Documentary about a real Modern Family to world premiere at Sarasota Film Festival
BOSTON, MA (April 1, 2016) – THE GUYS NEXT DOOR, a feature-length documentary about a real Modern Family, is an official selection of the Sarasota Film Festival and will have it’s world premiere on April 2 and 4. “We are thrilled and honored to launch our film at a festival that is committed to showcasing work by women directors and has a long history of screening important LGBT movies,” said co-director Allie Humenuk.
Award-winning documentary filmmakers, Amy Geller and Allie Humenuk spent over three years filming this intimate portrait of a gay couple with two daughters birthed by their close friend Rachel. Rachel and her husband Tony already have three biological children of their own. According to Geller: “In 2011, I read this extraordinary article about Rachel and her offer to have a baby for her friends Erik and Sandro. What would compel a woman in her 40s to do this? I immediately contacted my filmmaker friend Allie, and we arranged to meet Rachel’s family and Erik’s family. We brought a camera along and from the first moment we started to shoot, we fell in love with these people.”
THE GUYS NEXT DOOR offers a contemporary alternative to the 1950’s traditional ideas of what constitute the nuclear American family. It is a timely film that both embraces and transcends gay rights and gay families. In the words of esteemed documentary filmmaker Ross McElwee (Sherman’s March), “with nuance, verve and humor, this film explores the humanity that connects us all.”
In Florida, the issues raised in the film are particularly relevant. As the state grapples with the ramifications of the US Supreme Court’s June 2015 ruling legalizing same sex marriage nationwide, married lesbian couples who choose to have children are not granted the same rights as heterosexual couples. While most other states have changed their policies, the sunshine state only recognizes the parent who carried the child on the birth certificate. Currently, two bills in the Florida Legislature to amend the law are pending.
Sat, April 2, 2016, 5:45 PM, Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20 Sarasota
Cast and filmmakers will be present.
Mon, April 4, 2016, 9:15 PM, Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20 Sarasota
Filmmakers will be present.
A local connection: Sarasota resident Clare Segall, mother of surrogate Rachel Segall, is also featured in the film. For more than a decade, Clare has served on the board of Planned Parenthood, volunteers for Dance Next Generation, a program for at risk children organized by the Sarasota Ballet, and was honored as a 2016 “Women in Power” by the National Council of Jewish Women. She and her husband Rich moved to the area over 15 years ago.
The film has been funded by the LEF Moving Image Fund, Poss Family Foundation, The David E. Retik Christopher D. Mello Foundation and by over 470 Kickstarter backers. The project is also supported by the IFP and the Center for Independent Documentary, the film’s non-profit fiscal sponsor.
Amy Geller has been producer and line producer on numerous commercials, shorts and documentaries, including the PBS/BBC broadcast docudrama “Murder at Harvard.” She also produced the Sundance Institute-supported narrative “Stay Until Tomorrow”, “The War That Made America,” a four-hour PBS mini-series broadcast in 2006, and “Love and Other Anxieties”, a personal documentary directed by funder-turned-filmmaker Lyda Kuth. Geller’s most ambitious production to date, the feature documentary “For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism,” has screened at over 80 film festivals, theaters, and universities in the US and abroad. It was broadcast internationally in Spain, France, Israel, and Japan and nationally on the Documentary Channel and WGBH-Boston. She has taught classes at Boston University and Emerson College. Most recently, Geller served as the Artistic Director of the Boston Jewish Film Festival. THE GUYS NEXT DOOR is her feature-length directorial debut.
Allie Humenuk is an award-winning filmmaker and Emmy nominated cinematographer whose films have been broadcast nationally and internationally and screened at film festivals, museums and schools. Her feature documentary, “Shadow of the House,” about the photographer Abelardo Morell was heralded as “one of the best films ever made on a artist and the artistic process” by Bo Smith, former curator of the film program at the MFA Boston. She was nominated for an Emmy for her camera work on the PBS series “Design Squad.”For over 15 years Allie was the Executive Producer at Vida Health Communications where she created media about public health issues. She has taught film and video production at Harvard University and the Massachusetts College of Art. Currently, she freelances as a Director, Cinematographer and Editor. THE GUYS NEXT DOOR is her second feature film.
MEET THE GUYS NEXT DOOR
Sandro grew up Catholic on the remote island of Sardinia in Italy. Fearful of being rejected, Sandro never came out to his mother, who died just weeks before he met Erik in New York. Now a father, Sandro experiences a profound parental shift and begins to reevaluate his relationship with his mother.
Erik, like Sandro, has a complicated relationship with his mother Ellie. Her homophobic upbringing made her fear her son’s apparent homosexuality. She adored Erik but discouraged any perceived feminine behavior when he was a child. It was difficult for Erik to “come out,” in part because he internalized his mother’s homophobia. He does not want to pass this onto his children.
Erik and Sandro live in Maine with their two daughters – Rachel Maria and Eleonora.
Rachel and Tony, a traditional married couple, live in the Boston suburbs with their three teenage children. But there’s nothing traditional about Rachel’s decision, at 41, to become a surrogate for Erik, her friend from college, and his husband Sandro. Not once, but twice within 2 years.
By helping her gay friends to have daughters, Rachel makes the deeply personal political. With the support of Tony and their children, she affirms gay rights and same-sex parenting.
For more information, please visit http://theguysnextdoorthemovie.com/.