’August’ :: Keeping it sexy... and the audience guessing
Ten years ago filmmaker Eldar Rapaport had an idea for a movie based on a personal experience he had in the early 1990s. "It was pretty emotional," he said in an interview with Logo, "and I kind of always put that in the back of my mind. Fast forward 10 years, I was sitting in a Lower East Side bar in New York City listening to a friend’s band play; their music was so inspiring that I felt I needed to write something for it. I dug out that particular memory and wrote the script."
That became "Postmortem," a 16-minute film about two ex-lovers who meet sometime after their painful break-up and find themselves wondering what to do next. The film became an award-winning hit on the LGBT film festival circuit, as well as being screened on Logo. And from it comes "August", Rapaport’s first feature that comes to DVD this week.
In the film Rapaport and his co-screenwriter Brian Sloan use an unconventional structure to turn a routine gay love triangle into a compelling and unconventional character study. EDGE spoke to Sloane after the film’s East Coast premiere last year at Philadelphia’s QFest where he explained that his and Rapaport’s goal was to avoid the clichés usually found in these kind of stories.
A plus for the filmmakers was that they were able to get their actors from "Postmortem" - Murray Bartlett and Daniel Dugan - to repeat their roles for the longer film. As the ex-lovers Troy and Jonathan, who reunite and reignite their relationship, the actors have smoldering chemistry onscreen.
"These guys have re-met and now they are sleeping together, so what next. Try to keep it as real as possible. We didn’t want it to be soapy or melodramatic."
Casting the third character - Raul -- in this romantic triangle proved crucial. "We didn’t want Raul to be a sap or an idiot. We wanted him to be more complicated and smart. He understands what is going on, this unsaid thing, but he has a European sensibility. One of letting them work things through. Even with that, it complicates their relationship."
Non-linear story telling
Sloan said that actor Adrian Gonzalez, who plays Raul, instinctively knew how to strike the right balance of emotions.
"The script took about two years to write. Eldar was in LA, so we were emailing scripts back and forth and then talking about it on the phone," Sloan explained. With only a 14-day shooting schedule Rappaport is inventive and stylish with both LA locales and the film’s soundtrack.
The sexual tension between the three leads unfolds in a non-linear narrative that keeps the storyline a bit off-kilter. This structure was "mostly the director’s choice." Sloan said. "He likes films that jump around in time, I had to be convinced. And it changed a lot during the filming. But, in the end, it really works."
Sloan is also a playwright and last year revived what turned out to be a sell-out off-Broadway run of his dramedy "WTC View," in which a gay man searches for his partner who is missing in the aftermath of 9/11. The play was originally produced as part of New York International Fringe Festival in 2003 and was made into a 2005 movie, written and directed by Mr. Sloan. "It was the right time to bring it back onstage." Sloan said. " The emotions are not as raw as when we did the play and the film."
The DVD of August will be released on August 14, 2012 from Wolfe Video. To learn more, the film’s website.
Watch the trailer to "August":