Interview with Screenwriter Christopher Santos (The Caregiver)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Christopher Santos: A middle-aged gay man, still haunted by the AIDS crisis, moves into a retirement community to care for his elderly mother, but he never expects to fall for an Iraq war vet, who is very much on the down-low.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy, Drama, LGBTQ

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

I can’t think of any movies that really deal with the generation of gay men who came of age during the AIDS crisis, and one is long overdue. I wanted to write that missing story, one that doesn’t just look back at the trauma of the 80’s and 90’s, but one that also shows its enduring and inescapable emotional after-effects today.

4. How would you describe this script in two words?

Seriously funny.

5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

Why The Wizard of Oz, of course.

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

It took me about two years – off and on – to get through the draft I finally submitted.

7. How many stories have you written?

At least twenty or so, in various genres, forms, and stages of completion.

8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

I couldn’t pick a single one. There seems to be a song playing in my head constantly – even when I’m meditating – but never the same song on any given day.

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Getting through the first few drafts of the script wasn’t all that tough. Like the character in the script, I was caring for my elderly mother full-time, which actually afforded me some downtime to write. But no screenplay is finished until it’s up on the screen, so really, the challenge is on-going.

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Film, photography, music, theater, architecture – all that arty stuff – plus teaching, progressive politics, LGBTQ history, and food.

11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?

Film Freeway has worked fine for me, efficient and user-friendly.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

I haven’t entered a screenwriting competition in many, many years – as I’ve been focused mostly on fiction, memoir and TV writing for the last twenty, but I was really passionate about this story, personally invested in it, and curious as to the reception my work might receive from a dedicated LGBTQ forum. I was really pleased with how sharp, fair, sensitive, and well-considered the feedback was. It was genuinely constructive and truly appreciated.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

When his elderly mother requires full-time care, a middle-aged gay man moves into her stodgy New England retirement community and soon becomes obsessed with a troubled Iraq war vet, who is very much on the down-low.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Val Cole
Michael: Peter-Mark Raphael
Jake: Christian Vargas

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