Shadowlands Pygmalion Revisited

Shadowlands Charlie David & Marc Devigne

My heart is full today.  We just wrapped Shadowlands episode 2 Pygmalion Revisited.  You’ve likely heard athletes, actors or artists talk about being ‘in the zone’ and this whole episode has felt that way.  Perhaps through a mix of focused preparation and a little bit of luck I felt like every day of this shoot my team was in the zone – supporting each other, rooting for each other and contributing creatively to make the best show we could.

Shadowlands miniseries is available on OUTtv and OUTtvGO in Canada and on Vimeo for our friends around the world.

Shadowlands is a book of short stories that I wrote several years back.  For the TV miniseries I selected stories for the initial three episodes – The Hiker, Pygmalion Revisited and Narcissus.  Definitely three very disparate stories but they thematically interweave and all touch on the theme of love.  Negotiating relationships, mourning the loss of a star-crossed love and never having experienced it. 

Shadowlands Charlie David
Charlie David as Rudy in Shadowlands

We filmed episode 2 Pygmalion Revisited first which is the story of an artist who has lost the love of his life and is compelled to paint his lover in an attempt to find communion with him again.  The story was inspired by the Greek myth of Pygmalion and Galatea in which Pygmalion is a sculpture who creates a statue so beautiful, so life like that he falls in love with it.  The goddess Athena takes pity on him and brings the statue, Galatea to life. 

 

My take on the classic myth isn’t quite as succinct nor does it result in a happily ever after.  In fact it may be the most tragic piece I’ve written to this point.  Since the first drafts of the short story and then the script I’ve always felt compelled to play the painter.  His words, his love, his losses felt intrinsically mine.  Though I wanted to act again, I’ve also been anxious about it.  It’s been a while since I’ve been in front of the camera and this role has so many challenges.   For instance, the painter is in every scene.  Half of those scenes are just him with no other actors.  How would I bring to life a whole world; a whole life alone on screen?

Shadowlands Marc Devigne & Charlie David
Marc Devigne (Xavier) & Charlie David (Rudy) in Shadowlands episode 2 ‘Pygmalion Revisited’

The answer for me in many ways was in the casting of Marc Devigne as Xavier, the painter’s lover.  Over the course of a month and a half prior to filming we spent time together in rehearsal or discussion and built our collegial acquaintance into a friendship.  Marc is so special.  He is a truly gifted singer, actor and is thoughtful and gracious in both his creative endeavors and everyday life.  In essence he made falling in love easy. 

Shadowlands - Marc Devigne & Charlie David
Shadowlands – Marc Devigne & Charlie David

We filmed all of the scenes for Shadowlands episode 2 when the painter is alone first over the course of four days and though I hadn’t shot with Marc yet, I had all the richness I needed to shape our relationship in my mind because of his generosity of time leading up to the shoot.  I witnessed how he walks on the balls of his feet when excited, the joys of a road trip with him singing the soundtrack, his predilection for flat ginger ale, his dedication to family, how he looks when excited by a phone call and how it’s impossible not to catch his smile when he throws it in your direction.

Shadowlands Marc Devigne
Marc Devigne as Xavier in Shadowlands episode 2 ‘Pygmalion Revisited’

Marc and I got together yesterday to watch the footage from the shoot and make some selections together.  Since this is a story about a relationship, I wanted to continue to share the film making process with him.  Marc has a great instinct and his opinion has been invaluable throughout this journey.  We’re so excited to share the film with you on the film festival circuit and on TV in Spring 2018!

Charlie  

If you like romance and drama, explore some of our other titles here.

Find out more about the cast and crew of the Shadowlands series on IMDB.

Shadowlands miniseries is available on OUTtv and OUTtvGO in Canada and on Vimeo for our friends around the world.

If you enjoyed this post about the song My Buddy, explore other chats with cast members of the Shadowlands series.

Marc Devigne (Xavier in episode 3 ‘Pygmalion Revisited’ of the Shadowlands series.

Oscar Moreno (Matteo in episode 2 ‘Mating Season’ of the Shadowlands gay series)

Sean C. Dwyer (Alex in episode 1 ‘Narcissus’ of the Shadowlands miniseries)

Nicolas James Wilson (Will in episode 2 ‘Mating Season’ of the Shadowlands gay series)

Vasilios Filippakis (Daniel in episode 2 ‘Mating Season’ of Shadowlands)

Brian Woodford (Drew in episode 1 ‘Narcissus’ of Shadowlands gay series)

Natasha Balakrishnan (Thalia in episode 1 ‘Narcissus’ of Shadowlands

Learn about the hidden ‘Easter Eggs’ in the Shadowlands gay series

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Gender Confirmation

gender confirmation

For LGBTQ people, coming out is a huge step in the process towards self-love and validation.  For someone representing the T in that acronym, gender confirmation surgery may be the ultimate step in becoming their most authentic self.  Thankfully in many countries around the world this hurtle is becoming easier to overcome as our societies become more educated and less discriminatory.

However there are still too many stories of verbal and physical abuse, abandonment and stigma.  That’s why for me sharing stories is so important.  It’s a small step that can help educate and hopefully even trigger empathy.

When our hearts begin to empathize with people we previously considered strangers or incompatible with our own set of social constructs – that’s progress and it can be incredibly powerful.

Though I am a gay man, in my younger years I admit to not understanding how the T fit into the LGBT community.  For that matter I didn’t understand how a person would want to confirm or reassign their gender.

That’s because my perspective was limited and empathy hadn’t entered the equation.  At that point I had not met anyone who had transitioned genders or was considering it face to face.  My knowledge on the subject was limited and my capacity for empathy was also meager.  The opportunity for honest and direct communication is sometimes the most powerful motivation for changed behavior or attitudes.

I am cis male. I look and represent myself to the world in our society’s current and traditional construct of what a man is and/or should be.  I’m very comfortable in my maleness and my body.  I’m at home in jeans, t-shirts and a ball cap.  I’ve sported a beard for over two decades, simply because I’m most comfortable this way.  The fact that my physicality and way of interacting with the world is in alignment with the expectations of the gender I was born means that I operate in a position of privilege.  And as soon as we are able to recognize the unique positions of privilege we each have, it creates an opportunity to look outward and exercise our minds and hearts to be more empathetic.

Essentially I’m an urban bear or lumbersexual if you want to toss some loose labels on me though I prefer not to be packaged because I always find it becomes limiting and never fully represents who I am, my interests and most importantly who I may evolve to be and haven’t even imagined yet.

And that potential for evolution within a person is what I’d like for you to consider today.

In what ways have you changed in your existence thus far?

Have you had to come out to friends or family in one or more aspects of your life?

Is there another revelation you’d like to explore and share with the world?

How does your most authentic and best self look, behave and interact with the world?

Have you had a conversation with someone considering or who has had gender confirmation surgery?

With some of those thoughts in mind, I invite you to watch the latest video in our men’s health series, Balls.  This episode features Danica, a woman of incredible strength, love and resilience.  With Danica as our guide we take a very personal journey to discover gender confirmation.

We have two episodes with Danica within this series so be sure to sign up for my newsletter and subscribe to my YouTube channel so you won’t miss this incredible story.

 

 

If you’d like to start at the beginning of our exploration of men’s health, please check out these other articles and videos.

Balls Documentary – Director Discussion

April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month

Gender Reassignment 

You can watch the documentary in its entirety on Vimeo, Amazon, YouTube or right here.

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Honey, I’m a male stripper. Straight talk about a taboo job in series ‘I’m a Stripper’

male stripper - I'm a Stripper - Brent Ray Fraser

Hearing the phrase, ‘I’m a male stripper’ may not seem like something you’d hear regularly.   But I live in Montreal, a city that is alive with sexual expression.

I like to make films about sexuality — how we as a society embrace or are repulsed by it, what some see as artistic expression and others view as pornography, and where the seeds for these often very visceral reactions begin.

male stripper - I'M A STRIPPER 4AMW or America’s Most Wanted is a male stripper troupe of all Black men who tour in the USA & Canada. 

A few years ago I started my hesitant transition from on camera (actor, TV host) to behind the camera (director, producer) and have discovered I love interviewing people and following their lives in documentary. My instincts told me to follow my curiosity and in the case of my miniseries I’m a Stripper — that’s hot dudes who have entered the profession of male stripper. 

Sometimes being dumb-ass dudes, sometimes being surprisingly emotional and always refreshingly honest.

male stripper - I'M A STRIPPER - Jakub STEFANO

Jakub Stefano is a male stripper who makes his money webcam modeling in episode 5 of I’m a Stripper.

I’m a Stripper is entertainment but it also delves into a provocative new era of sexual liberation and expression. Living in a post feminist era we are now bombarded with the male form undressed for pleasure, for provocation, and as a catalyst in advertising and media.

So in a world that’s approaching a semblance of gender equality – what’s it like to be a male stripper?

male stripper - I'M A STRIPPER 4 AMW show

The male stripper costumes at an AMW show are unique but adored by their enthusiastic audiences of women. 

I wanted to explore the questions of:

1) Are we reaching equalization in the exploitation of the sexes?

2) How are young men being conditioned to perceive their own bodies, their constructs of masculinity, and the disintegration of labels around sexuality?

male stripper - I'm a Stripper - GABRIEL Clark

Male stripper Gabriel Clark finds balance engaged to a woman but dating men.

‘Boys will be boys’ as the saying goes and we were invited onto a pleasure island while filming I’m a Stripper. As a young twenty-something living in Vancouver, I witnessed several handsome friends suddenly working in the adult industry — either as strippers or in video. I always wondered how much $ was enough for them to say yes to that world and the lifestyle that went with it.

To what extent will a young person push their body, their will, or their sexual preference in order to grab some quick cash?

The answer of course is not easy and the young (and sometimes not so young) men in the profession of male stripper we worked with presented their own set of motivations — everything from lust for dollars, an addiction to attention, or simply loving to dance!

male stripper - I'M A STRIPPER 5 Brent Ray Fraser
Brent Ray Fraser explains being ‘Artsexual’ in episode 5.

Directing this documentary was such an adventure because I was able to immerse myself outside my comfort zone, grow and be challenged by the experience. There were many times while interviewing when I had to keep my fist planted firmly under my jaw so it wouldn’t fall to the floor.

These guys are shocking, competitive, profane, yet endearing. Like moss — their charm will grow on you as it feeds from you so keep some dollar bills nearby.

I’m a Stripper miniseries is available on all your favorite platforms including…

  Waiting in the Wings on Google Play     Waiting in the Wings 2

 

 

 

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