On Wednesday, October 12th at 7pm, the GLAAD DC Leadership Council in cooperation with Reel Affirmations is proud to present Out of the Closet and Onto the Screen: A Generation of Queer Film. Happily, both writers on this site sit on the Leadership Council and are thrilled to be helping with this event.
Moderated by MetroWeekly’s Chris Geidner, the star-studded panel is scheduled to include Ronnie Kroell – Star of Bravo’s Make Me a Supermodel, June 2010 Playgirl Cover Model, films – Eating Out: Drama Camp, Into the Lion’s Den, Michelle Clunie – Queer as Folk, Make It or Break It, Bob Mondello – National Public Radio’s Arts Critic, and Stephen L. Forssell – GWU Lecturer, LGBT Family Research Expert.
We spoke to our friend, Ronnie Kroell about his own history, his career as an out actor and model and the premiere of his film, Into the Lion’s Den, happening at the Reel Affirmations Film Festival on Sunday, October 16th at 9pm.
TAE: Before coming out, did you find any inspiration from LGBT films?
RK: Broken Hearts Club really had a major impact on me because it showed gay men in a very real and everyday way. The story of this particular group of friends was heartwarming and really made an impact on my life. And of course, I had a major crush on Dean Cain.
TAE: As an out actor and model and Playgirl cover, have you had any career challenges that you think may be due to your being out?
RK: If I have, I am not aware of them. I have never let my personal orientation stand in my way of getting what I want.
TAE: What can you tell us about the premiere of your latest film, Into the Lion’s Den?
RK: Into the Lion’s Den, written by Philip Malaczewski, is a cross between the warm depiction of the relationship between three close friends and a horribly twisted and dark nightmare. Working alongside Jesse Archer and Kristen Alexzander-Griffith was a real treat! It felt like we really were on a road-trip together – much like that of the story of our characters, but minus all the blood and suspense. We certainly had fun making this film and hope that the audience will enjoy this dark, yet humorous thriller – directed by Dan Lantz in association with Breaking Glass Pictures.
RK: Our biggest challenges believe it or not reside within the community itself. We must take it upon ourselves to clean up our own act and start practicing what we are preaching to the community at large. At the heart of the work that must be done is ACCEPTANCE. We still are a community that is having trouble reconciling differences with-in the sub-groups of LGBT, especially where race and gender identity is concerned. Furthermore, if we want the community at large to be more accepting of us we too have to be more accepting of them by eliminating words like, “breeder” from our vocabulary and purposefully tearing down the walls between the “gay neighborhoods” and the “straight” neighborhoods. It’s important to have a sense of community and to celebrate our diversity, but true equality will be reached when we no longer have the need for a “Gay Neighborhood”.
When we can finally live amongst each other without fear of holding our boyfriend or girlfriend’s hand in public, when we can stop focusing on the superficial layers of who we are and celebrate our similarities, when we can reach down and find compassion once again in our hearts – that is when we will have achieved success in this movement. We must stay the course and continue to build bridges between the LGBT Community and our Allies, we must remember to say thank-you and appreciate the victories along the way, and we must never EVER give-up. I envision a more perfect Union where we move beyond these labels and can focus all of our energies on issues that desperately need our attention, ie: healthcare, education, and economy. We cannot afford to sit on the side-lines in complacency, now is the time for ACTION.
TAE: Do you believe more mainstream LGBT films such as Brokeback Mountain and Milk will ultimately help or hurt the production of more independent films such as the Eating Out series or Trick?
RK: Producing more mainstream LGBT films will never hurt the production of more independent films – there will always be a market for them. I do hope that more mainstream films are produced because it effectively reaches a much larger audience and educates the masses about the community, past – present – and future goals. I don’t think mainstream and independent LGBT film are necessarily mutually exclusive – we can have both, that’s the cool part!