Tuesday, July 24, 2007

a little journalism

Last week I posted a review of the documentary The Believers which I saw at its Los Angeles premiere at Outfest. I found out about the film because I work for my school's Office of Alumni Relations, and the co-producer Beth Burkhart is an alumna of my school, Claremont McKenna College. I was able to ask her a few more detailed questions than the ones I had time to get answers to at the screening and the Q&A that followed.

How did you get involved in the making of the film?
The director, Todd Holland, and I met in Los Angeles in 1996, shortly after I graduated from CMC, and then were roommates for awhile in San Francisco in 1999. He studied film in undergrad and I dabbled in a few independent/student productions when I lived in LA. He always talked about making a film and I always said I wanted to help. One day early in 2002, I was sitting at my desk at work and he called to say that he had found his subject and I asked if I would produce. I had no idea what I was getting myself into!

What was the most meaningful impression that it made on you?
How the Transcendence Gospel Choir and the members' personal stories can really open hearts and minds, generating empathy for and acceptance of difference. Good stories can really change how people think. My 76-year-old, conservative father cried throughout the film and then at the post-party, hugged Prado, one of the main characters, to tell him how much he identified with and appreciated his story.

What message do you hope the film sends in the end?
I hope the film demonstrates the power of inclusion and acceptance. Bobbie, one of the main characters, has turned her own life around, primarily because she found a community of transgender people when she came to San Francisco, and a supportive, community-based network in the City of Refuge Church and the Transgender Gospel Choir. Similarly, we believe the film will help save lives.

What would you like to see happen in the future with the film?
Frameline picked the film up for distribution last summer. The Believers will begin airing on LOGO cable station on Saturday, 8/11/2007, in the evening. We have just started receiving reviews from the educational market. Fortunately, they are really good, so we hope to have a large outreach push through the course of the next two years, promoting the film at churches, universities, and community venues. In addition, we are applying to international film festivals.

Do you have any other plans to continue producing?
Yes. I would love to continue producing. In reality, this project still needs a fair amount of attention, so for the time being I am not working on anything else as I do have a "day job" as a Marketing Manager at the Clorox Company. I have an idea for another documentary and can trace the roots to my CMC Economics education and Professor Roth's "Perspectives on the American Dream" (that's all I will say for now!).

Please read my review of The Believers here, and tune in to watch it on LOGO starting August 11th!

No comments: