(Editor's note: SDGLN is featuring Q&A interviews with leading filmmakers from 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.)
“Naked As We Came” explores love, loss and hope in a beautifully photographed movie written, produced and directed by Richard LeMay.
The drama asks the simple question: What is your dream? The answer is not so simple in this touching, emotional movie showing on Saturday, June 1, at FilmOut San Diego’s 15th annual LGBT Film Festival at the Birch.
The cast includes Elliott (Ryan Vigilant) and Laura (Karmine Alers), bickering siblings who cannot agree on the proper way to care for their terminally ill mother (S. Lue McWilliams) and the handsome young stranger named Ted (Sturgis Adams) who holds a magical spell over momma Lilly.
Richard LeMay chats with San Diego Gay & Lesbian News about “Naked As We Came,” explaining how a rash of deaths among his friend’s parents sparked the idea for the movie and how it changed his own family relationships.
SDGLN: Siblings squabbling over a dying mother who wants to go out on her own terms and a hunky groundskeeper/cook/companion/writer certainly makes for an usual movie. What is the genesis of this movie, and what is the buzz on the gay film festival circuit?
The genesis of the movie was the fact that seven of my friends had lost a parent in the course of a year. I started thinking, “What would you do if you knew your mom was going to die? Is it an opportunity or just another argument?” The buzz on the festival circuit has been overwhelming to say the least. The film has been an opening/closing night or centerpiece film at several festivals, with audiences absolutely loving it. We've won five awards as well, three being audience awards.
SDGLN: You got solid acting from your cast. Did you have any challenges casting the film?
I actually cast it before I wrote it and used the actors to basically workshop the script from beginning to end. Everyone of the cast was a joy to be working with.
SDGLN: SDGLN: Where did you shoot the movie, and why did you choose this location?
We shot the movie in Lincoln, Mass., in the home my producer Nia Hatsopoulos grew up in. It was such an unreal location that I wrote the script around the house.
SDGLN: What do you want audiences to remember about the film after they leave the theater?
That life is short. Don't get caught up in the BS and try to understand the people around you.
SDGLN: Do you prefer the LGBT genre?
I enjoy good movies. I do love LGBT movie and I certainly have enjoyed making a few of them myself. I love having a voice in our community and try to use it in my work.
SDGLN: Has LGBT cinema grown up, is it “crossing over” to attract mainstream audiences, or do you sense it will remain a niche product?
I do believe it is crossing over to an extent. I think people are finally opening up to gay and lesbian stories because we are now just starting to see them explored in the mainstream. It just makes sense.
SDGLN: What’s next for you?
I am shooting a horror movie called “Bloodline” with Academy Award nominated producer Rodrigo Bellot. I'm very excited. I wrote it as well. Everyone asks if it's gay? It's not. But next year I will be shooting a gay love story called “The Summer Of Aiden Post.”
SDGLN: Single or taken?
I am taken.
SDGLN: What is something your fans don’t know about you?
That shooting “Naked As We Came” has changed my relationship with my own parents.
SDGLN: Will you be coming to the FilmOut San Diego LGBT Film Festival?
Unfortunately I will not.
SDGLN: If you were granted three wishes, what would you do with them?
1. Win $300,000,000 in the lottery.
2. Make my mom healthy again.
3. Work with Daniel Day Lewis.
SHOWING ON SATURDAY, JUNE 1
Sponsored by ABC10/Azteca America
Co-presented by Blade, Do It In San Diego
“Naked As We Came” (2012), directed by Richard LeMay, 84 minutes, U.S.
After an unexpected phone call, Laura (Karmine Alers) and her brother Elliott (Ryan Vigilant) rush to their family’s country estate to find their mother, Lilly (S. Lue McWilliams), gravely ill and living with a handsome young stranger named Ted (Sturgis Adams). Estranged for some time, the mother sends Laura and Elliott on a path to realizing where their own lives have gone wrong. Lilly, on the other hand, has mellowed from the controlling woman she once was and is hoping to pass on some wisdom to her children. The children find themselves dealing with their own feelings of resentment and broken dreams while trying to figure out how Ted fits into their mother’s life … but Ted has a secret of his own.
* Shown with “Daniël” (2013), directed by Vincent Fitz-Jim, 8 minutes, The Netherlands
West Coast premiere
A poetic film tells the coming-of-age story of a teenage boy who finds first love on a beautiful summer day. The boy meets a girl but finds himself attracted to her brother as they swim in the lake. A tender love story evolves.
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.