A Priest At The Crossroads Of Identity & Self-Acceptance

Award-winning writer/director Sebastian LaCause (screen capture)

Award-winning actor, writer and director Sebastian LaCause (Hustling, He’s With Me, Life’s A Drag) has a new, provocative film project in the works – Holy Water.

In the intro video for the upcoming short film, LaCause explains the story follows “a gay priest at a crossroads of identity and self-acceptance as he struggles to come to terms with an HIV diagnosis.”

Explaining that film and other entertainment can have positive social impact, the filmmaker hopes to spark positive momentum toward fighting HIV related stigma and homophobia that many within the community feel in their homes, schools, and society at large.  

The struggle for his protagonist in Holy Water is not only with his sexuality, but also the “dark consequences of not knowing your value.”

The priest in his film is described as “someone who has spent a lifetime denying large parts of himself in order to feel worthy,” says LaCause. “He is someone who has spent a lifetime not loving himself and not knowing his value.”

(screen capture)

And speaking of ‘value,’ LaCause shares part of the journey of the project that led to an epiphany of his own.

After sharing the concept of the film at a ‘pitch-fest’ in Los Angeles, LaCause was about to move from one studio executive to the next when the executive he’d just spoke to asked, “Why are you the one to tell this story?”

LaCause took a long pause before telling the exec, “Because I’m HIV-positive.”

In the video below, it’s clear that information is something LaCause has felt very private about for some time. Speaking the words out loud, the effect on him is obvious.

“And I suddenly felt free,” he continues. “I’m done with shame; I’m done with fear; I’m done with hiding.”

“I could care less about negative expectations, or backlash, or ruining my career because I now know what’s the point of having a career if you don’t feel worthy of it?”

“I have been running away from myself my whole life. It feels good to be speaking my truth.”

(screen capture)

The honest, visceral, authentic moment definitely evokes an interest in how LaCause will bring Holy Water to fruition. Watch the video pitch here.

Note – while the video is from a crowdsourcing campaign, this article is not meant to elicit donations. Feel free to do so, but the interest here was in the storytelling by LaCause and his desire to fight HIV stigma.

If you haven’t discovered LaCause’s terrific web series, Hustling, it’s definitely worth watching.

(screen capture)

Thoughtful, sexy, pensive, provocative…and did we mention sexy?

Over the course of three seasons, the series snatched up tons of nominations and awards for Best Writing, Best Drama Series, Lead Actor, Lead Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting and Soundtrack at the Indie Series Awards, Webby Awards, LA Webfest and more.

For an idea of where LaCause may head with Holy Water, check out the teaser for the third season of Hustling below.

Leave a Comment