EXPECTING was the winner of BEST DIRECTION at the January 2022 LGBTQ+ Film Festival.
1. What motivated you to make this film?
As a gay man, I know what it feels like to struggle with one’s identity, and to feel pressure from society and even those closest to us to conform to certain norms, expectations, and behaviors. In addition to my own experiences, I’ve worked for years as an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, and a close friend of mine recently transitioned to fully accept her gender identity. Matched with the fact that our lead actor, Kiana Madani, was pregnant with her first child at the time of filming, these personal experiences inspired me to make EXPECTING.
I wanted to tell a deeply personal story about a soon-to-be parent who was assigned the male gender at birth, and faced with the prospect of being a father to two twins, must decide whether to speak his truth during a gender reveal party.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
It took approximately five months. I wrote the script and developed the project over approximately two months. We filmed for two days and then went into post-production for three months.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
We filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic, so it was challenging to make sure everyone was safe, but thankfully we succeeded in that endeavor. As always, it was difficult to make sure that we had the budget in place to fully realize our cinematic vision, but I’m glad that we found the resources we needed and had a great team onboard.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I was deeply moved and inspired by the audience reactions. It was so refreshing and gratifying to hear LGBTQ+ individuals and allies share their reactions to a story that is so close to my heart. To see that our film affected the audience so deeply was a very rewarding and moving experience for me.
Watch the Audience Feedback Video:
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
My mom is a lifelong cinephile, particularly of classic films, and has had a crush on Cary Grant and Robert Redford for decades! Despite that personal influence, however, I initially pursued careers in social impact, nonprofit advocacy, and progressive politics before realizing how the power of storytelling can affect social change. That realization led to my interest in filmmaking, and I’ve been making films ever since. EXPECTING is the 8th short film I’ve made to date.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
I’ve probably seen CHILDREN OF MEN and THE FUGITIVE the most times, though LGBTQ+ films like CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, MOONLIGHT and BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN are also favorites.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
More opportunities to connect with producers, distributors, studio executives, talent managers, and others who can advance my creative career is always most helpful. I’d also love more opportunities to connect with other like-minded filmmakers. Resources are also very helpful, both financial and otherwise.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
I’ve enjoyed it! It’s very easy to submit and track submissions.
10. What is your favorite meal?
I’ve been a vegan for over 23 years, so anything plant-based and flavorful is usually fine by me, but my favorite comfort food is vegan mac & cheese and vegan pizza.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
I’m currently pitching an original dark comedy series and have several other films in the works. I’m looking forward to making my first feature film soon as well.