Crowdfunder’s Forum is a new regular feature on /bent (and a sibling to our Filmmaker’s Forum features) that allows LGBT media makers to offer first person accounts of the projects they are currently pitching to potential funders through sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
Matthias lives in Berlin.
Matthias likes techno.
Matthew likes Matthias.
Matthew wants Matthias.
Matthias wants to be Matthias.
I moved to Berlin last fall. I had lived in Toronto for eight years. Hogtown’s still home, but something was pulling me away. Berlin just sort of appeared as a destination. The best laid plans often go astray, right? I found myself living in Berlin with a friend from Toronto. We had each other, but otherwise I was totally alone in this city of grey skies and industrial ruins. Fast forward eight months and here I am in pre-production on my first feature.
M / M is an experimental, narrative film. While the film is a work of fiction, it’s an embodiment of my emotional state and a reflection of my experiences as the new boy in Berlin. I came looking for “something better,” but there are a thousand other kids here looking for the same thing. We all want to live better, do better, be better. I hoped geography would be the solution, but changing the city you live in doesn’t change you, it just changes the city you live in. Maybe that was all I was looking for in the first place. I wanted something different, thinking different would be better.
As an outsider in a city full of outsiders, I became fascinated by the ability I had to shape my own identity. I was anonymous. My identity became completely fluid. I had the power to become whomever I wanted to be. Any image can be formed via social media and fleeting physical interaction. And whether it’s conscious or unconscious, most of us actively engage in this creation of identity on a daily basis. It was the combination of this search for “something better” and the ability to create exactly that, or at least the illusion of it, that really brought me to M / M.
The story follows Matthew, a Canadian new to Berlin who’s come looking to make a fresh start. Matthew meets Matthias, a striking and confident, young German. Their brief encounter leaves Matthew reeling. He becomes fixated. As his obsession grows, Matthew begins to take over Matthias’ identity. Being watched by the dead eyes of stone statues, he moves further and further away from reality into a world dominated by dreams and fantasies. This interior world starts to merge with the exterior world and reality really becomes a state of mind. Techno thunders and bodies quiver.
The film embraces camp and dark humour, but contrasts that with an ominous tone and retains a strong visual sensibility. Like my recent short film, Rough Trade, atmosphere and mood are integral parts of the whole. Rough Trade has had a solid festival run, screening at queer festivals like BFI: Flare in London and Inside Out in Toronto, as well as the Los Angeles Film Festival and Slamdance Film Festival in Park City. And in July, we’ll show it at Outfest.
Edgar Retro will star as Matthias, the object of Matthew’s overwhelming desire. He looks the part and can act the part, but even better – Edgar is a techno DJ and electronic producer. His dark sounds are equal parts abrasive, seductive and addictive. It’s a natural soundtrack for the film.
Along with the incomparable Karen Harnisch as producer and Ann Tipper, the astoundingly talented DOP of all my films, M / M is bounding forward, full steam ahead. We shot a few promo videos featuring Edgar here in Berlin last month, which brought to life a throbbing creative pulse in our team.
I want to make a movie that I would want to watch. I want to watch a movie with gay characters. I don’t want to watch a movie about coming out. I want to make a queer film in the tradition of Araki, LaBruce, Almodovar and Haynes thrown into a blender and mixed with Lynch, Harmony Korine and Sofia Coppola. M / M straddles the divide between drama, genre film, video art, music video and the weird dream that woke you up this morning. Boys, Berlin, techno, sex, desire. It’s gonna be a wild ride. Please join us and help us get this film made.