Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Stu Maddux doc screens to sold out crowd in Sedona, Arizona

Trip to Hell and Back, the documentary about horse rider Trip Harting who led a secret life as a high-stakes drug dealer, screened to a sold out audience Tuesday at the Sedona International Film Festival but almost with the director and his family waiting in the lobby.

“We just assumed there would be no problem getting tickets at the box office right before our screening”, said the film’s director Stu Maddux. “But the screening was so sold out that it was difficult for them to find seats even for us.”

The film’s producer Joe Applebaum says that the sold out crowds are a sign of a good festival. “It doesn’t matter how good a film is, who would think there would be sold out crowds to anything on a Tuesday afternoon? If it was just the two of us we could have waited outside. But Stu’s parents had driven in from Phoenix to attend the screening and his mom was starting to look so sad.”

Maddux says the credit goes to the festival organizers and volunteers for saving their family event by eventually getting all four of them seated together in the front row.
“I’ve been to events all over the world but this festival is filling the theaters so well that we are reserving our own tickets for our Thursday night screening right now.”

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sedona Film Fest will be a much needed break

Sedona, Arizona

It will so nice to disconnect from my current project, Gen Silent, for a week and attend the Sedona International Film Festival in Arizona. Our documentary, Trip to Hell and Back will be screening there and the festival folks have graciously put us up for the week. It looks like it will be a "big-name" event set against some of the most beautiful scenery that the Southwest has to offer.

My parents have also decided to come up from their home in Phoenix to see the film and stay for a while. Dad will probably cook something terrific and Mom will be learning her new Mac and Itouch.

Richard and Claire Maddux with the mixer the family bought them for Christmas

Of course I just can't seem to put down something that has so captured my interest. I'm loading up the laptop with footage files from the doc I've got in production, Gen Silent. Putting the story all together at this stage gives me the same feeling as I got when I picked up a Rubik's cube as a kid. I can't seem to put it down until...
I want to throw it at a wall.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Son of documentary subject now part of her story

KrysAnne Hembrough

The son of the transgender woman who we are following has begun to play a part in her care. That’s quite a coup because up to now the story has been one of complete abandonment by her family. That’s why we originally began documenting her battle with a terminal illness in our latest documentary, Gen Silent. Abandonment, isolation, fear of being judged are all reasons that LGBT people choose to go back into hiding in order to protect themselves in illness and old age.

Adam Hembrough, the youngest son of KrysAnne Hembrough first appeared in her hospital room several weeks ago when her death from lung cancer seemed only weeks away. None of KrysAnne’s family had been a part of her life since her transition more than five years ago. Many suddenly made brief visits at this crucial moment. But as her health improved from radiation treatments only Adam seemed to be paying regular visits.
During her month long stay he made only a half dozen or so visits but their relationship seemed to gradually improve- to the point that Adam is a small but growing part of his “father’s” care now that she is at home.

It will be important to watch how this new part of her story unfolds. We have interviewed Adam for the film during this latest production shoot in Boston. A happy ending is more of a possibility.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Director and subject bond in filming of documentary

I’m sitting in a woman’s hospital room watching her review footage from our week-long shoot for my documentary on LGBT aging issues, Gen Silent. KrysAnne is trangender and terminally ill so it has been a hard job documenting her in the battle of her life. But it’s a joy to show her footage.

The silence in the room as she listens on headphones is suddenly broken by laughter and a raised eyebrow in my direction. “I really don’t look like I’m dying, that’s for sure.”

There is no cure for her cancer and no clear idea of how many more weeks she has to live.
But in this single moment of her life as she looks into that camera playing back our interview, you can see her learning about herself- and she likes what she sees.