| Asbury Park Press
'Port Authority': Trailer for Leyna Bloom's new movie
Leyna Bloom and Fionn Whitehead star in the drama 'Port Authority' from executive producer Martin Scorsese.
Courtesy of Momentum Pictures
Leyna Bloom has been waiting for a long time to share "Port Authority" with the world.
Bloom — who appeared on the current, third season of the FX series "Pose" — stars in the heartfelt independent drama, which had its world premiere at France's prestigious Cannes Film Festival back in 2019.
Featuring Bloom as a performer in New York City's underground ballroom scene, "Port Authority" finally arrives in theaters on Friday, and will be available via video-on-demand outlets on Tuesday, June 1.
“I’m just happy that everything’s happening right now. There’s so much going on in the world and this movie is part of that coming out of this pandemic," said Bloom.
It turns out that "Port Authority," a film that hinges on the importance of human connection, is arriving when it is most necessary.
"We need love in this world," Bloom said. "And this movie’s coming out right on time, when we desperately need this.”
"Port Authority" has also made film history. In 2019 Bloom, who is Black and Filipino, was the first transgender actress of color to star in a movie that premiered at Cannes in the festival's 72-year history.
Bloom has been busy breaking barriers in recent years.
As detailed by USA TODAY, this year she was the first transgender woman of color to appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue after being one of the first openly transgender models at New York Fashion Week in 2017 and the first transgender woman of color in Vogue India that same year.
In "Port Authority," she delivers a captivating performance as Wye, an aspiring dancer who forges a deep connection with Fionn Whitehead's Paul, a Pennsylvania teen struggling to find his footing in New York City.
For too long, characters like Wye and relationships like the one between her and Paul went un-depicted in romantic dramas. That lack of representation is changing.
“I think Wye’s character, and any person that is being kind of not perceived in society, is finally getting a chance to be seen in the light," she said. "So I think it’s so important for entertainment and media and fashion to really have this moment and really understand, ‘Why has it taken so long to have this moment?’ and to continue embarking on this in every single part of humanity in their future."
"Port Authority" was written and directed by Danielle Lessovitz, a filmmaking instructor at Rutgers University's Mason Gross School of the Arts in New Brunswick.
The film, the feature debut for Lessovitz, arrives in theaters and on demand with the support of Martin Scorsese, who served as executive producer.
Lessovitz joins the likes of Josh and Bennie Safide and Josephine Decker, fellow rising independent voices whose "Uncut Gems" (2019) and "Shirley" (2020) were also executive-produced by Scorsese.
Scorsese's support of "Port Authority," Bloom said, "is just a testament to his work ethic and what he wants the world to see the rawness of."
"One of the first movies I saw was 'Taxi Driver,' and that movie, the element of the rawness of that film, is kind of in some similarities the same in ‘Port Authority,’ " Bloom said. "It’s this New York City person that’s just trying to figure it out (when) you don’t know where you’re at. You’re dealing with this, you’re dealing with your mind, you’re dealing with people around you. You’re dealing with love, you’re dealing with just lust, you’re dealing with family. You’re dealing with so much ... as you’re walking down the street and it’s in your face.
"So I think with him, it’s this rawness to his style of cinematography and art and pop culture that he wants to stay true to, and how to stay relevant in that is to make sure that you pass that torch to the next generation of directors and writers and storytellers. And Danielle was the best person that he could have passed the torch to. She has a different approach about New York City and culture and love and masculinity and femininity that Martin Scorsese is known for, and Danielle really revisits that in a unique and a vivid new way.”
"Port Authority," a Momentum Pictures release, opens in select theaters Friday and will be available via video-on-demand outlets Tuesday, June 1. Rated R, 101 minutes, momentumpictures.net/port-authority.
Alex Biese has been writing about art, entertainment, culture and news on a local and national level for more than 15 years.