I'm really trying to create a larger sense of gender awareness by taking a thoughtful look at Angie's life and its context. There is a point in the film where the focus shifts from Angie to her killer. Through recorded phone calls, he makes some horrific statements. I believe that those thoughts are commonly held beliefs. So the larger effort is to not only inform the audience about Angie but also to challenge them and make them take an honest look in the mirror, myself included.
Do you think you were successful?
I hope I'm successful with challenging people's perceptions. Mine weren't necessarily challenged, but I did have to explicitly answer some questions for myself that I had never really thought about before.
What sort of influence do you think this film will have on the GLBTQ community?
I really hope that the film can become a tool for awareness and education. The film is direct and has an edge to it which I hope will push the audience to be self-reflexive. I hope that the GLBTQ community will be able to identify with Angie and find the courage to continue to be themselves. I just hope that anyone who sees this film will take a look in the mirror with honesty and integrity.
Have you ever focused on queer topics before?
No, but the common thread for me is trying to give a voice to those that have a hard time finding one. Angie was from a small town (Fort Lupton), of a marginalized ethnicity, of modest socio-economic means, and was trying to find herself in an un-welcoming context. A friend told me that it's not so much that I found Angie's story, but Angie found me.
Have you been getting the feedback that you were hoping for?
Yes! It's been very gratifying to have shown in five festivals since launching in April, with NewFest in New York coming up in late July. I haven't signed with a distributor yet, but I expect to finish up two contracts in the next month or so. I'm very excited that Angie's story will live beyond the festival circuit. Folks also comment on how the killer gets more face time than they might have expected. I'm glad that they say this. Not because I'm trying to paint him in a sympathetic light, but because looking at him and his attitudes are definitely part of what I'm trying to do.
Getting the side of the killer at least partially included was important for a couple of reasons: The first is that, whether we want to admit it or not, his prejudices are more the norm and not the exception in our society. At least that is my belief. The second is that it would be too easy to make a film about Angie and have the audience only feel sorry for her. As a filmmaker, the most important thing is to make your audience think and not to just inform them. Showing Allen Andrade as more of a person rather than just a villain demonstrates that anyone could be of a similar mind-set and thus capable of unspeakable violence in the absence of some self-reflection about the lives of others.