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The Outfest Interviews: A Word With Ernesto Foronda And Silas Howard, Co-Directors of Sunset Stories

The Outfest Interviews: A Word With Ernesto Foronda And Silas Howard, Co-Directors of Sunset Stories 1

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.

Sunset Stories is perhaps the most Los Angeles movie at Outfest this year. The film is co-directed by Ernesto Foronda and Silas Howard and follows May (Monique Gabriela Curnen) as she is in the process of transporting a cooler across Los Angeles, which she loses after running into her ex-boyfriend, JP (Sung Kang). The movie sees them on a quest through Los Angeles as they run into various personalities from Justin Vivian Bond to Zosia Mamet to Nao Bustamante to Harold Perrineau. We spoke with the co-directors on the film and how the film plays into the culture of Los Angeles and the LGBT community.

The Outfest Interviews: A Word With Ernesto Foronda And Silas Howard, Co-Directors of Sunset Stories 1

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?

Both of us have previously screened at Outfest and consider the festival a major support for our work and favorite festival to screen at.

(SH) My first feature, By Hook or by Crook screened at Outfest and won Audience Award & Best Screenplay Jury Award.

(EF) I’ve screened a handful of shorts and have produced a few features that have also been screened at the festival. I’ve also worked as a programmer and helped as part of the selection committee for the Screenwriter’s Lab.

Sunset Stories is a film about amending the past, letting go, losing and finding love, and the beauty that is Los Angeles. It’s about nurse who, while transporting a cooler containing bone marrow for a transplant, loses it and must recruit the help of her ex-boyfriend whom she left five years ago.

The Outfest Interviews: A Word With Ernesto Foronda And Silas Howard, Co-Directors of Sunset Stories

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?

In our past work, both of us have focused on showing lives often ‘othered’ in film and recasting them in stories where they are front and center – the hero rather than the sidekick. They function as fully realized characters, imperfect and fallible, but not serving a lesser purpose most ‘othered’ characters often do. We want to keep furthering representation of marginalized characters in new, challenging, fun and exciting ways.

Sunset Stories is about outsiders and the resistance of heteronormative narratives. The film works to bring these (different) communities that many try to divide and conquer together because we are really all in the same boat, especially with what’s going to happen in this election year.

The Outfest Interviews: A Word With Ernesto Foronda And Silas Howard, Co-Directors of Sunset Stories

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?

It’s okay to wear your heart on your sleeve. Being emotional–being able to laugh and cry when you want–is powerful. No matter who you are, you are in control of your own story/destiny and everyone deserves a happy ending. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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?

Sunset Stories is a love letter to Los Angeles. It is the Los Angeles that we know and love but, for the most part, ignored.

The Outfest Interviews: A Word With Ernesto Foronda And Silas Howard, Co-Directors of Sunset Stories

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?

The film premiered at SXSW in March, then was a centerpiece screening at the LA Asian Pacific FIlm Festival where it won Best Ensemble Cast Acting Award by Jury, after Outfest, Sunset Stories has it’s NYC premier with the New York Latino International FIlm Festival in August. We want the movie to play in outer space. That is our hope for the film. A new hope. Star Wars and Avatar rolled into one.

Sunset Stories will be screening at Outfest this Saturday, July 14, at REDCAT Downtown. There will also be an after party at Human Resources that will feature performances by Justin Vivian Bond, Nao Bustamante and Jacolby Satterwhite. You can also get more on the movie from their Facebook page.

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