Hot Seat is a coming-of-age story written and directed by Anna Kerrigan, that blends diverse genres in a unusually thoughtful way. Set at a birthday party populated by teens from an all-female school, the film plays with “Mean Girls” social hierarchies and elements of raunch comedy, but opts against the broad caricatures of those forms, instead homing in on its young protagonist’s uncertainty and confusion to create a nuanced character profile of a girl who is struggling to be accepted. Along the way, the film makes profound points on the nature of group identity, performative sexuality, and victimhood. Andrea (Jess Gabor), is an awkward guest at the party of cool girl Daphne. Desirous of her attention and approval, Andrea makes Daphne an intricate friendship bracelet for her 18th birthday only to have it received somewhat dismissively, as Daphne’s attention shifts to a different girl and her gift; a pack of smokes. This clever scene is emblematic of the talent and skill of writer/director Anna Kerrigan, as it seems simple, but is actually accomplishing a lot by concisely establishing the twin vectors of tension in the film within the first 90 seconds.