Inside the Beauty Bubble Documentary is Bursting with Accolades

By Lisa Lynn Morgan

Amazing things can happen when you hop your fence for a “life-changing haircut” from your fabulous neighbor. At least they can around these parts. Inside the Beauty Bubble, a film by Joshua Tree resident, Cheryl Bookout, and Los Angeles resident, Cheri Gaulke, was the result of such an occurrence and has since earned national acclaim. Joshua Tree Voice had the great privilege to discuss the success of the film and its origins with Cheryl Bookout on the heals of the film’s Yucca Valley Film Festival’s coveted Yucca Valley Award.

Here is the story directly from the film’s celebrated conspirator and Beauty Bubble Salon neighbor: “I live in Joshua Tree and the Beauty Bubble Salon and Museum is my neighbor. If you jump my back fence, you land at the salon. I like to share that I had a” lifechanging haircut” the first time I had an appointment with Jeff Hafler, the subject of our film and the owner of the Beauty Bubble Salon and Museum. Before my haircut was finished, I knew I wanted to share Jeff’s story. I fell in love with Jeff and his family. I excitedly called my filmmaking collaborator, Cheri Gaulke, while walking home from my haircut to tell her I thought I had just met the subject of our next film. Cheri said yes before she ever met Jeff, and as Jeff likes to say, the rest is ‘hairstory!’”

The filmmaking team have been making their way to film festivals across the country not knowing how the film, rich in celebrating diversity and the struggles of a gay couple adopting a child, would fair outside of California. Here are some of the sound bites the film has received:

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“The desert’s full of weird shit, right? That’s why it’s a rich stream of cinematic gold, and the short doc, Inside the Beauty Bubble, follows in the august tradition of outrageous American roadside attractions.” ~ Entertainment Today, June 7, 2022, Brad Auerbach, Film Review, 2022 Dances with Films.

“Hafler’s family life with partner Mikal and son Cash as well as the micro-impacts of political and social shifts in this period with a lush cinematography by Nick Lieberman that plays up the sugary colour scheme, make Inside the Beauty Bubble a highlight.” ~ The Reviews Hub-Film, August 20, 2022, Maryam Philpott, Film Review, 2022 MOM Film Fest.

“Nevada City Film Festival brings honor to our county. The last night of the festival, they showed the favorites, especially Inside the Beauty Bubble. Ya gotta see it.” ~ The Union, News for Nevada County, CA, August 31, 2022

Speaking of the honors the film has received, Bookout shared, “Yucca Valley Film Festival is especially meaningful because it is an award from our community, and that means everything to us. Another great highlight for our film team is the Heart of Gold Award from the 2022 Nevada City Film Festival.” Bookout reminisced, “Cheri and I were driving through Central California on our way home from the 2019 Nevada City Film Festival having just won the Audience Award for our documentary film Gloria’s Call, and we were talking about all the film projects we each wanted to make. Inside the Beauty Bubble was on the top of our list. To return to Nevada City in 2022 and win such a special award for Inside the Beauty Bubble was very exciting. To date, we have won 16 film festival awards, including awards from several Academy Award qualifying festivals.”

When asked what reasons lived behind the film’s success and wide acceptance, Bookout answered, “Giving voice to inclusivity and affirming the transformative nature of art is important to us. Inside the Beauty Bubble is a film about family, fabulousness, and folk art. It is a film that reminds us that it’s sometimes the strong people on the margins that hold a community together. As we travel the film festival circuit, we hear from our audiences that the film touches their hearts; it makes them cry, laugh, and fall in love with Jeff Hafler, the subject of our film. Cheri and I both come from visual arts backgrounds. I think that adds to the surprises in our film with our use of animation and motion graphics. Inside the Beauty Bubble is playing to very diverse audiences across the U.S. and internationally.”

The most recent announcement regarding the film is a special award from My Hero International Film Festival with a free online award ceremony. MY HERO International Film Festival shines a light on activists, peacemakers, environmentalists, humanitarians, artists, and others who make a positive impact in the world. Join them online to celebrate the student and professional filmmakers and their heroes from around the globe on Saturday, December 10, 2022 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM PST. Go to this link to RSVP or scan the QR code:

The film will be traveling to New York in December, but there are virtual opportunities to view it as well:

Now until December 4, 2022: Pride Film Fest, VIRTUAL ONLY. Screening and ticket info purchase tickets at  or scan QR code:

December 2-11, 2022: YoFiFest (In-person screening) Opening night: Friday, December 2, 2022, 6 p.m. at the Atrium Theater, Riverfront Library, located at 1 Larkin Center, Yonkers NY 10701Yonkers, NY

(Virtual screening) December 2, 2022 @ 7:30pm (EST). Screening and ticket info go to or scan the QR code:

December 15-18, 2022: Art is Alive Film Festival. Screening and ticket info coming soon. NY, NY

Follow the film and learn more at or scan the QR code:

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