Billy Porter Talks Directing “Anything’s Possible”

Billy Porter’s directorial debut, the film “Anything’s Possible,” explores the life of Kelsa (Eva Reign), a high-school senior who loves animals, plans on going to college to study nature cinematography, and harbors a crush on Khal (Abubakr Ali ), the cute, almost preternaturally kind boy in her art class. She is also transgender and spends her evenings making videos about her experiences navigating high school.

Adhering to the blueprint of a traditional rom-com, the movie follows Kelsa and Khal’s relationship, beginning — in Gen Z fashion — with a Reddit post Khal makes expressing the nervousness and excitement he feels about asking out his classmate. Despite some drama, they eventually get together, and the movie traces their romance as it blossoms through damaged friendships and the looming question of postgraduation life. Peppered throughout with bright neon hues and eye-catching animal videos, the film — which premiered on July 15 at Outfest — is unique for the ways it authentically incorporates social media, and for its refusal to align with stereotypes. Instead, it presents a vision of a world where being trans is — if not seamlessly accepted by everyone — supported and even celebrated.

Porter is best known for his work on “Pose,” a show that explores New York’s ballroom scene in the 1980s and ’90s. The series broke ground in many ways, centering the experiences of black and brown queer and trans people and unearthing a magnificent story in the process. But while “Pose” was a look back at the past — and often an unflinching one, exploring pain and struggle alongside the ecstatic glamor of the ballroom scene — “Anything’s Possible” is eyeing a potential future.

“Billy wanted this film to be something devoid of trauma,” Reign told POPSUGAR prior to the film’s release. “He also always gave me so much freedom to just play with Kelsa,” she added. “Anything’s Possible” doesn’t shy away from the complexities and nuances of being trans, though. Still, it features a very positive parent-child relationship between Reign and her mom, played by Renée Elise Goldsberry, and Kelsa is resplendently confident, stylish, and full of big dreams. Based on Porter’s direction, “I really started everything with joy,” Reign said, and it shows.

For Porter, while joy was at the center of his goals in terms of the film’s overall message, he did not take the task at hand lightly. “Being behind the camera, there’s an urgency in the sense of — I am at the helm of creating a space for the communities that have not been seen,” Porter tells POPSUGAR. “And that is very powerful.”

The movie felt almost like an inevitability to him, a natural next step in the career trajectory of someone who has long pushed at the limits of what’s perceived to be possible simply by being himself, fully and without apology. “The project chose me,” he says, “based on the choices and decisions I’ve made in my life to choose my own authenticity. So this was a natural outgrowth of that.”

With “Anything’s Possible,” Porter has created a blueprint for what queer cinema can look like when it doesn’t center on trauma but also doesn’t erase the nuances—and the creativity and the possibilities—of queerness. In a 2021 interview with The New York Times, Porter mentioned his sense of responsibility to Hollywood and his understanding that he is at the forefront of that change. “Everybody who comes holding behind me and who’s with me, we’re Hollywood’s feet to the fire,” he said to the outlet. “We’re holding the world’s feet to the fire in every area. We have to be in charge of that. We can’t wait for other people to do anything for us.” “Anything’s Possible” is currently streaming on Prime Video.

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