Sunday, September 19, 2010

Film festivals build bridges, present feature documentary

‘Gen Silent’ to screen at Regal Park Terrace on Sept. 26

by Matt Comer September 18, 2010 Comments (0)

Last March, organizers at the Lesbian & Gay Community Center of Charlotte’s GayCharlotte Film Festival set out to raise awareness and build community across lines of difference by collaborating with the Charlotte Jewish Film Festival. Now, GayCharlotte is at it again, this time partnering with the Charlotte Film Festival to present a feature documentary on elderly LGBTs.

A production still from producer/director Stu Maddux’s “Gen Silent.” Photo Credit: Mad Stu Media, LLC.

GayCharlotte Film Festival’s director, Teresa Davis, says the Charlotte Film Fest first reached out to them about two months ago and asked if they were interested in helping to bring “Gen Silent” to town. The film, from producer and director Stu Maddux, follows the lives of older LGBTs and explores the discrimination, fear and challenges they face from a still unwelcoming society.

Davis admits she and other GayCharlotte Film Festival organizers weren’t too keen on the idea of sponsoring (read: helping pay for) a documentary.

“I told the Charlotte Film Festival, ‘You don’t pay money for a documentary,’” she says.

Her opinion quickly changed when she visited the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in Durham and saw the film Charlotte Film Fest organizers had planned on screening.

“This thing is so worth it,” she says. “We went to the festival in Durham and saw this movie and said, ‘Oh my gosh. This is the best documentary we’ve seen.’ This is so important.”

Davis says she is excited about the film and the potential for future “bridge building.”

“We’re hoping we can create some buzz and when we do our film festival in March, the filmmaker will be able to come back and show it again for our film festival,” she says.

The GayCharlotte Film Festival is a relatively new kid on Charlotte’s indie film block. But, through partnerships such as those with the Charlotte Film Festival and Charlotte Jewish Film Festival, GayCharlotte is quickly becoming more stable and recognizable. This year, for example, they won a grant from the Charlotte Arts & Science Council.

“The fact we were granted an award made us elated that we could get that support,” Davis says.

“Gen Silent” will screen on Sept. 26, 5:45 p.m. at Regal Park Terrace in Charlotte. Admission is $8. The day before, Davis will participate in a panel discussion on indie films and Charlotte.

For more information about “Gen Silent,” its upcoming screening or more about the Charlotte Film Festival, visit

Friday, September 10, 2010

And also to Outflix Memphis: my regrets for a different reason

I wish I could be there but I'm kind of scared of a guy I met three years ago during a screening in Little Rock. I'm sure he would just drive up for more terrorizing.

Haha! Let's save it for another entry.

Memphis is close enough to Little Rock that you could drive there on a Saturday night

I wonder what Memphis people will think of it. When we were in Richmond, several people of color ask me if Lawrence and Alexandre faced discrimination because they were a mixed race couple. That was the first time we had gotten that question. These patterns that develop during a question and answer session are fascinating to me.

Yes, Alexandre lost most of his friends when he started going out with Lawrence. Which one is black and which one is white? Heeheehee! Gotta see the film! Now don't go assuming anything because of your own experience.

I would love to screen Gen Silent in my old hometown of Nashville soon too. I need to contact Chuck Long about that. It keeps getting pushed off. Sorry Chuck, if you happen to come across this. We are all lucky to have Chuck in our lives.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The empty room reality check

Dale Mitchell, Stu Maddux, Lisa Krinsky

I was humming along with standing ovations and sold out crowds for our LGBT Aging Documentary, Gen Silent, when along came a HUGE reality check at this week's National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association annual convention in San Francisco.

Now listen, it's just an honor to speak to a group of national reporters, so that was a coup in itself.

I was asked to show a chunk of our film and assemble a panel of experts and seniors to talk about LGBT aging issues worth covering....and....

there were 11 people in the audience:

What hell looks like to a moderator

We had a decent time slot.
We worked HARD on getting people into that room.
And I felt HORRIBLE for those friends I had asked to fly in to be on the panel. I felt like the boy who cried, "WOLF." And that feeling created a not so hot job of moderating the panel- but no matter.

Those eleven that did attend heard passionate quotes about the good stories out there from aging experts in the film, Lisa Krinksy (LGBT Aging Project), Dale Mitchell (Ethos) and in the San Francisco area from, Michele Horn Davis (Openhouse). There were also eye-opening responses from transgender senior Felicia Elizondo and eloquent remarks from gay senior Randy Hicks.

And in the end there was an inkling of triumph. It came from those very thoughtful reporters and editors, all xxxx of them who introduced themselves afterwards and asked excellent questions. Maybe a few articles will come out of it. All it takes is one.

There's nothing like staring out into an empty ballroom from a podium to make you feel challenged. This is a message that must be heard- even by a few people at a time.

Dale Mitchell with one of the business cards exchanged after our panel discussion