Q: Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into filmmaking.
I grew up in a suburb of Boston, MA. As a young preteen, I would watch a local program on channel 56 every Saturday afternoon called Creature Double Feature. It was hosted by Dale Dorman and would feature two classic and a lot of not so classic monster movies back to back each week. I looked forward to it every weekend and rarely missed the shows. In some ways it was similar to Elvira Mistress of the Dark, and the program ran locally until the early to mid 1980s. I know my parents would rather have had me playing outside with friends on a Saturday afternoon, but watching those old monster/horror movies was magical to me. Looking back, I learned a lot about filmmaking without even realizing it. Eventually I went to film school and my taste shifted, but I still have a love for low budget horror films and those films heavily influenced my own filmmaking in many ways.
Q: Who or what inspires you in your craft?
For me, inspiration comes in the most unexpected ways and at the most unexpected moments. A lot of my documentary work is influenced by narrative filmmakers as well as my background in cinema studies. The visual style of a film and how it is shot and edited should tell a story just as much as the subjects story that is being presented to the viewer. I have always maintained that my films are primarily about pacing and letting the film breath if that makes sense. I often avoid quick edits and camera movement because I want to draw the viewer into the world of the subject rather than make the viewer to aware of the filmmaking process. However, every film is different and as I continue to grow as a filmmaker, my work has started to shift, develop, and expand stylistically.
Q: Tell us about your film, what its themes mean to you and what you hope others take away from it.
Rejection and regret are two themes I have always been intrigued by, if not drawn to, since first hearing about AIDS back in the early 1980’s. And though we’ve come so far in our understanding and treatment of this epidemic, these two themes unfortunately appear to be reprising the same dated roles they played in the 1980’s. I was eleven years old when I first heard of AIDS, and I still remember watching the nightly news broadcast with my family as the journalist reported about an unnamed, mysterious new disease that was largely affecting gay men in major metropolitan areas. At that time the outlook was grim for those afflicted with the disease according to the journalist. As an uninformed, pre-adolescent boy, I somehow assumed that because I was gay this would ultimately be my fate too by incorrectly making a connection between being gay, a yet-to-be named disease, and death. My motivations for making Departing Gesture are rooted in, doing my best to remind those who may have forgotten how far we all should have come by now, to highlight both the harm to and hope of a community as well as, and most importantly, do my part in preventing another pre-adolescent gay boy from ever making the false connections that I once did myself.
Q: What's next for you?
I'm currently developing a documentary feature and editing a personal, short documentary about my mother's stroke in 2019.