Interview with Filmmaker Mark S. Schoen (WHAT’S ‘GAY’? ASKED MAE)

WHAT’S ‘GAY’? ASKED MAE was the winner of BEST ANIMATION at the February 2022 LGBTQ+ Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I have know the author, gay activist Brian McNaught for forty years. When I became aware of this book I approached him and asked if I could make it into an animated film to add to my collection (660) of films on THis is a site for films about sexual education, research and therapy. He was eager to help make this happen. In fact the children’s voices in the film were his niece and and nephew.

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

6 weeks

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

Gay Pride

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

Budget, I ended up financing it myself.

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

It was all worth it. I couldn’t have written better reactions.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

I was a health education teacher in NY in the early 1970’s. I started a sex education program and I saw what films were available, so I started making my own and enrolled in the Human Sexuality Program at New York University. I spent four months of that program in Sweden. This cross cultural look at human sexuality further motivated me to produce films.

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

The Wizard of Oz

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

I would have loved if the author and I could have done a Q & A after the screening.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

Somewhat, Your festival made the process simple. Thank you.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Fresh Fish

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

I am trying to launch a documentary on the Endocronologist, Dr Harry Benjamin. Dr. Benjamin authored “The Transsexual Phenomenon” in 1966. He died in 1987b at the age of 101. I attended and videotaped his memorial service. I made short of this which is on my web site. I feel most people have never heard of him. Before Harry Benjamin if a person went to a doctor and said they were Trans they were referred to a psychiatrist!


By matthewtoffolo

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

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