Orange Vests and Cigarettes

903 Early St, Santa Fe, NM. 87501

Saturday April 27th, 3:00 – 5:00 PM

After a failed suicide attempt injures an innocent bystander, Josiah, a socially-awkward teen from a strict religious home is sentenced to community service where he crosses paths with Teresa, a trans girl convicted of shoplifting gender-affirming clothing. She’s everything he wishes he could be — confident, assertive, and totally unafraid to be herself no matter what the world tells her. But, desperate to fit in, Josiah pretends to be someone he isn’t and is quickly accepted into the ranks of the other juvenile delinquents. After witnessing the relentless transmisogyny Teresa is subjected to by his new friends, Josiah is forced to choose between doing what is right and what is easy, and finally asserts who he is, no matter the consequences.


Kyle Ensrude is a graduate of the Writing for Dramatic Media program at the University of Nevada Las Vegas where he taught Intro to Screenwriting courses while earning his Master’s of Fine Arts degree. While enrolled as an undergrad, he wrote and directed two regionally awarded student short films. Shortly after undergrad he became a 2017 IFP Minnesota Screenwriting Residency Finalist. His short film Papa Voodoo premiered at the 2021 Dances with Films festival at the historic Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. The same year, his screenplay “Snake River Bridge” became an official “Second-Rounder” at the Austin Film Festival. When he’s not writing or teaching screenwriting, he moonlights as a licensed private investigator and travels the country as often as he can along the blue highways crisscrossing the nation. He currently resides in Minneapolis.

Director Statement

I had the time of my life filming “Orange Vests & Cigarettes,” even though the time in my life the film is based on was full of uncertainty and angst. I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, but because who I was clashed with the restrictive world of their religion, I began rebelling at a young age and was consequently charged with felony vandalism at the age of 13. I was the youngest kid in community service, and it was there that the older kids taught me how to smoke cigarettes by lighting up discarded butts we’d find in the ditches along the rural county roads of central Minnesota. It was then that I truly began living in two worlds, while never quite belonging in either. While my personal arc took much longer than it does for Josiah in the film, it was through my relationships with other marginalized, fringe, and queer people that I eventually became more comfortable with myself and my place in the world. As always, I’m extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work with so many great artists and filmmakers to realize the vision for this film.

If “Orange Vests” can resonate with just one person, whether it be for an appreciation of the language and little rituals of these juvenile delinquents, or a kid who doesn’t quite feel like they belong, the countless hours invested will have been well worth it.


Kyle Ensrude


Kyle Ensrude


May May Luong


Kristina Hernandez, Ethan Edward Highsmith, Ernesto Rey, Ryan Galvan (Cinematographer)

Year Released:






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