By Kristin Suratt on Thursday, May 9th, 2019 in Documentary, Festival Tent, Mendocino Village, News.
Gay Chorus Deep South Captures Tribeca Audience
Gay Chorus, Deep South captivated film fans at the 18th Annual Tribeca Film Festival, garnering the Audience Choice Award on May 4. Directed by David Charles Rodrigues, the film was conceived as a response to the divisive 2016 presidential election and a wave of discriminatory anti-LGBTQ laws in Southern states. Gay Chorus, Deep South chronicles the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir as they embark on a tour of the American Deep South. The tour brings a healing message of music, love and acceptance to communities and individuals confronting intolerance.
Gay Chorus, Deep South: A Journey of Reconciliation
Over 300 singers traveled from Mississippi to Tennessee, through the Carolinas, and over the bridge in Selma, Alabama. They performed in churches, community centers, and concert halls in hopes of uniting people in a time of deeply polarized opinions. Led by Gay Chorus Conductor Dr. Tim Seelig and joined by Conductor Terrance Kelley and the powerful Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, the journey challenges Tim and other chorus members to confront their personal demons, lifelong pain, and the prejudices that caused many to flee the South. Their personal journeys towards reconciliation are some of the most moving passages in the film.
“The entire reason we made this film was to bring this message of belonging of the LGBTQ community and all communities that are considered ‘the other’ to as many people as possible in the world, and the Audience Award at Tribeca is the ultimate celebration of exactly this.” Rodrigues said.
Gay Chorus, Deep South: Voices of the South
The film captures many voices of the South—stories of struggle, resilience, celebration, and unity. What emerges is a less divided America, where the lines that separate people—faith, politics, sexual identity, and prejudice are erased through the power of music, human connection, and a little drag. The intent of the film is to embody activism with song and open arms, not shouting and protest. Meeting local communities both liberal and conservative allowed for discovery, listening, and understanding the many voices that together create the colorful, inspiring and sometimes complex place called the Deep South. The film intentionally asks questions that the audience can reflect on and bring to their own communities: can our human vibrations, our vibrato, become an instrument towards acceptance? Can beginning to understand and accept different perspectives on faith, sexuality and politics build instead of divide?
Gay Chorus, Deep South: Director David Charles Rodrigues
David is a Greek-American-Brazilian filmmaker and civil rights activist. A Sundance Film Festival New Frontier and Doc lab fellow, his work leverages art, music, and cinematic narratives in order to “trojan-horse” challenging messages into people’s hearts and minds. Gay Chorus Deep South is his featured documentary debut.
There will be a Q&A with filmmakers after the screening.
Listen to his interview on Peggy’s Place on KGUA radio with host Peggy Berryhill and co-host Leigh Anne Lindsey.
For schedule, tickets and information about the film click here.