(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.)
Doc (Tanner Cohen) is not unlike millions of gay men across the world, hooked on the Internet, fixated on webcam connections, and lusting after hot guys in his fantasies.
Instead of focusing on graduating from college and his impending departure from New York City, Doc becomes obsessed with a hot go-go boy and stripper named Go (Matthew Camp). So Doc concocts an outlandish scheme to pose as a documentary filmmaker and make Go the star of his next project … and his wildest imagination comes true as Go agrees to appear in his fictitious film.
This is the gist of “The Go Doc Project,” written and directed by Cory James Krueckeberg, and showing Friday, May 31, during FilmOut San Diego’s 15th annual LGBT Film Festifval. The story is told in an unusual and impressive way, combining documentary and narrative styles, which somehow works rather effectively.
What happens is both comedic and dramatic as Doc loses sight of his reality and is swept away by the sexy charms of Go and his no-holds-barred attitude about life and living in the moment. Audience surely will be rooting for the geek to win over the hot guy of our dreams.
Beneath the hot bodies and the steamy sex is a story that also poses some difficult questions: Why are we obsessed with beauty? Why are we objectifying go-go dancers and strippers at the risk of losing our own humanity? Why are we hooked on the Internet and smart phone apps? What happens when fantasy collides with reality?
Writer-director Cory James Krueckeberg tells San Diego Gay & Lesbian News that his movie, “The Go Do Project,” was a “no budget film” done out of love by cast and crew. And his message for audiences? “I want audiences to remember to step away from their computers, smart phones, tablets, televisions … and live life for real.”
SDGLN: What is the buzz on the gay film festival circuit?
We have yet to play a gay fest. We premiered at Miami International and as of this moment we’ve played our second fest, Cleveland International and Nashville. The response has been extremely positive – as in happy - which has been a little surprising. I never thought of it as a "feel good" film but people are really "up" about it afterward. Very excited that the LGBTQIA festivals are programming it in coveted slots with a lot of enthusiasm. It should be a fun summer.
SDGLN: The plot – about an “Internet stalker” pursuing the man of his dreams – seems to capture the sometimes obsessive world of today’s youth, where posting nude photos and sex videos online are commonplace. What does the film say about today’s youth and about our obsession with objectifying sexy young men like the go-go boy named Go?
The idea for the film came largely from my objectifying of Matthew Camp via images online. … So, it’s obviously a large part of this project. The major statement we make is: Get outside and experience the world away from the Internet. I think this “problem” transcends age, gender, sexuality. … I think everyone on the planet with a computer has an increasingly unhealthy relationship to it. When you’re not communicating face to face, soul to soul, with another person, it’s easy to judge them, obsess over them and objectify them.
SDGLN: You cast Tanner Cohen and Matthew Camp as the two leads. How challenging were the steamy sex scenes for cast and crew?
The more intimate scenes unfolded fairly naturally with a minimum of discussion and set up. This being a no budget film – the “crew” was only my partner, Tom, and I. There was no real lighting or camera set-ups. The subjects – the guys in the film – did what comes naturally, as they say. And we made sure the cameras were on.
SDGLN: One of the questions asked by the film is whether gays should assimilate or not? Do you think, in light of the rapid advance of LGBT rights in America, that this is the question of our time?
Absolutely. I don’t know if I know the answer to that question, which is why I encouraged the topic in the film and fanned the flames of both sides of the argument. The most important question, when one entity overtakes another (whether socially, geographically, scientifically), is: “how can we retain what made the ‘overtaken’ unique in this process?” It’s especially important right now as the country finally wakes up to the vast inequities it’s been allowing for so long.
SDGLN: Where did you shoot the movie, and why did you choose this location?
We shot all over NYC. That’s where we live. That’s where the "subjects" are. That’s where the story is. And with a no budget approach, it was our only option.
SDGLN: What do you want audiences to remember about the film after they leave the theater?
My parents used to say during summer vacation when we were kids: “Turn off the damn TV and go outside to play.” I want to say the same thing … I want audiences to remember to step away from their computers, smart phones, tablets, televisions … and live life for real.
SDGLN: Do you prefer the LGBT genre?
I don’t prefer any genre. But I always include the LGBT experience in everything I write.
SDGLN: Has LGBT cinema grown up, is it “crossing over” to attract mainstream audiences, or do you sense it will remain a niche product?
The only time LGBT cinema “crosses over” is if it has an A List star or it won Sundance and some mainstream distributor is “brave” (puke) enough to try to sell it to non-LGBT people. The whole topic makes me a little sick because 99.99% of queer cinema is never seen by anyone other than the intended audience, which includes in the industry. That means there’s a whole world of queer filmmakers who are also invisible to the industry. That is until they have a "mainstream" hit.
Literally, even gay agents in Hollywood will tell you they can’t do anything with you until you have a mainstream hit – while at the same time they’re signing people who’ve directed “straight” films that were festival and commercial flops. Cleveland IFF was a surprise to me and I think should be a guiding light in the festival world. Tom and I were “Someone to Watch” at the festival so they screened all our features – two gay and one Mexican – and to our delight only about 20% of our audience was gay and/or Mexican. They’re doing something right that Hollywood and the larger festivals have never been able to – which is to encourage, inspire, force (I’m not sure how) people to WANT to see films about people that are different from themselves.
SDGLN: What’s next for you?
Too much and not enough. Tom (my partner) and I are working on a few different things. Another film to be made in Mexico (with the same Mexican tax program utilized to make "Mariachi Gringo"). An off-Broadway musical from the mid-'90s that we’re adapting in a very unique way for the camera. We’re also in various states of completion on a handful of other scripts.
SDGLN: What is something your fans don’t know about you?
Hmm … I have a backwards body clock that seems to prefer being awake. I’m not usually tired until after 18, 19 hours of awake time – but I still prefer eight hours of sleep. Do the math … If left to my own devices, within a week I’ll have rounded the clock in falling asleep/waking up times. It’s a curse and I’ve tried light therapy, melatonin, meditation, bourbon … Any suggestions?
SDGLN: If you were granted three wishes, what would you do with them?
Make three movies. It’s so incredibly hard to get a project off the ground. Three movies could keep me busy and happy for a long time.
SHOWING ON FRIDAY, MAY 31
Time: 10 pm
AUDIENCE SPOTLIGHT. Ages 18 and older.
Sponsored by Gay San Diego
Co-presented by Urban Mo’s, Baja Betty’s, Hillcrest Brewing Company, Gossip Grill
“The Go Doc Project” (2013), directed by Cory James Krueckeberg, 91 minutes, U.S
West Coast premiere
From the creators of the hit musical "Were The World Mine" comes "The Go Doc Project." Too shy to make a proper introduction, a recent college grad (Tanner Cohen) devises to make a documentary film about the NYC nightlife scene in order to meet the go-go guy (Matthew Camp) he’s cyber-obsessed with. Camera in hand, he follows his subject across the city: into restaurants and bars, onto rooftops and dance floors and ultimately into living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms & bedrooms. “The Go Doc Project” is a hybrid of documentary, narrative and art film forms. It’s a fast, fleeting summer fling in the city. It’s about obsession and love. It’s a young man’s graphic self-exploration as he determines what is right for his own future.
* Shown with “Chaser” (2012), directed by Sal Bardo, 15 minutes, U.S.
West Coast premiere
Alienated from his conservative Jewish family and community, a promising young, gay schoolteacher seeks solace in New York City's barebacking scene.
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.