“While in the closet, I felt like I was constantly dodging bullets. Almost any social interaction could put me in a position where I had to lie, deflect, escape and outsmart in order to not ‘blow my cover,’ ” Hinton said. “It was necessary for me to think of these as battles that could be won. It was the only way I could feel victorious and in control. Almost everything else about being in the closet felt like a loss.”
A professional animator who graduated in 2015 from UW-Stout’s animation and digital media program — then called entertainment design — Hinton began working evenings and weekends on “Closet Combat” in 2018 as a personal side project.
After finishing the first three-minute episode, he entered it into film festivals across the U.S. to help gauge its potential impact. He recently proudly announced on his YouTube channel that “Closet Combat” will be in seven film fests.
“I put a lot of work into the piece and felt proud of the result, but I still can barely believe it. It’s blowing my mind. I’m pretty darned excited,” said Hinton, who works on contract as an animation/motion designer for the Seattle office of Slalom.
He is in the process of moving to Minneapolis after previously working as a motion designer for Weber Shandwick in Seattle.
He plans to attend the Minnesota Webfest, which will be held at the Mall of America, Thursday, Sept. 23, to Sunday, Sept. 26, as well as virtually.
The other festivals are:
- aGLIFF/Prism Film Festival, in Austin, Texas, which ended Sept. 6
- Fighting Spirit All Action and Martial Arts Film Festival, in London, England, held Sept. 11-12
- Los Angeles Queer Film Festival, held Sept. 16
- Cinema Diverse: the Palm Springs LGBTQ Film Festival, which ends Sept. 26
- qFLIX Philadelphia 2021: the LGBTQ+ Film Festival, Sept. 26 to Oct. 3
- Queer 2 Queer Fest, Nov. 20-27.
Also, “Closet Combat” will be available to the public sometime in October on Hinton’s YouTube channel.
National Coming Out Day is Monday, Oct. 11.
The realization that, through the film festivals and other promotion of “Closet Combat,” he could reach two types of audiences also has him excited.
“The main audience is anyone who has been in the closet or had to hide a part of themselves from others. I would have loved to have seen something like this when I was growing up. I hope that members of my LGBTQ+ community feel seen when they watch this,” he said.