That had to be one of the thoughts going through Ryan Beene's head as he planned his attach on our hearts with 'In The Dark.' But there was also the drive to accomplish something that would be sucha positive thing for members of our LGBT community to have, watch, and appreciate.
Growing up, I don't know if I could've named a positive representation of the LGBT+ community in film. It was as if we were invisible. Either that, or a punchline. And what's worse is that 20 years later, there is no difference. GLAAD recently reported that in 2016 we were still virtually invisible or only in a film to be made fun of. “Zoolander 2” might be the best recent demonstration of us being a punchline.
That's one excerpt from Ryan's article in Outsports.com. He does mention that there is better representation on television like on the shows “How To Get Away With Murder,” “Empire,” “Sense8” (RIP), “The Real O’ Neils” (RIP) and “Dear White People.” At least television is using gay actors to portray gay individuals, unlike the movies “Moonlight,” “Carol,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “Call Me By Your Name.” All straight actors. And almost all straight directors.
Ryan states that he wants to make a big change in film and make it a focus of his film career to use gay actors for gay roles and there also more gay directors behind the camera.
In my final semester at Texas Lutheran University this last spring, I decided I would make my first short film that was really my own … I'd recently watched “Moonlight” and “Certain Women,” both movies with queer characters. They inspired what I wanted to do with the film and the internal struggle that some of these characters faced. I wanted to tell the truth about what it's actually like for many people to come out, with the added layer of playing a sport and trying to be in a relationship.
My most important goal was to show how happy two people can be together, regardless of gender or sexuality. Maybe if people finally saw LGBT people on screen being as they are, which is normal, they'd be less afraid of it. It is so important for kids to see that people can be LGBT and happy or in a happy relationship. It can honestly save lives.
I started with one version of the story and ended with one that was very different. If you notice, most LGBT+ relationships in film are portrayed as entirely sex-obsessed or entirely sexless. There is often not the normal “in-between” that is reality. My professor, Shannon Ivey, helped me find that happy medium with the script to make the relationship grounded and real.
Beene goes on to discuss that people are still uncomfortable with seeing physical intimacy between people of the same sex, which drove him to keep the film more PG-13. Head over to Outsports.com to hear more about his thought process in constructing 'In The Dark.'
But for now, here is his 30 min short film. Can you relate? What do you think of Ryan Beene's creation?
A gay college student, Austin, is hiding his sexuality from everyone in his life, until he meets Eric. Austin is instantly attracted to Eric's comfort in who he is. When they start a relationship, Austin may have to choose between keeping Eric in his life or keeping his secret.
Ryan Beene played tennis at Texas Lutheran University
Daniel Saunders as Austin
Ryan Beene as Eric