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Hit YouTube video by UCSD filmmaker defies gay stereotypes

SAN DIEGO – A video about a gay relationship, posted by a student filmmaker at the University of California San Diego, has been getting widespread views on YouTube.

The filmmaker, Hieu Tran, alerted San Diego Gay & Lesbian News to the video and wrote, “I hope you enjoy it. You may need a tissue.”

So we got out our box of tissues and sat down to watch the video, which Tran uploaded on June 22. As of early Monday morning, it has been viewed by almost 16,000 people, who have given the video 474 likes and three dislikes.

“One thing I like to do as a filmmaker is to defy heteronormative, mainstream media,” Tran said in a brief interview.

“One commercial that I really enjoyed watching is ‘Google Chrome: Coffee.’ I made a video in response to it due to Pride Month called ‘Google Chrome: Yours Truly.’ It is about a gay couple in a long distance, military relationship.”

In the video, Ken reaches out to his boyfriend Jeff, who is stationed in Kuwait, and apologizes for the tone of their last telephone conversation.

“The ‘Google Chrome: Truly Yours’ video is a response to ‘Google Chrome: Coffee,’ which is a video about a man who apologizes to an ex-girlfriend and asks her out to coffee,” Tran said.

“I was sitting at a BJs restaurant when I saw the commercial on television and I instantly thought of a close friend of mine who has a boyfriend in the Navy. Despite their troubles and problems with long distance, they manage to still stay strong after 2.5 years,” he said.

“I feel that gay men get a stereotype for promiscuity and Grindr addicts, but I want to show the world through my videos that they are people who defy these stereotypes. I hope people see that love is love, and I used this video to indirectly attack ‘Don’t Ask, Don't Tell’ and anti-gay marriage beliefs. I would like to mention that this video is not affiliated, endorsed, sponsored or created by Google,” Tran said.

Tran is 22, and recently graduated from UCSD.

“I was born in Vietnam but raised in San Diego,” Tran said. “As an Vietnamese, queer filmmaker, I like to make videos that tell the stories of both the Asian and Pacific Islander and queer communities because there is not a lot of representation in mainstream media.

“With the help of my college friends, I write my own scripts, direct my own actors and scenes, and edited the video. I have won several awards for my other videos, including third place for Best Comedy from UCSD Sixth College Film Festival 2012, Best Screenplay at UCSD Taiwanese American Student Association Film Festival 2012, and nominated for Best Story Concept at UCSD ArtPower! Up&Coming Film Festival 2012,” he said.

Tran said he will be applying to film school this fall to earn a master of fine arts degree and hopes to become a director of photography in the movies.

Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at ken@sdgln.com, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to (877) 727-5446, ext. 713.