(Editor's note: SDGLN is featuring Q&A interviews with leading filmmakers around the world who are participating in FilmOut San Diego's 15th annual LGBT Film Festival, running May 29 to June 2 at the historic Birch North Park Theatre. Follow SDGLN for all the news about one of the top LGBT film festivals in the U.S.)
The romantic comedy “Love Or Whatever” will likely be an audience favorite at FilmOut San Diego’s 15th annual LGBT Film Festival, when the lesbian-directed movie is featured as the Boys Centerpiece on Friday, May 31 at the Birch.
Wildly funny and hopelessly romantic, “Love Or Whatever” centers around a sweet, kind and caring therapist named Corey (Tyler Poelle) who only wants to help his wacky clients find happiness. Corey has been in a relationship with a younger jock, Jon (David Page), and plans to propose marriage if he can ever find “the right moment.” This is when Corey’s orderly life turns upside down and he finds himself in need of a therapy couch.
Pete the pizza boy (Joel Rush), who complains of being treated as meat all his life, enters the picture … and … well, you will just have to see the movie to find out what happens!
Director Rosser Goodman (“Holding Trevor”) chats with San Diego Gay & Lesbian News about “Love Or Whatever,” and shares the inside info on how this “rom-com” came to be made and how she found the stunningly handsome actor Joel Rush.
SDGLN: Would you call this a flat-out comedy or a romantic comedy, and why?
Rom-com 100% - all the way! It's an hilarious script for sure ... and there is soooo much romance in it, it has a lot of heart, hot guys, and laughs, so both.
SDGLN: What is the genesis of this movie, and what is the buzz on the gay film festival circuit?
The film was started with a draft written by Dennis Bush ... that my company KGB Films optioned in 2010, then Gio Messale came on board as producer ... he quickly secured funding ... we developed the script for eight months while we looked for additional funding ... in that process we brought on a second writer, Cait Brennan ... in August 2011 we shot an amazing script and supreme cast with the money we had - the whole movie all in 12 days.
The festival buzz has been amazing! We are opening or closing night film at most festivals -- we are delighted and honored to be Centerpiece at Film Out SD - the movie has screened from Barcelona to Hong Kong internationally and from Bethlehem, Pa. to San Diego domestically - about 20 fests in all so far.
SDGLN: As funny as the film is, there is a lot of heart and soul, too. Was this more due to the characters drawn by the writers or to the interpretations by the actors?
Great question, a combo for sure ... if we hadn't had such amazing, talented, smart funny, sensitive and intuitive actors ... we could not have done the justice to the great script it deserved.
SDGLN: How did you end up casting the breathtakingly handsome actor Joel Rush as Pete the pizza delivery guy?
Well, yes, hmm, LUCK! He was a friend of our casting director, Steve Maisel. We had a read through of an earlier draft of the script and needed actors, of course. Steve was kind enough to pull favors with actors he knew to come, Joel was one ... then I had the joy of sitting directly across from him during the read, but aside from his knock-out looks, he was just sooooooo truly just excited about the script ... it was very rewarding to see that much passion for the project in someone who hadn't been already working on it for as long as we had.
SDGLN: How did you get a stellar supporting performance from Jenica Bergera as therapy patient Melissa?
It's really all Jenica - she is just soooo talented and seasoned of an actor ... she brings it always, very professional - of course we had conversations about poor Melissa prior to the shoot, she really got into all aspects of her character from the silly to the wronged woman.
SDGLN: Where did you shoot the movie, and why did you choose this location?
Oh, well, we shot in LA, because we could not afford to go anywhere else! LOL!
SDGLN: What do you want audiences to remember about the film after they leave the theater?
Our theme would be No. 1: "Love happens while you're making other plans."
No. 2 would be: "Pre-order the DVD for you and for all your friends!"
SDGLN: Do you prefer the LGBT genre?
I am going to go a PC step further and claim that queer cinema is not a genre ... “Love Or Whatever” is not a queer rom-com ... it's a rom-com ... so, do I prefer rom-com as a genre over, for example, directing a dark comedy like my last movie, “Holding Trevor”? Well, I am honestly ... love both ... I am sucker for romance and laughs ... but I especially like a little of the dark thrown in to keep things interesting and grounded in real life ... not just movie, picture perfect make believe.
SDGLN: Has LGBT cinema grown up, is it “crossing over” to attract mainstream audiences, or do you sense it will remain a niche product?
It cannot remain niche! It just can't ... I mean, that's like so sad to me, when I hear "Oh, people/society aren't/isn't ready for this or that." Ughhh, it's so frustrating! The longer and more anyone says and repeats that, the longer and more it will persist. So, i will say Queer Cinema is crossing over at a rapid pace thanks to so many things: Celebrities and politicians alike being out these days - it's a very powerful message - I think the most powerful of all is being out no matter who you are and break through TV shows airing like “Modern Family” and “Glee,” along with straight high profile politicians coming out to in major public support of our human rights like Clinton, Obama and Biden.
SDGLN: What’s next for you?
My company, KGB Films, has a wide range of projects in development from million-dollar horrors to $80M studio projects. What I would love to direct next is a heavy drama. Meanwhile, I am working with two executive producers for two separate upcoming projects that both embrace and promote queerness.
SDGLN: Single or taken?
Married to my wife since 2007, what?
SDGLN: What is something your fans don’t know about you?
I am a lesbian director of gay male films sometimes!
SDGLN: Will you be coming to the FilmOut San Diego LGBT Film Festival?
SDGLN: If you were granted three wishes, what would you do with them?
I would cure famine.
I would stabilize the Middle East.
Direct, write and produce 100 Oscar-winning films.
And live forever!
Oh, wait that's four things!
SHOWING ON FRIDAY, MAY 31
Time: 7:30 pm
Sponsored by Gay San Diego
Co-presented by Ascent Real Estate: Ron Oster, Josh Bottfeld and David Yoder
“Love Or Whatever” (2012) directed by Rosser Goodman, 84 minutes, U.S.
Corey (Tyler Poelle) had it all — a successful career, a sister (Jennifer Elise Cox) who's his best friend and most of all, a bright future with his boyfriend (David Wilson Page). But, when the boyfriend dumps him for a woman, Corey sets off on a wild journey of self-discovery that leads him to new love (Joel Rush) and a life-changing choice.
* Shown with “P.D.A.” (2012), directed by Patrick Hancock, 7 minutes, U.S.
West Coast premiere
This comedy centers around an urban gay couple who are comically disputing their very different views on holding hands in public, leading to a much bigger exploration of their relationship and more. Also features a quirky original theme song by 1980s pop icon Debbie Gibson, composed specifically for the film.
* Shown with “Dirty Talk” (2012), directed by Jeff Sumner, 12 minutes, U.S.
Nathan, a conservative English teacher, tells his best friend Zach about a one-night stand with a hot Latin man who loves to talk dirty in this short comedy.
Festival tickets are now on sale at the FilmOut San Diego website HERE.
Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.