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Photo credit Hannah Pearl Utt // Cora Bora

Cora Bora opens Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival 2024 filling the Flanagan Theatre of The Grand with laughter

By Dianne Miranda, July 11 2024—

With the quick unexpected responses in the dialogue effortlessly delivered by Megan Stalter, no one can really anticipate when and what scene will produce the bursts of laughter from the audience when watching Hannah Pearl Utt’s Cora Bora. Cora Bora is a comedy-drama that follows the life of a struggling musician, named Cora (Megan Stalter), who moved to Los Angeles from Portland. 

The film delves into weighty themes like coping after traumatic realities and desperate ways to offer solutions to problems or issues caused first handedly, yet it offsets these with humorous instances where Cora’s delusions prevail. Cora forges her own path in dealing with her dilemmas, leading to a series of almost unbelievable misadventures. This includes scenes such as an awkward one-night-stand with a flat earther, her bringing home the wrong dog during a walk after meeting new friends or a night out that almost led to a clumsy pansexual orgy. 

Cora’s life seemingly appears to be this care-free, “everything is fine” fantasy. She is in a non-monogamous open relationship with her girlfriend of five years who lives in Portland, Justine (Jojo T. Gibbs). Realizing that she is the only one left clinging to her relationship, she flies back home to attend Justine’s graduation party. She then finds out that her girlfriend has a girlfriend, Riley (Ayden Mayeri), who has been living in their old home. One of the funniest scenes in the movie includes Riley and Cora’s first interaction, fighting over the roles of being the hostess and guest of the house.

Cora’s character is complicated, dysfunctional, messy, and emotionally fragile. She is simultaneously confident, unintentionally funny and charismatic. The audience can easily sympathize with her but she also is often her own worst enemy. She can playfully navigate awkward situations like the tense but funny scene of meeting with an old friend she does not recognize in a local grocery store or her trying to steal a first-class seat of a handsome young man, Tom (Manny Jacinto), on her flight back to Portland. 

We see that music is a big part of Cora’s life. The film started with a montage of her band, The Maybe Nots, filled with happy memories preserved through Polaroids taken. It then cuts to Cora singing a song titled “Dreams Are Stupid”, offering the juxtaposition of her reality in Los Angeles. In the final scenes of the film, Cora reveals an important story that helps us understand her character better in another interaction with Tom and his band. 

Cora Bora is a chaotic quest of reclamation, self-love and a journey to facing our biggest fears in self-discovery depicting the friction of learning vulnerability. The film shows the audience that although we experience heartache and trauma, they do not define who we were, who we are and who we can become. It is a trainwreck full of physical and verbal gags taking the audience on a rollercoaster of emotions. 

Cora Bora opened the Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival with this cringe comedy and Statler’s stirring screen presence, making it easy for those watching to fall for Cora and for the festival. To learn more about the Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival, visit their website

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