Photography by Danielle Levitt
With many gay filmmakers leaning toward mainstream stories, Mathews manages to swim against the current with movies that take a bold stance on gay male sex and relationships (his film I Want Your Love was recently banned in Australia for its sexual content). His collaboration with James Franco, Interior. Leather Bar., explores what he calls “censorship and boundaries and sex as a storytelling tool,” and will be released in 2014.
During her 11 years at Outfest, the country’s premiere LGBT film festival, Schaffer has shaped the conversation when it comes to the types of queer stories that are being seen on screen. Beyond simply programming great movies, as the festival’s executive director she’s implemented a film restoration program, a mentoring program for youth to develop short films, and a screenwriters lab. “There are so many new stories being told from communities and countries we haven't heard from,” she explains. “Stories that expand our notion of what it is to be queer, to fall in love, to experience loss, or to discover beauty.”
Photographed at Milk Studios in Los Angeles on August 7, 2013