Street Hassle is a 20-minute short film, which is currently a work-in-progress seeking completion funds. I am the Writer-Director-Producer of the film and expect to complete it by January 2009. The majority of the film has already been shot, in a combination of 16mm Black & White and Color Negative film stock.
From a aesthetics and style standpoint, it is meant to pay homage to the Docudrama aspects of Bob Fosse’s Lenny and Star 80, in it’s use of faked “interviews” and the flashback structure with interview narration playing occasionally on top. The Color Footage will be desaturated in post, as the film is meant to be shown as a purely B & W film. This is done for two reasons: 1) The actual B & W stock is used on the “interview” sections of the film, to give those scenes a grainier documentary feel, in contrast to the crisper-naturalistic color stock for the narrative moments. 2) The lighting for color stock gives me more flexibility in lighting set-ups for dramatic purposes, than B & W stock, which has lower E.I. settings for simpler lighting set-ups. From a narrative perspective, I am attempting to tackle something that I feel isn’t talked about very often. How gay prostitution as a profession is an area of society not usually explored in any great detail in the cinematic world, or when it is explored in cinema, the characters aren't treated with much empathy or explored on deeper levels of what led them down this path. I feel that the emotional, psychological and physical impact of this life, whether you agree or disagree with the choices in life hustlers and prostitutes make or not, isn't explored very often or with much depth. I suppose that I started, like the interviewer in the story, trying to explore this subject from a sociological level, but realized I couldn't do it from too detached a perspective. My goal is provide emotional and intimate attachment to characters one wouldn’t be inclined at first to feel such closeness towards. I want to make the audience think and feel at the same time, so that you didn't come away from it thinking "well that was a pleasant timekiller", and then forget about it 10 minutes later. I want you to remember. To know that it had an impact on your life in the same way it did on mine.
I have based this on hours of interviews and research with various former pimps, drug dealers and hustlers, as well as on pre-existing studies on the causes and effects of Prostitution on a personal and sociological level. I did this in the attempt to make the characters live and breath as three-dimensional, flawed individuals, who deserve to be treated better than they are usually portrayed in the media.
I want to promote this primarily among GLBT Cinema festivals, which are fast becoming a large percentage of the film festival circuit in the United States. My ultimate goal with this film is to give voice to those who have none, to push issues that involve GLBT themes and to be used as an example for other artists to be as direct and upfront about their artistic goals as possible, and to find emotional beauty in even the grimmest of circumstances. I have strived to do this in my previous experimental and student works, and wish to continue in my personal and professional lives as well.
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