When local playwright and LGBT activist Antonio David Garcia gets mad, he doesn’t just sit around bitching and complaining – he gets creative. So when Christian fundamentalists first blamed gays and lesbians for 9-11 – and later – Hurricane Katrina, Garcia sprang in to action. “I jumped in the car and went on a road trip,” he told Curtain Calls last week.
But it wasn’t just ANY road trip.
Armed with a video camera, Garcia traveled the country for nearly a month with the thought of creating a rather significant documentary. “My goal was to confront Fred Phelps and have a conversation with him,” Garcia said.
However, he also wanted to talk to everyday people about the fundamentalists’ claims – as well as to discern their views on gay marriage. “I talked to people from the middle of Montana to big cities about gay marriage, and you’d be surprised: They’re not all liberal in big cities or conservative in the middle of Montana.”
The novice filmmaker had other objectives for his project, “Sissy Boy,” as well. “I wanted to find Gus Van Sant and thank him for making ‘My Own Private Idaho.’ So I spent a day in Portland trying to find him – which ended rather abruptly,” Garcia laughed.
But what surprised Garcia the most was the response he received when he walked on to the Focus on the Family compound demanding to see Dr. James C. Dobson – while wearing a shirt emblazoned with the statement “My God Made Me Gay.” That didn’t end well, either, Garcia said cryptically.
Plus, he got into a lot of arguments with street preachers along the way – and gained incredible insight from people he encountered from all walks of life.
Altogether, Garcia’s adventures generated nearly 100 hours of video. “A lot got cut. The whole thing started with the [gay] penguins [in New York], and by the end of the movie, the penguins didn’t make it [into the final cut]. That’ll be an extra feature on the DVD,” he chuckled.
Current plans call for Garcia to solicit comments about his film at an upcoming workshop at Flint’s Buckham Alley Theatre. Its only public pre-screening is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, after which a talk-back session will be held. “I’m hoping enough of the audience will stick around so they can tell me what they liked, what they didn’t like, were they ever lost, how did it flow, is it too long. I know how important it is to get feedback.”
Then, Garcia will complete his work and submit “Sissy Boy” to as many film festivals in 2007 as he possibly can – including, possibly, the 2007 Planet Ant Film and Video Festival.
“The whole point of the film is to get people to look in the mirror and recognize that part of themselves that might be like Phelps, Dobson and Falwell – and to get them to understand what they don’t like about gay people. Then let’s talk about it.”
A new documentary film by Antonio David Garcia. A pre-screening and talk-back session is planned for Saturday, Nov. 18 at Buckham Alley Theatre, 512 Buckham Alley, Flint. Suggested donation: $5. For information: (810) 239-4477 or http//:www.buckhamtheatre.org.