5 Questions for 2 Filmmakers

Movie lovers have more access to video than ever before, yet Out Here Now, the Kansas City LGBT Film Festival, is celebrating 16 years of building community throaugh sharing the experience of comedy and drama in feature films, shorts, and documentaries.
Out Here Now returns to the Tivoli Cinemas theater for its “Sweet 16th” festival June 25-July 2. Offering stories ranging from women seemingly jailed just for being African American lesbians to a serial-killer romantic dark comedy, this year’s festival strives to present the best in current queer filmmaking. For a complete list of the films to be shown, visit www.outherenow.com.
Two of the creators of these movies shared some thoughts about their experiences and their works in five questions each.
Maureen Bradley is an award-winning, genderqueer Canadian filmmaker with more than 40 short films to her credit. Two 4 One, her first feature-length film, is a transgender romantic comedy-drama conceived from home insemination instructions that urge caution with female or trans male partners present. Reading that, Bradley knew she had “a truly original queer contemporary story” about a most unusual, but medically possible pregnancy.
Seattle native Arthur Allen wrote, directed, and stars in Winning Dad, in which a son tricks his father into a camping trip with the man that the son is secretly dating. At its heart, the story is about the relationship between generations and the challenges that love and family present. Allen first created the story in the face of homophobia while he was part of the U.S. Merchant Marine.
The interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

Maureen Bradley
What movie(s) — LGBT or otherwise — made you say, “I want to do that”?
Maureen Bradley: I saw Skin Deep, a Canadian feature film, in 1995. It features a trans lead character — absolutely unheard of at the time. And because I chose a comedic and Woody Allen-esque romantic-comedy style for Two 4 One, the greatest tonal influence was The Apartment [1960>. I see it as the original rom com. I wanted serious content mixed with levity in Two 4 One and I feel The Apartment is the greatest American movie ever made.
How do you see your social role as a filmmaker?
MB: I started making films because I wanted to change the world. My early films were earnest and sometimes didactic. With time, I’ve realized that it’s easier to get ideas to people by making them laugh instead of yelling at them. I know I need to laugh. It’s healing. It’s necessary. It keeps us sane. Political films can be humorous films. In fact, I think humour is wildly subversive.
The ensemble in your film brings so much power to the storytelling. Did you write with any of the other actors’ voices in your head, or were you lucky in casting?
MB: I really was incredibly lucky to get this cast. I had completely different people in mind. I knew [the character”> Miriam had to be an extremely charming actor because I’d had strong reaction to her from script readers. Viewers are intolerant of flawed female characters, so I knew I needed someone charismatic, funny and charming. Naomi Snieckus is ideal. Gabrielle Rose came to us at the last minute — a week before shooting. I was a huge fan of hers and was flabbergasted that I got to work with her. Great actors just want to act. Yes, they’d like to be paid, too–but sometimes the best roles aren’t the money roles.
Gavin Crawford plays Adam with such an earnest innocence, but was there any controversy in not casting a trans man in the role?
MB: I searched high and low for a trans male lead and always intended to cast a trans man as Adam. I found older actors and many trans actors in their 20s who were great — but I just couldn’t find a 40ish Canadian trans male actor.
That said, I am beyond thrilled by Gavin’s performance and it was an absolute privilege to work with him, as he is a hugely popular actor in Canada. He just blew my mind. Every day was a private extended sketch comedy show, making us pee our pants between (and during) takes.
Can you see taking these characters into another film?
MB: The more I watch the movie with audiences, the more I want to develop Two 4 One into a series. And that’s what I’m working on now — developing a series arc and bible and pushing these characters though more trials and tribulations, since the story doesn’t exactly tie itself up in a nice neat resolution — you know there is more drama to come!

Arthur Allen
What movie(s) — LGBT or otherwise — made you say, “I want to do that”?
Arthur Allen: I’ve wanted to make films forever. Like any kid, I loved going to the movies, renting movies, everything. Disney, originally, but once I hit middle school, my parents started rationing film consumption. I learned quick that I could get movies for free from the public library. These were VHS tapes that I started watching, but they were all black-and-white classics or foreign films. By the time I hit high school, I was fixated on Alfred Hitchcock. My goal was to see all of his features.
How do you see your social role as a filmmaker?
AA: I’m honored to be thought of as a filmmaker, frankly. I still think I’m a schmo who made a film. After another one we can call me a filmmaker, I guess. I think a filmmaker is called to stimulate – to titillate, if you will – his audience’s latent talents for seeing and hearing. That might be a valid definition for art in general, but I do think feature films are uniquely placed to meet those demands. &nbsp

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