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Saturday 11 April 2015

NZ short film: Out With Mum

Posted in: Movies
By staff - 7th March 2015

Wellington-based filmmaker Conan McKegg tells us all about short film Out With Mum.

Conan McKegg

Tell us about "Out With Mum", what's the film about?
When closeted Nate and his out and proud boyfriend Rory cross paths with Nate's eccentric mother on the way to Out in the Park, Nate is faced with the choice of revealing his relationship or staying in the closet.

This short film is part of Oneshot Collective's feature film "Encounters", can you tell us a bit about the project?
Encounters is a feature film consisting of twelve short films about chance encounters and how theycanchange the trajectories of people's lives.Eachshort iswritten and directed by a different Wellington-based filmmaker who each brings a different and unique voice to the project. We have a diverse collectivethat have gathered together to make a film that truly celebrates the multifaceted nature of modern New Zealand.

What was it that first made you become interested in filmmaking and writing?
I've had a passion for writing since I could first put two letters together on paper.I've always enjoyed the creative element of bringing a story to life and not just looking at a world that we know, butshowing what the world could be like as well. It's hard to pinpoint what first made me interested because writing has always been a central part of my life. When I was about eight or so, my school published a book I wrote during English class so I know I've wanted to tell stories from an early age. Filmmaking had always been something I wanted to do, but didn't think I had the skill or experience for it until about 2005 when I wrote and shot my first 48 hour film. I was hooked after that.

Are you passionate about telling stories for a gay audience? Is that important to you, and if so, why?
I’m extremely passionate about telling stories for a gay audience. Mainly because we are constantly hammered with heteronormative media every single day and still cheer when a show has one gay kiss. Not only that, but we also see gay relationships often presented in the same tones. I want to see more gay characters and more variety in the relationships they have. I want to show that beingqueer isn't a group of stereotypes. It's complicated, diverse and amazing.I want to show gay,lesbian, asexual, pan,trans and all the diversity of theLGBT community. Not just to educate straight audiences, but to showgay audiences thatwe have a fascinating community to be proud of.

Did you have a similar experience to your characters when you came out or was it quite different?
Out with Mum is very loosely based on a friend's coming out story, so my experience was not the same as my characters. My coming out was surprisingly matter of fact. I was in the car with my Dad and Stepmum heading home from dinner with some cousins, and mid-conversation Dad says to me "Conan, are you gay?" My heart stopped for a moment while I had this two second freak out and then I just said "Yes. Yes I am." Dad shrugged and said "I thought so. I've pretty much known since you were a kid. When you were ten you told me 'Dad, I think I'm in love with Noah Hathaway (the kid who played Atreyu in The Neverending Story)' That's when I knew." That was pretty much it.

Is there anything you'd specifically like to change about the way gay characters are portrayed on screen?
I want to see gay characters as the main protagonists of stories that aren't about them being gay. Several of my more long-term projects are focused on creating heroic interesting gay, lesbian and trans characters whose stories are not about them being gay, lesbian or trans - but about other themes. I hate the way straight people demand that a character should only be gay if their sexuality brings something to the story. Straight characters don't have to do that, why should queer ones?

What's next for you after this? Are you working on any related or similar feature projects and can you tell us what those are about?
I'm actually working on a webseries next called Two Naked Gay Guys. It's a comedy about two guys who hook up over Grindr for a one-off encounter that turns into more. It's already been cast and we're going straight into rehearsal once Out with Mum wraps. My other main projects at the moment are a feature film called Disorientation, which is a body-swap comedy and another web project, Hollow Heart. Hollow Heart is my queer superheroes project, which I'm still tweaking before I can talk more about it. Those are the ones I can talk about, I’ve got a massive list of projects I’ve planned into the long term.

You're fundraising on PledgeMe for "Out With Mum", what do you need the money for and where can people go to contribute?
We need the money to pay the cast and crew for their time and effort. They are basically committing a month of their free time to getting this film made, so I want to pay them something in respect of that.We also need to pay for equipment hire, catering, props, make-up and wardrobe. Even a short five minute film is not cheap to make and every dollar we can raise will be well spent.

People can contribute here 

For more information about Oneshot Collective, to follow the Facebook page and find out who else is involved visit staff - 7th March 2015

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