We caught up with the writer/director, Eric Schaeffer from Boy Meets Girl and here’s what he had to share with us…
Madge (M): Our research on Wikipedia informs us that in the history of the universe, only 48 "films" have ever been set in Kentucky. Also, you're from New York. So, what influenced the decision to go with Kentucky as a setting for the film?
Eric Schaeffer (ES): Amazing! Thanks for that info. I didn't know that. I felt setting the film in a small town in the southern part of America would better illustrate the challenges the characters go through in their emotional landscapes. If the film is set in NYC or LA or SF, the assumption of greater acceptance, education and experience with/of/about the contexts and themes in the film would have made the film much different. Having said that, I also wanted to reverse the myth that all small American towns are home for nothing but bigotry because they are not. There is much love for all people all over America. Obviously a lot more work must be done but it would be wrong to characterize America as being a country whose northern and western cities are the only places where acceptance happens.
M: We understand that you prefer to label yourself as "human" first and foremost. What is your response to the terms "queer" or "pansexual" being used as labels for diverse sexual tastes? Do you like/dislike? Would you think that they apply to you or any of the characters in the film?
ES: I think labels can be useful at times as far as short hand goes. To describe quickly and gain an understanding in broad strokes of a person's characteristics and interests. "Met fan." "Yankee fan." "Gay." "Straight." But ultimately labels separate us and I'm interested in how our hearts and souls can unify. So ultimately I'm not excited by labels. l date cis gender women mostly but have had wonderful experiences dating transgender women as well. I am straight but have a healthy bisexual fantasy life and have dabbled in various kink/BDSM fun as a switch... so what label does that all add up to for me? That's one of the points of the film. We are all very fluid emotionally, sexually, mentally, in every way. One label not only doesn't fit all, it doesn't fit all of one person even.
M: Is the film drawn from a true story? Do you know some or part of these characters in real life?
ES: While the story is not a "true story" plot-wise, the themes of wanting to be loved and accepted for who we are at the core, wanting our dreams to have a chance of coming true and loving who and how we want to love without prejudice, condition or judgement are certainly themes that are true for me and I think everybody in the world to greater and lesser degrees.
M: What prejudice have you faced for your sexual tastes? Have you ever felt restricted from expressing them?
ES: Sadly, while in some ways our culture is broadening its acceptance of individuals' rights to behave as they see fit with other consenting adults, in many ways the culture is becoming more puritanical and judgmental. There is still a pervasive fear I find expressed in many judgmental, hypocritical, hurtful and socially damaging ways at my being a straight man who confesses publicly to what I know to be in the realm of what many straight people also confess to privately and practice happily.
But I decided long ago that living a life ruled by the fear of expressing who I am in my art would be a cowardly life and one I would not live. It would also be doing a disservice so I have never shied away, knowing there are millions of kindred spirits who feel a sense of unity when seeing they have a brother in arms, willing to out his humanity in all its wonderful colors, not concerned with the small mindedness of those afraid to live the lives they want to live. I hope at some point everyone feels safe enough to embrace who they are and live lives that celebrate and honor that.
M: How did you cast the actors? What were the processes involved?
ES: I found Michelle on YouTube. She had a channel doing vlogs. She clearly had a natural talent and was willing to work hard. I worked with her for months since she had never acted before and her wonderful performance emerged. The rest of the cast were seasoned actors who I found through traditional routes by having auditions. They were all outstanding.
M: And finally, did you have fun making the film?
ES: Making independent films with little money is a monumental and often painful task. It is very rewarding and at times fun but honestly, the real fun comes when the film is done and I can enjoy the communal experience of being part of an audience watching it. Feeling that unity and human bond. That is special and always very emotional for me. I know how deeply people crave, need to feel loved and to love, like I do, and often feel misunderstood and not accepted for who they are. Doing a little bit to mend that feeling is a tremendous honor and very healing.
Boy Meets Girl will be available on DVD. You can also rent, buy or stream from 28 April 2015. Pre-order now from Wolfe Video: https://www.wolfevideo.com/products/boy-meets-girl/?R=1479