The beauty of independent film-making is that minus the big budgets and special effects, a storyteller’s vision is truly allowed to shine. These are the films that resonate and stick with you long after. The crossover film “I Do” is one of these films. It follows Jack (David W. Ross), a British gay man and longtime New Yorker, torn between his obligations to his family, the life he’s known for years in the U.S. and a possible separation with the love of his life.
Austin Fusion was lucky enough to chat with writer/producer and leading man David W. Ross to find out about his writing process, the inspiration behind the story and love in the time of marriage equality.
AFM: What were your inspirations for “I Do”?
Ross:For me as a writer, I didn’t want to write a gay movie, I wanted to write a movie. The focus is not the gay experience per se. The focus is the human experience of which being gay is part of that experience. “The Hours” and “Notes on a Scandal” were were a couple of movies that I was completely obsessed about. I taught myself how to write by watching these movies over and over again and reading the scripts over and over. Even though “I Do” is not as intense as those movies, there was a need for me to tell the story on a more universal level so lots of people would want to see it because of the issue.
AFM: Did you intend to make this movie to change minds or inspire change in regard to marriage equality?
Ross:It started off as a story because I got my heart broken. I was in a relationship with a guy from England and he wasn’t able to get his paperwork to stay in the U.S. We weren’t in a financial position to be in a long distance relationship (L.A. to London) so we decided to break up.
From that heart break sprung the idea of a funny, Green Card inspired movie but with a gay twist. I got to the point to where I wasn’t happy with it because Proposition 8 was happening in California and I saw so many couples struggling. I felt I had a real opportunity to tell a more serious story that could be seen by straight or gay audiences that would affect people in the same way and make them think twice about marriage equality and how gay people are being treated.
AFM: The topic of marriage equality is so timely, especially since Austin became the first city in Texas to support marriage equality. Perfect timing for your premiere, huh?
Ross: One of my intentions for this film was to have it either come out in 2012 or be watched in 2012 to really make people think twice about the Presidential Elections. A lot of people were saying to me for years that no one would give a crap in 2012 about marriage equality and I really had a strong feeling that it would come into it and become one of the main issues and it is. Did you know, if you get married in a state that allows gay marriage, you still aren’t offered over 1300 rights? It’s just outrageous. It’s not just straight people that don’t know that. A lot of gay people don’t realize just how little rights they have on a state level.
AFM: What has been audience response of your movie in Austin so far?
Ross: What’s amazing is that, it’s a gay movie, but I wrote it to be more mainstream /crossover so the more people that experience the issue, the better. So at Q&A after the first screening, I had a really young girl who was very emotionally affected and said it was her favorite film. And then, an older straight guy also mentioned it was his favorite film. He felt the love story, the way it was portrayed the two guys falling in love, was really universal. It wasn’t about sexuality, but just two people loving each other. That was really exciting.
AFM: What’s your experience been like here in Austin? Will you be back?
Ross: I have to say I’ve completely fallen in love with the town. I’m lucky enough to have friends here and they’ve shown me a bunch of spots. I’ve been to a few bars. I’ve been to the food caravans (trailers) on the East Side and even saw the bats fly at the Congress St. Bridge. I can’t believe how much energy there is here and all the artistic stuff that is going on. It’s completely the opposite of what I thought it would be. I definitely want to come back.
The film ”I Do” premiered over the weekend at Austin Film Festival to a great response. The final screening is upcoming on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 9:15 p.m., Rollins Theatre at the Long Center with filmmaker David W. Ross in attendance.