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indieWIRE’s Project of the Day: Rural Southern Gay Romance, “The Last Summer”

indieWIRE’s Project of the Day: Rural Southern Gay Romance, "The Last Summer"

Each week, we usually gather up four or five projects in progress to feature in a single column. Now it’s going to be a daily feature, so we can give the spotlight to a single project each day.

Is this a movie you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments.

“Last Summer”

Luke and Jonah, high school sweethearts in a rural southern town, prepare themselves to say goodbye as they spend one final summer together.

Elevator Pitch:
Luke and Jonah, two high school sweethearts in a rural Southern town, have known each other since they were four years old. This is the story of their final summer together. As Jonah prepares to leave home for bigger and better things, Luke is faced with an uncertain future and the growing pressures of adulthood.

Production team:
The film is written and will be directed by Mark Thiedeman, whose short work can be seen here. David Goodman, his longtime photographer, will act as director of photography.

About the production:
The idea of the film is to present a world of baseball fields and apple pie and church on Sundays and the fourth of July in which a love story between two boys fits right in. It’s important, specifically in the American South, to present positive images of gay youth and romance. That said, “Last Summer” is a tricky kind of story to tell: we know the ending before the movie begins, and so do the characters. The film itself is simply a portrait of a boy inching closer and closer to something we all know is inevitable: the end of childhood. But this is something to which we can all relate, something with which everyone has dealt. First love (in particular, the act of saying goodbye to our first love) is a perfect vehicle for illustrating the shift in perspective that occurs as we move into adulthood. And that’s what I’m interested in doing: creating a portrait of two southern kids and following the rhythms of their everyday lives, finding the story in their faces, in little gestures. The contemporary art film is, generally speaking, more photographic than in decades past; images, rather than action, create drama. More than ever, we can approach filmmaking as a visual art. The convenience, increasing beauty and low cost of digital video have allowed us the freedom to experiment, to use a new type of image to tell a new type of story. It’s a great time to be a filmmaker. Everything is changing.

Why iW likes this:
Who could ever get sick of tragic, ill-fated relationship stories? And a relationship between two boys in the rural American South, if done well, could offer a fresh perspective.

Current status:
The project is in pre-production. Shooting is scheduled to begin in August.

For more information, and to support the film:
Indiegogo page

To check out director Mark Thiedeman’s short work, go here.

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