The finishing touches are put on film projects as the community gears up to showcase them during a grand display of new queer films. One such film being from the filmmaking Conversono brothers.
Out at the Movies Film Festival is an annual event that runs from Sept. 28-Oct. 1 in Winston-Salem that promotes upcoming, independent film projects about members of the LGBTQ+ community. Brothers Grant and Adam Conversono talked about their new film Summer’s End.
The film is a coming-of-age story that follows Elliott, a closeted queer teen. While he was coming to terms with his sexuality, he discovered his father having an extramarital affair with another man during a family vacation. The father and son will have no choice but to confront each other as both of their secrets and fears must now be expressed.
“It’s a fictional story, but aspects of it are biographical,” says Grant. “Ultimately when making something like this we’re trying to make the most interesting and dramatic fiction. We’re grateful to have the support to make this film happen.”
Filmed in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the cast includes Graham Lutes as Elliott, Michael Abbott Jr. as Elliott’s father, who will also be appearing in the movie Killers of the Flower Moon coming out soon and Maria Dizzia as Elliott’s mother, who is set to appear in the upcoming WandaVision spinoff Agatha: Coven of Chaos.
Out at the Movies has aided the making of Summer’s End in a variety of ways, such as through their platform along with social media and fiscal sponsorship.
“Winston-Salem has a long history of supporting artists and specifically supporting queer artists,” said Max Cullen, the President of Out at the Movies’ Board of Directors. “We’re happy to lend our platform and tactical support for the making of Summer’s End and helping it be done in a tax deductible way. We take pride in bringing queer art and cinema to the area and helping it grow.”
Summer’s End is the first film Out at the Movies has officially supported though their platform. It’s part of their mission of helping projects get out to the wider public since their first screening back in 2004. Their fundraising efforts have assisted in production and post-production expenses for the film, including crew meals, equipment rentals and flights.
“This is the first film project we have officially supported in this capacity,” Max says. “But now that we’ve set up the structure to be able to fiscally sponsor productions, we plan to do more of it. As a leading Queer film festival in the southeast, supporting and platforming emerging artists like Grant and Adam is an important part of our mission.”
Summer’s End has the honor of having an almost all queer cast and crew. A distinction the brothers say wasn’t intentional, but rather a result of a passion project that interested many talented queer people.
“It was never a stated goal,” Grant says. “When you seek out the best people it naturally happens. They’re all wonderful people.”
Throughout the process of making Summer’s End, the brothers felt great amounts of gratitude for the help and support they received from the local community. They themselves grew up near Winston-Salem and attended the UNC School of Arts.
“We grew up and were raised in Concord near Winston Salem,” Grant says “We went to the School of the Arts and even though we live in New York now, we’re still connected to North Carolina. It’s our second home. All these places are where we began. When this project is done, our goal is to help whoever is next. We want to do everything we can to help the next generation of artists. A lot of people supported us and we want to give back.”
Out at the Movies is always looking for more donations to assist in their mission to help emerging filmmakers and queer artists.
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