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Monday 08 November 2010

One woman's drive against hate

Posted in: Movies
By Jacqui Stanford - 31st May 2010

Out Takes Review: Fagbug
Dir: Erin Davies
USA 2008

Erin Davies with her spraypainted VW Beetle

There are many ways to deal with hatred being thrown at you. You can ignore it, you can get angry, or you can take a stand.

Fagbug is the story of how an American woman took a stand when her car was spraypainted with 'u r gay' and 'fag', likely because it was sporting a rainbow gay pride sticker as it sat parked on a street in Albany, New York, where she was attending college.

Instead of just having the words removed, Erin Davies decided to take her VW Beetle on the road, spraypaint and all, to highlight hate crimes and homophobia.

She spent 58 days travelling across the USA and Canada, visiting the scenes of horrific gay murders and taking part in pride parades, all the while documenting her journey on camera.

The basic production quality does Fagbug no disservice, it simply allows the heart of the film to really come through. The moment Davies farewells her girlfriend before heading off on her journey, is a rare big screen sighting of genuine emotion between two lesbians.

The popular notion that the deeper into the heart of America you go, the stranger the characters you meet get, is proven time and time again as the filmmaker and activist unearths an array of Middle American oddities, who all share their homegrown opinions on the words her VW sports. Though some are far from tolerant, most people she speaks to are supportive of her stand in their own strange ways – in fact 99 percent of the negative feedback Davies received came from within the gay community, where she was wildly accused of trying to use the publicity to make money.

Fagbug is genuine - and while it is often very sweet, there are parts of the film which are incredibly raw, such as the heart wrenching insights into the impact the murders of young gay American men have had on the victims' families, which show the journey against hate and homophobia is far from over.

Fagbug is showing at the Out Takes film festival.  It screens at Wellington's Paramount this Sunday at 4.10pm.

Watch the trailer below.

Jacqui Stanford - 31st May 2010

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