Interview with Filmmaker Peter Chapman (A KEPT BOY)

A KEPT BOY was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the June 2020 LGBT Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Peter Chapman: To be honest, my original motivation to create this film was to rid myself of the story. “A Kept Boy” is based on a relationship I experienced with an older woman from 17-24 (I am currently 30). The emotional baggage that came with leaving this abusive relationship while simultaneously introducing myself into the gay community and accepting myself was tremendous. As a filmmaker it felt natural to translate my experiences into a film, and it ended up being extremely cathartic for me. It was a very bizarre process for me because when making a film, you have to put yourself into the mindset of your characters. You need to speak like them, envision life through their eyes, you need to love your characters, and you need to feel empathy for them. This was a huge challenge for me because one of my characters is based on someone who abused me for 8 years and the other character was based on myself and where I was emotionally during that abuse. But once completed I realized I made something that was more powerful than my pain. Any fears of sharing this story vanished and it became extremely motivating for me to use this film as a tool for change.

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

I started my journey of writing this in 2015, so it took about 5 years to fully complete from writing to festival submissions.

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

Raw and dramatic.

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

My biggest obstacle was deciding to write the film. I held a lot of fears with this film because of how personal the story was to me. It wasn’t until I began to write it did I realize how severe my trauma was and my healing process really began. I came to learn my biggest obstacle led to even bigger rewards.

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

I was very humbled by the audience reactions. I could tell the story moved many of them which I was honored about. It was a joy also when someone would mention a small detail they noticed in the film. I think for any director that’s an exciting moment when your audience notices the subtle things.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Personal experiences.

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

To be honest I tend not to watch films more than once.

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

It made the process of submitting to festivals extremely simple and I am very thankful for it.

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

Not sure exactly, but it would most likely be something by Lady Gaga.

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

Within this past year my Boyfriend, Felipe Zapata-Valencia, and I opened Zapman Creative Haus, a production company located in New Jersey. Aside from growing our business I am hopeful that “A Kept Boy” will receive opportunities that will take the film to the next level. I would love to see this story as a T.V. series. I think we need more LGBTQ stories out in this world and “A Kept Boy” is such an interesting perspective to the queer experience it would make a very impactful series.

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