Come Clean

“An insightful characterization of the fear, and yet need, of an other.”

– F3 Film Magazine

Come Clean

A young gay man, struggling with OCD, white-knuckles his way through a Grindr hookup and makes a mess of things.

Director Profile

Sal Bardo

Director Bio :

An L.A.-based writer and filmmaker, Sal Bardo studied music at New York University and acting at Herbert Berghof Studio. After several years working in theater in New York, Sal made his directorial debut with the short film “Requited,” which premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival and received the Audience Award for Best First Time Filmmaker at Washington D.C.’s International LGBTQ Film Festival. He wrote, produced, and directed five short films in five years, including “Pink Moon,” which won the Jury Prize for Best Short Film at the Big Apple Film Festival, and “Great Escape,” which was nominated for the Iris Prize, the world’s largest LGBTQ short film award. His films have screened at festivals around the world and have been viewed over 35 million times on YouTube and Vimeo. Sal’s other credits include “Chaser” (2013) and “Sam” (2012).

Director Statement :

I didn’t touch another human being for more than a year because of COVID. And I started thinking about what that does to someone — mentally, emotionally, and physically — and how even in the Before Times, connecting with people was becoming harder and harder. The world has shrunk due to the speed of technology and the proliferation of social media apps like Facebook and Tinder. I can log onto Grindr and find out how many feet away a guy is, what every inch of his body looks like, and yet feel more and more isolated. Mental health is another invisible barrier that can prevent us from making connections with each other. The International O.C.D. Foundation estimates that about 1 in 100 adults (or between two to three million people in the U.S.) currently live with obsessive compulsive disorder. Mental health issues are even more common in the LGBTQ community than in the general population, but you don’t have to be queer, or have O.C.D., to empathize with what it’s like to feel alone.
“Come Clean” is a very personal story, drawing on my own struggles to connect with people, and all the little ways we sabotage ourselves and our relationships. The film examines how mental health prevents a young gay man from fully expressing who he is, creating a realistic portrait that’s sometimes frightening but also filled with humor and hope. I hope that when you watch it, you give yourself permission to laugh, maybe even cry, but most importantly feel empowered to reach out to someone.