to seeing on-screen. There's no brashness to the way the women touch each other, but a softness, one that's still raw, still hot. It's sapphic as hell.

Carlton recently moved back to Seattle after spending 12 years living in Chicago, where she worked on other projects like Easy Abby, a queer web series available on Revry.tv. In a recent phone interview, Carlton told me the filmmaking community in Seattle is smaller and scrappier than the one in the Windy City, but its size makes it easier to connect with other queer filmmakers and industry folks.

It was important to Carlton to bring queer people and young women in to "be involved in and learn and observe" how a film comes together, while also getting some experience in an industry infamously unkind to anyone who isn't a straight white dude. The result is that the cast and crew of Good Kisser is 75 percent women and/or LGBTQ. Which is rare and cool.

Part of Good Kisser's appeal is its queer relationships, and trying to parse through the tension and dynamics of the women's relationships to each other. Clearly, the power isn't evenly distributed among the trio. Did something go down between Kate and Mia before the threesome? Does Kate's flippant attitude regarding Jenna's hesitation to fuck reflect something deeper and crueler? Do Jenna and Mia actually click better together than either of them click with Kate?

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The film offers a solid look into the many knotty elements of a sexual encounter between three people. Its softness is an intriguing alternative to the usual male-gaze-heavy depiction of the beast with two backs. Though at times the film can be overly chatty—show me some tits!—and doesn't tread entirely new territory, Paulson, Hodge, and Eringer have excellent, believable chemistry that makes the story hum along and come to life.

Want free tickets to this movie? Enter to win tickets to the Friday screening here or the Saturday screening here!

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