Markowitz talked with Windy City Times about the film from his home in California as he drove through LA traffic. JM: Well living in California that’s sort of a given.
Highlights: WINDY CITY TIMES (WCT): Congratulations on your first feature as a writer and director. It served a couple of purposes I’ll just say (laughs).
I think those are the stories I want to tell whether it’s two men or a man and a woman or three women or eight men and twelve women—WCT: (laughs) That sounds good! I’m writing for the gay audience – have you got any Barbra Streisand stories? But I didn’t have that much contact with her and I’m not going to make something up (laughs). If it was my choice, of course, I’d have plenty of stories.
WCT: I know there’s a short time window between the film being in the theatres and on DVD – why should people make the effort to go out and see it on the big screen? TV gave us a theatrical release on this movie and there are so few gay movies that get that.
That’s just as discriminatory as not giving them the parts because they’re straight.I wish everybody would be like that and honestly, I wish it would get to the point where it didn’t matter and you didn’t have to say it.It wouldn’t have to be labeled “a gay film” or “a gay director” but it’s a tough one.Mostly it’s about people out there surfing because that’s what they love and they’re not really interested in what other people are doing. I think that the Coming Out story is a different story now and I think you can see that in Shelter in the way that Zach’s friends react to him.
WCT: There are a lot of issues in the movie – coming out, the responsibility of parenting, the search for a relationship, your first gay sex, the pros and cons of pursing a career in the arts – did your own evolution as a gay man follow a similar arc? There’s little pieces of me in this film like in anything that you love; in anything that you create there are going to be little pieces and bits of you in it but the storyline – no. WCT: I’m a middle aged gay man so at this point Coming Out stories for me are a dime a dozen but even as I’m saying this I know these are still important stories to tell, right? It’s more like his friends are upset that he never told them in the first place. Was Zach or his sister or any of the characters based on people you knew? I know that there are not very many but I’m always curious about that. I don’t really ask people if they’re gay or straight when they walk in the door.
More than anything, I wanted to do a film that fell in love doing something that was sort of very traditionally “male” – something that men do to bond and usually out of doors – like hunting or camping or dirt biking or snowboarding or surfing.