Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rivers Wash Over Me

Until I read Movie Dearest's resident film critic, Chris Carpenter's interview with director, John G. Young, about his new movie, Rivers Wash Over Me, I had never heard of the film. Now, I'm very intrigued and will try to catch it either in a theatre or on DVD. Below is an excerpt:

Chris Carpenter writes:
Of the many good-to-excellent movies that were shown at Los Angeles' GLBT film festival Outfest this past July, Rivers Wash Over Me remains a standout in my mind. Both lyrical and harrowing, it focuses on the travails of a contemporary black teenager named Sequan as he adjusts to life in a new town and school in rural Alabama following the death of his mother. I had the opportunity to chat with [the film's director John G. Young] Young about his latest production. We also discussed the film’s messages for GLBT students and the writer-director’s own experience growing up as a gay teen.

CC: With Rivers Wash Over Me, what were you trying to say from a gay/GLBT perspective?

JGY: It’s an interesting question, because I don’t specifically try to say something or have an agenda. I’m drawn to characters. The one thing I was interested in is that gay young people, because they have to address who they are in the world in a different way, can gain a kind of maturity their peers don’t necessarily have. It’s an act of standing up for oneself and saying, “This is what I am,” which is very powerful.

CC: What inspired this particular story?

JGY: A little over ten years ago, I spent some time in a small southern town. What struck me then was how modern the town was — it had a black mayor and sheriff — and yet how segregated it still remained. As with my other films, I often begin my story with a place and asking “What would happen here if …?” In this case, it was what would happen if a smart, gay, black kid from New York had to go live with his dysfunctional relatives in this town? Then I thought, what if the one person who reaches out to him is the privileged, messed up, drug addicted, white girlfriend of the town’s drug dealer? My hope was that in their tentative connection they would start to heal one another — a theme in all my work.

Read more about the film and the full interview here.