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New York grabbed me too hard, as did adulthood.
– Ira Sachs
Why do people stay in relationships that are tough from almost the very beginning?
For gay people, we learned about our lives in secrecy and a lot of fear.
Without community events like NewFest, I don’t think we’d have a queer cinema in America.
I find the stuff that is exciting to me are the films coming out of Taiwan and Iran and France. So I have the feeling I’m not making the films that American distributors want to make.
One of the biggest things that happens to many people when they have kids is that you suddenly realize that you’re not going to last forever. You know there is another generation who are the heroes of their own stories, and that is humbling.
I don’t think I’d ever start making a film until I had both the intimacy with the subject and the distance to make it live in a certain way.
I’ve made four films about the destructive nature of relationships, of secrets and lies, and I think I’m no longer interested in that subject – which is a wonderful relief.
Everything encourages you not to tell stories of gay lives. There is no economy yet for that kind of cinema.
As independent filmmakers, we are actually deeply dependent on each other. The Spirit Awards are a public expression of those bonds, the intricate set of relationships and histories that we filmmakers depend on to make our most personal work.
I grew up in the 1960s in Memphis, and my father was a member of the American Civil Liberties Union. I was born three years before Martin Luther King was killed, and I think that history of civil action was something that I had in my blood.
For me, every film is actually a form of documentary.
I could not – and I still cannot – see a sustainable career as a filmmaker in which I focus fully on our gay stories.
Seeing the road show of ‘A Chorus Line’ in 1977 at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Memphis was a life-changing event for me: there were gay people, on the stage, and they all lived in New York.
By 15, I was lucky enough to find the theater.
Being an artist is in part an act of rupture.
I came to N.Y.C. in 1988 and got very involved with Act Up. I also started making movies, including two very gay shorts, ‘Vaudeville’ and ‘Lady.’ It was the height of the AIDS epidemic, and New York City was both dying and very alive at the same time.
All of my films have been autobiographical – it’s all I’ve got to go on.
It’s easy to make a film, but it’s hard to make a career of being a filmmaker.
You can be aware of the passing of time without being nostalgic.
Capturing intimacy is pretty much the only thing I’m interested in. That’s what excites me and what I find beautiful in movies personally – that almost obscene sense that we shouldn’t be this close to these people. I find that very inviting and meaningful as an audience member.
A lot of what I think I do as a director is try to give everything over to the actor. So I disappear.
You can understand why good publicists go on to run distribution companies: because the creativity involved is complex and nuanced.
Every film is hard to fund.
Fighting bitterness can be a full-time job.
I’m not interested in a film about deceit anymore. I think I was always invested in deceit on some level. But it no longer compels me the way it did for so many years.
Everyone wants to belong, and everyone needs to belong in order to make a career on some level.
My films might have been queer – because I was – but they were not gay.
By 1988, I was living in New York myself.
I think it’s interesting: What is the generational effect of the experience of being a gay person in America? For my generation, it was very difficult.