EDITOR'S NOTE: This is part of a collection of interviews with the filmmakers from Outfest 2009's "Four In Focus" selection, which features work from four first time directors
Hollywood Je T'aime, directed by Jason Bushman
As described by the festival: "Paris might be lovely in the springtime, but in the winter it sucks - especially after you've just been dumped. Lusting for sunshine, among other things, delicious Frenchman Jerome heads to California and falls in with an eclectic crowd that calls Hollywood home. Weird, wild and ultimately beautiful, writer-director Jason Bushman's debut feature will make you fall in love with LA all over again. The stellar cast includes Eric Debets and Chad Allen."
Please introduce yourself...
My name is Jason Bushman. I’m a Scorpio homosexual yogi filmmaker. I live in Silver Lake, California sometimes – and in Paris, France other times.
How did you become interested in filmmaking? How has this interest evolved throughout your career?
I’ve been an actor since I was a little kid in West Texas, doing tons of theater before getting a degree in it at UCLA. I then segued into film and TV; but my Hollywood acting career didn’t live up to my fantasy of what it would be, so I started writing screenplays. I’ve been doing that for almost ten years now, and more recently I took the leap into directing.
How the idea for your film come about? What were you trying to express with it?
So far the films I’ve made have been very much derived from my own life experience, and I’ve done the ‘new actor in LA’ gig before. I’m also really into outsiders, the archetypal stranger coming to town. A gay Frenchman in Los Angeles was funny and sexy to me, and I wrote it with the lead, Eric Debets, in mind. From there, I was looking to make the connection between attention from a lover and the attention of the camera - and, so, Hollywood.
What were the biggest challenges? Artistically? Financially?
It is not easy to make any movie. It costs a lot – financially, of course, but also emotionally. This one was especially interesting because our small budget meant using the home I share with producer Charles Herman-Wurmfeld; not only as a production office and a major shooting location, but also as housing for three actors who came in from out of town. It felt like a dorm but, because of the location it served, it was painted like a hot drag explosion.
What were some of your influences?
Movies: Midnight Cowboy, Wizard of Oz, À bout de souffle, & Happy Together. Books: The Ethical Slut & The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Music: Dan Fishback & Emvie.
What do you feel are some significant challenges that face filmmakers today? Specifically those working with LGBT content?
Queer movies are so important: the more visibility we have the better. I believe art is always political. Any movie is hard to make; but the money people are especially wary of gay films, because they’re afraid they won’t “cross over.” But I believe if we make honest queer movies of quality, then straight audiences will follow. And, in case they don’t, then we must keep the budget low enough so we don’t need them.
What are you most looking forward to at Outfest?
To screen Hollywood, je t’aime at the Ford Amphitheater is going to be incredible. But I always love Outfest, even when I don’t have a movie there. This year I look forward to the parties, seeing old friends, making new ones, and catching the hot crop of new queer cinema