Interview with filmmaker Michael Gorlick (Reinventing the Reel)

Michael Gorlick’s documentary short film about the LGBT community played at the September 2015 WILDsound FEEDBACK Film Festival event. A very timely film that tells two stories: The horrible history of the portrayal of LGBT in Hollywood movies, and what some filmmakers are doing about it now to improve it.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of REINVENTING THE REEL:

Interview with director Michael Gorlick:

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Michael Gorlick: I noticed how people in real life treated those who displayed ‘gay’ characteristics at any age, but specifically the bullying that goes on in the younger ages. This was being mirrored in films whenever LGBT characters were represented (which already was at a very low rate). Basically, they were being lead to believe their ‘straightness’ was normal because of the societal beliefs they had adapted from parents, society, and media (which reaffirms and even shapes our culture). If they are the norm, then all other aspects of human beings must be ‘other’. Otherness is feared because it is not understood. Thus, I started researching why and how there could be such a misrepresentation of LGBT characters and stories in film. I was interested how long this has been going on and what was being done about it.

GLAAD has a lot of research about this topic on their website about the statistics in film. They are very disheartening. Then I read about the contact hypothesis which really rang true to me which is the more an audience watches certain demographics on screen, they begin to relate to them better, and lower their prejudice towards them in everyday life. I wanted to see those statistics change and was curious to see if anyone was doing anything about it if Hollywood wasn’t going to. That led me to finding the storyline to my film.

From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

2 months of focused research/preparing, 7 months of filmmaking process.

How would you describe your short film in two words!?

LGBT Crowdfunding

What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

There were many. I would say the biggest is being robbed in LA while we only had 5 days to film all of the interviews and b roll for this film. That was not fun!

Structurally, this is a two-part film. The first part is about the past of LGBT in film. The second part is about the present and future of LGBT in film. Was this your plan all along when making this film? Or did things change in the interviewing process?

Yes, It was my plan all along. I knew in order for things to move forward that have been stagnant for so long, you have to always acknowledge the past. So I went with that feeling. I did not know the direction of the interviews or the on set filming would go or how it would all come together so I did not plan that but it all seemed to tie together well.

What were your initial reactions when watching the Toronto audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Nervous. It is a strange feeling to be listening to comments about your work while you are in the room and they do not know you are there. But that is where you get the honesty and because it is invaluable to get truthful feedback and it is worth it.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

The Matrix

What is next for you? A new film?

A few documentaries floating around in my head that I would like to produce and direct.

By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival www.wildsound.ca

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