Interview with Filmmaker Daniel Montoya (HIM)

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Daniel Montoya: Our original intent, when we started the process of making this film, was to show that being a transgender individual is just as normal as being cisgender. The film’s concept evolved over time to focus on Ethan’s advocacy for LGBTQ rights. We filmed at different events in Dallas and in Austin centered around the fight over SB6, aka the “Bathroom Bill” proposed by different members of the Texas House of Representatives.

Something that really motivated me, was seeing the injustice and lack of common sense in the proposed law. It’s crazy how the basic human need to use a bathroom could become so divisive and create so much controversy in Texas.

At the same time, I saw how Ethan was putting himself out there, sometimes with others but many other times, just by himself, and this is very dangerous. There are many crimes committed against transgender people every day and most of these crimes go unnoticed due to bias and hate.

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

It took me about a year to create the whole piece.

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

Reflective, absurd

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

Perhaps the most difficult part was deciding what to include and what to exclude in the editing room. Distilling all the raw footage and interviews is challenging; you have to stay on point with your message and the specific clips used in the final edit of the film.

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

Oh wow, they GOT IT! Loved the discussion! I feel that the audience was really open and I’m glad that our short film can serve as a reflection in Canada as well. Even though this is a Texas story, the issues presented are worldwide issues for the LGBTQ community. It was great that the feedback was captured, a lot of times, there isn’t much opportunity for filmmakers to see these moments. Thank you!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

I reached out to Ethan, because I wanted to make a story that could create awareness about the lives of transgender people.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Growing up in Colombia, the tv channels we had were limited, so I watched a lot of movies on tv. One movie that played on Colombian channels many times was “Big Trouble in Little China.”

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I think it’s great. I hope that it doesn’t go the same way as Withoutabox, because platforms like this makes it very easy for filmmakers to reach out to film festivals.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

I really like the acoustic version of “Fell on Black Days” by Chris Cornell and “Gave Up” by NIN.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Definitely! I’m focusing now on a narrative fiction film about a group of people seeking happiness in their own way.
 

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