While Ang Lee delivered a powerful impact with Brokeback Mountain in western mainstream cinema, there are equally beautiful movies centered on queer characters being created around the world by indie film makers.
Ira Sachs is one of a few independent directors creating interesting stories that adeptly discuss homosexuality. In an exclusive interview with GaysiFamily, this director reveals the themes explored in his movie, ‘Keep the Lights On’ (which featured in the recent Kashish Queer Film Festival), and gives us insight into his next project.
Q. Please tell us a bit about your entry for the Kashish Queer film Festival and the themes you have explored in this film.
Keep the Lights On is the story of a decade-long relationship between two men in New York City from the first day to the last. You could also say it’s a break-up movie, a story of addictions, a co-dependent romance, a roman-â-clef, an autobiography, and a movie about sex, love, friendship and the very particular world of artists and filmmakers and writers that I’ve been a part of for the last 25 years here in New York City.
Q. In your opinion what kind of impact do Queer film festivals produce (on artists and the audience)?
Queer film festivals provide an opportunity for community, which is incredibly important.
Q. Could you tell us about a couple of directors/ artists whose works inspire you.
Maurice Pialat, Ken Loach, and Jacques Nolot – for Keep the Lights On, especially. Also, the work of David Hockney.
Q. Your films have been lauded at Sundance with ‘Forty Shades of Blue’ winning the Grand Jury Prize. Do you think it is easier to be an indie director today as compared to say, two decades ago; in terms of roping in a talented cast and getting the film produced?
The technology and tools to making a film are more accessible than ever, but it’s still hard to assemble the financing for stories that exist outside a narrow narrative.
Q. Can you name a couple of films depicting homosexuality as a theme that have in your opinion been milestones for queer art?
About 6 years ago, I saw a film called Before I Forget, by Jacques Nolot, at the Cinema Village about a gay filmmaker in Paris, his world, his friends and his very particular way of talking, and having sex, and relationships, and friendships. I wanted to make a film as specifically about my own experiences and culture in New York—a film I’d never seen—and I wanted to make it as honestly, and without shame.
Q. Could you tell us a bit about your future projects?
My next film, Love Is Strange, is shooting in NYC this summer; starring Michael Gambon and Alfred Molina. The film is about two men, aged 60 and 70, who after 38 years together in NYC, get married. As a result one loses his job, they both lose their apartment, and they get split up. The film is about their attempt to get back together again, and find a new home. It’s a love story, and in many ways,– a story of a relationship that grows over decades, and continues to blossom.