Outfest 2012 is happening in Los Angeles from July 12 through July 22. To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the Los Angeles LGBT film festival, we will be sharing interviews with filmmakers and persons involved with movies being screened. See all of our Outfest Interviews here.
David W. Ross is a rising star. He is quickly becoming a very buzzed about multi-talented artist who is getting raves for his work on I Do, which he wrote, produced, and stars in. The film makes its world premiere tonight at Outfest and is going on to tons of other festivals and screenings, certainly building momentum as it goes along. For David, this means a lot: he’s getting recognized for his hard work and the film’s story, one based on his life, is reaching an audience that is also coping with the issues of immigration and marriage equality. In our interview, David explains his roundabout arrival to film, how I Do goes beyond being just a “gay film,” and how awesome it is to have a world premiere at Ford Amphitheatre.
Outfest is one of the most well known LGBT film festivals in the world and has had films shared that have gone on to have profound affects on the world. Can you tell us a little bit yourself and your film? Is this the first time you’ve had a film shown at Outfest?
I Do is about a gay Brit (Jack Edwards) who loses his work visa and marries his best friend so he can stay in America and keep his “family” together. When he falls for Mano a sexy Spaniard things get complicated pushing Jack to make an impossible, heartbreaking decision. More than a gay green card movie, I Do explores what binds us together, friendship, loyalty, family and shows how DOMA, the law that bars Federal level rights for same-sex couples, effects all of us. I’m the writer, producer and play Jack Edwards. I’ve taken a rather interesting path to film via the music industry (Brit Boyband member), fashion styling (think Devil Wears Prada or The September Issue), commercial acting (apparently I look good in cars!?) and photography (I bought a camera for research and it turns out I’m pretty good at it). I played Gary in the Sundance double winner Quinceañera which really solidified what direction I wanted to take next. This is the first film I’ve written so it’s all a brand spanking new experience for me. It’s a dream come true to play at Outfest and the icing is to be premiering at The Ford Under The Stars.
There is a lot going on at Outfest this year–and it is the 30th year of the festival! How does your film fit into Outfest? What are you hoping it brings to the wide variety of different films being shared in the festival?
I’ve been going to Outfest for years and I’m so excited to finally have a film showing, and at The Ford! A couple of years ago Don Roos said that gay filmmakers had to reach further with their stories. That it wasn’t enough to rely on the same old content. We have to tell broader, more universal stories. I really took that to heart and worked very hard to make I Do a human story rather than a specific gay story. I think the film fits within Outfest’s mission. I Do deals with a relevant human rights issue in an entertaining way. We never smack you over the head with it. We’ve made a beautiful film with a very high production value, amazing cast (Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Alicia Witt, Maurice Compte) and so far the reaction to the film has been amazing. We’re very excited about the film and I know people will laugh, cry and have a great time.
People will be coming from all over the world to share and see films at Outfest. What are you hoping people take away from your film?
I think America has a fairly complicated system of laws because of the State and Federal levels. Even many Americans I talk to, straight and gay, are confused and think that if you’re married in a State that allows same-sex marriage you have all the same rights as a straight married couple. Not true. Coming from other countries it’s even more confusing and I hope that everyone gets not only an emotional ride with the film but also realize that even now the fight for equality is far from over.
Similarly, is there anything specifically Angelenos can take away from your film? Your work speaks to multiple audiences; however, are there certain themes, images, or concepts that may hit Angelenos deeper than other viewers?
My aim in writing I Do was to make a story about a group of people, and some just happen to be gay. My hope was to make a film with universal themes having the ability to connect with anyone and everyone. I think Angelenos and Californians specifically will be moved by the story as we very briefly had same-sex marriage before it was ripped away by Prop 8. I think if anyone will understand the injustice of DOMA Californians will.
Looking into the future, what’s next for you and the film after Outfest? Where else will your film be going? What are you hopes for the film?
Right after our World Premiere on the 18th at Outfest I fly off to Qfest in Philadelphia for the East Coast premiere of I Do. Qfest have awarded me with “The Rising Film Star” award, which is brilliant! We’ll be having a Q&A, a slap up meal and I get to meet everyone after the screenings. Next up for me is another script I’ve been working on for a few years and hopefully, if all goes to plan, this will be my directorial debut. My hopes for the film are that we get wide distribution and reach an audience beyond the film festivals. I honestly think the more people that get to see the film the more people will see just how unfair and inhuman DOMA is and consequently my hope is many people are moved to action or education.
Again, I Do is having its world premiere tonight at the Ford, which only now has tickets available at the door. You can get more information on the screening here. For more on David, check out his website, find him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.
Lastly, we also did an interview with I Do‘s director, Glenn Gaylord: you can find that interview here.