Interview with Filmmaker Donavan Myles Edwards (LAVENDER BOY)

LAVENDER BOY was the winner of BEST DIRECTION at the July 2021 LGBTQ+ Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I love history. It was that simple for me. I was sitting in an airport for a layover and I watched a Vox video that talked about the lavender scare. As soon as I got done watching it, I knew that I wanted to make a film about it. Nobody around me knew about the Lavender Scare and I felt that people should know. So hopefully my film educates them a little about the event.

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

I first got the idea in November or December of 2019. After that initial idea, I took many months to do more research and learn everything I could about the lavender scare. With podcasts, articles, YouTube videos, etc. But right as we were entering pre-production the pandemic hit. So that put us on hold for about 4 months. Luckily, we had an amazing cast and crew that made it super easy to get back into the swing of things. So we filmed in July and had a picture lock 3 days before Thanksgiving.

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

Love Story. The film is a heavy topic and has many themes and messages. But I think it’s a great story because at its core it’s a love story and that’s something everyone can relate to.

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

The pandemic was our biggest obstacle. Right before the pandemic we were perfectly in strived and had a lot of momentum. But having to take 4 months off really shook things up. We had to replace a couple of crew members and had to get cast members that were comfortable shooting close to other humans. On top of all that, we had to get extra supplies like hand sanitizer, masks, disinfectant sprays. But it was all worth it in the end.

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

It was a very cool experience it hears people go in-depth about how they liked your film. This film took up a year of my life so it’s refreshing to know that it resonated with people and they understood what we were trying to accomplish.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

It was super early for me. I think I was 12 or 13 and my oldest sister was making a home movie on her iPod. Just seeing her edit the video and see it come together was my “oh shit” moment. I knew then that I wanted to be a filmmaker, so the following years and throughout high school, I shot and edited my videos.

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

Great question. It’s gotta be Tron-Legacy. That was one of the first movies that I saw in theaters with my dad and I was hooked. At that time I still didn’t know how to make films. All I knew was “Man this is cool”. I ended up getting the DVD later on, and I would watch it almost every night.

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

It was great. This was my first time using FilmFreeway and they made it super easy. The more information a festival gives the better it is for us.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Mike & Ikes hahaha. This is a super fun question because a lot of my co-workers tell me I have the strangest eating habits and that I love candy. But honestly, I’m not sure what my favorite meal is. Mike & Ikes would be my favorite food though.

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

Yes, yes definitely. I’m currently in production on my second short film called “Letters From Jasper”. This film is something I’m excited about and it’s a film that’s meant to inspire young black and brown kids. Hopefully, I’ll be able to show the world soon.

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