Last night marked the close of the 19th year of NewFest, the New York City LGBT film festival, after 11 crazed days that offered nearly 250 films from 33 countries, a series of panels, and a few swinging parties.
The fest closed with Save Me, a film starring out actors Chad Allen and Robert Gant as men who live in an "ex-gay ministry" run by a well-meaning Christian woman, played by Judith Light. The film was definitely one of the highlights of the festival both due to its star wattage and the message of understanding that it offered to both gay and Christian audiences. And the post-screening Q&A with Gant, Light, and the film's director and producers offered even more insights, including the great news that the film will be released in October through Roadside Attractions. A bona fide gay film in theatres? Somebody pinch me.
During the Q&A, Light and Gant spoke about their involvement in the project (both are also producers), which manages to discuss the issue of "gay reparative therapy" without demonizing either the men who seek this kind of help or the individuals that claim that they can provide it.
When asked about his own sexuality and career, Gant had this to say:
"I came to terms during Queer as Folk that as much as much as I want to make a great living, and following along with the mindset in Hollywood that you can't be gay and make a good living, I decided that following the truth and being who I authentically am was vastly more important in the balance of things. And I've experienced that that has been proven true and of great benefit to me, and i wouldn't have made any other choice in the world. As a result I've realized what it means, and that's that you have to participate in that process in a different way -- you have to create things to help create your career, your future. And you can do that -- just, you have to take these things one step at a time. And I'm really grateful to have the opportunities and the forum to live my truth and be openly gay -- and who knows what's going to come from it. All i know is that I'm happy and that I wouldn't choose to do it differently at all."
Needless to say, this garnered a big round of applause -- as did the film itself, which managed for the most part to steer clear of melodrama in its telling of a love that grows in an unlikely setting.