Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-01-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

REELING FILM FESTIVAL Gay filmmaker takes the crown in 'Pageant'
by Lauren Emily Whalen
2019-09-17

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


In Pageant Material, a teen dreams of becoming a queen—a drag queen, that is. Rodney ( Hart Morse ) is seventeen, out of the closet and mourning the death of his beloved mother. While enduring bullying from classmates and his redneck stepfamily, Rodney holds tight to fantasies of shiny tiaras and—even brighter—acceptance.

"The core of the story is about following your dreams and what you might face along the way," said Jonothon Mitchell, the director and co-writer of Pageant Material, a Cinderella-inspired narrative that will screen Sept. 24 as part of Chicago's Reeling Film Festival. "I think it's a universal feeling."

Although the Atlanta-based filmmaker and actor didn't share the drag dreams of his young protagonist, elements of his own experience made it into the screenplay he co-wrote with Madison Hatfield.

"I grew up incredibly close to my mother," Mitchell said via phone. "Rodney's deep connection with his mom is the most informed part of the film. I am the only child of a single mother, and my mom's always been my number-one fan."

Like Rodney, Mitchell came of age as a queer teen in the small-town South. He was inspired to write Pageant Material while filming a movie in Gaffney, South Carolina. Mitchell approached Hatfield, who was playing his onscreen wife, and "three days after we met we started writing a script and bouncing ideas off each other." What started as a short film soon evolved into a feature and less than six months later, cameras were rolling.

As an openly gay teen, Rodney encounters his share of bullying and violence—much of which is depicted onscreen. "I tout this as a story of queer joy, but there's a lot [of obstacles] Rodney encounters on his journey," Mitchell said. "For me, queer joy is the ability to be unabashedly yourself in the face of adversity. Rodney knows who he is, and in every single instance he stands up for himself and fights back.

"Unfortunately, violence and bullying [are] part of the queer experience," Mitchell continued. "If we want to do justice to the story of Rodney, I think it's important to show what could and does happen to so many others."

Rodney also finds a host of allies. His best friend Monique ( Marianne Johnson ), a wannabe makeup artist, and two employees of an all-night diner all help him prepare for the pageant. In one of the film's most touching scenes, a short-order cook ( Alexander Baxter ) praises Rodney's bravery and makes a surprising confession.

"Madison had walking pneumonia while we were writing," Mitchell said. "She called me and said, 'I just wrote this monologue for Dale the line cook. If you hate it, we can get rid of it.' I hung up the phone, read it and called her back, weeping.

"As she describes to people who ask, she felt it was important to showcase a straight white man who wasn't a dick."

Mitchell and Hatfield are now working on their next project, which Mitchell describes as "an abortion road-trip romcom." Though Pageant Material was Mitchell's first foray into feature filmmaking, he's eager to repeat the process.

"With a feature it's just so much more intense and more work," he said. "But the higher the risk, the bigger the reward."

Pageant Material will screen Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 9:15 p.m. at Landmark's Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark St. Director and screenwriter Jonothon Mitchell will attend. For more about the 2019 Reeling Film Festival, visit ReelingFilmFestival.org .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

WORLD Trans activist killed, Israeli center, Brazilian priest, Netflix film 2020-01-14 - In South Africa, Limpopo police are investigating the death of transgender activist Nare Mphela, 28, whose decomposing body was found in a rented ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Taylor Swift, GLAAD, music festivals, CW renewals, Jake Gyllenhaal 2020-01-14 - GLAAD will honor global superstar Taylor Swift and award-winning director, producer, writer and advocate Janet Mock at the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards ...


Gay News

'Michael Hutchence' soon out on digital, DVD and Blu-ray 2020-01-13 - The new documentary Mystify: Michael Hutchence, about the late INXS frontman, comes to digital and on demand platforms on Jan. 21, and to ...


Gay News

Oscar nominations out, with favorites and surprises 2020-01-13 - The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its 2019 Oscar nominations Jan. 13. As widely expected by commentators, films with multiple ...


Gay News

LGBTQ critics name film, TV honorees 2020-01-11 - GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics—composed of 260 mainly U.S. journalists covering film and television—named its final-round choices for 2019's finest movies, ...


Gay News

WINTER THEATER PREVIEW Classics and revivals abound this season 2020-01-07 - One advantage to 2019's abbreviated lead-up to the holidays is the number of shows that decided not to close when the mirror-ball dropped, ...


Gay News

Parasite,' 'Peanut Butter' and pachyderms, best and worst movies of 2019 2020-01-07 - In the cinematic world, 2019 will be forever remembered for its sheer variety. For once, movies did not squeeze into a neat ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Best LGBTQ films, Eddie Murphy, Obama's songs, DJ retires 2020-01-07 - Advocate released its list of the 30 best LGBTQ films of the 2010s. Some on the list include Appropriate Behavior, Moonlight, The Kids ...


Gay News

Ellen DeGeneres, Elton John among Golden Globe honorees 2020-01-06 - The 77th Annual Golden Globes were distributed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills on Jan. 5. ...


Gay News

Alla Kovgan dances with Cunningham 2019-12-27 - Filmmaker Alla Kovgan has created a new 3D documentary depicting the works of modern dance pioneer Merce Cunningham. Moscow born Kovgan has built ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.