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Conversations with Gay Elders: An Intergenerational Film Project

USA, English, 60 mins

  • Director: David Weissman

CGiii Comment

Kerby Lauderdale Episode:

An interesting and important social history project...preserving the memories [and memory] of older gay men. Those who paved the way for where we are now.

Life stories don't come any more interesting that this. What a life this man has led...from forester to pastor, from married-with-children to divorced-and-gay, Kerby Lauderdale has led his life - in his own words - balanced between despair and delight. He is so open about his past, it's impossible not to be taken along with him...on this emotional ride. When his eyes well up with tears...your eyes will well up too.

David Weissman conducts the interview with the utmost of respect...and, care. Daring to ask the unthinkable...he still gets answers. This really is a masterclass in how to conduct an interview...documentarists: Watch, listen and learn. This is how you do it...choose your subjects wisely, put them at their ease, converse...and, listen.

Thank you, Mr Lauderdale, for sharing.

No trailer...

The(ir) Blurb...

In this unique project-in-progress screening, documentary filmmaker David Weissman brings us inside both the stories and the unusual process that comprise his ongoing mission to capture the experiences of gay men of the pre-Stonewall generation. Now living in Portland, Oregon, longtime San Francisco resident Weissman—as in his previous films We Were Here (Frameline34) and The Cockettes (Frameline25)—is fiercely dedicated to listening to the voices and stories of a generation of gay men that is quickly passing. But in this project, after conducting his on-camera conversations with “gay elders,” Weissman turns the filmmaking itself into an intergenerational collaboration by pairing each elder’s footage with an editor from a much younger generation. The resulting filmed dialogues become an informal history as listened to and, in a sense, interpreted by a new generation of gay men.

Weissman’s focus is to create multiple in-depth individual character studies rather than a single feature film, and to amass a rich repository of these histories for future generations who won’t have direct access to the men who lived them. This program will feature excerpts from four of the conversations shot thus far, selected by the young editors themselves. These excerpts include San Franciscans Robert Dockendorff (76) and Jack Lasner (87) as well as New Yorkers Gene Fedorko (72) and Daniel Maloney (77). Following the screening will be a discussion including director-producer Weissman, subjects Dockendorff and Lasner, and editors Alex Bohs, Aron Kantor, Jake Stein, and Ben Zweig.

— Peter L. Stein

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