Tony Wilkins is a ‘mo. Perhaps the term hasn’t become a catch phrase yet, but he did discover this endearing word for “ho-mo-sexual” while watching an old episode of “Will & Grace.”
And whether you’re a ‘mo or not a ‘mo (“no ‘mo” perhaps?), “The ‘Mo Diaries,” Wilkins first film might have something in it for you. Gay and straight, documentary and narrative, sex and love, marriage and Proposition 8, Wilkins melds them together in a creative pot and has come up with a recipe of a film that will likely please everyone’s palate and leave them with something to talk about.
Although topical, especially with Prop. 8 still being contested, Wilkins said he started writing the screen story and treatment a few years back, before Prop. 8 was even on the ballot. Nonetheless, the film does deal with gay marriage and Wilkins does it with humor “in order to start an open dialog between people.”
“The ‘Mo Diaries” is part documentary and part fiction. As Wilkins explains, he had enough interesting real life stories, but he thought many aspects of the film would be better off told scripted. Besides a lot of the fictional elements are based upon truth and, thus, allowing Wilkins to create composite characters of some real life people he knows and to represent others who didn’t want to be on-camera or are no longer with us.
“My original inspiration of this film is from three generations of my extended family,” he says “and the power and changes that came from the matriarch’s coming out of the closet in her later years.”
That inspiration sent Wilkins to his computer keyboard to in essence write her story. In order not to interfere with his three other careers in marketing, public speaking and writing, Wilkins mostly spent his evenings honing the story and eventually adding the documentary aspects.
“It’s easy to work a lot when you don’t have a boyfriend,” says Wilkins, who smiles that he can easily become “better at scheduling” in order to accommodate a partner.
You can see Wilkins passion for not just the movie but for everything he does. So after wrapping and working with the editor of the film, Wilkins directed his attention in getting his movie shown, thinking the best grassroots efforts could be spent partnering with non-profit agencies, giving them half of the take of the screenings with no financial investment on their part. Surprisingly, Wilkins’ phone calls and emails mostly went unanswered due to perhaps bureaucracy in dealing with larger corporations but in some cases it just seemed like poor management and professionalism on the organizations parts.
So due to lack of response, this film so far is not scheduled for a screening to benefit the San Francisco AIDS Foundation or the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, among others. Fortunately, he received a great response from the HRC, who is working with Wilkins on a fund-raising screening and Wilkins has had a lot of support from many gay-friendly businesses. “It’s funny,” Wilkins says, “but the gay community has been less interested in reaching out and working with me.” He adds that even when trying to find actors or real subjects, he discovered very few willing to participate outside of his own circles. “So don’t be mad with lesbians and transgender people are not well represented in the movie,” he says, “as I did try.”
But since there’s already been interest in continuing the story into a TV series, it’s not too late for lesbians and transgender folks to step forward.
“The ‘Mo Diaries” will have a red carpet movie premiere at San Francisco’s LGBT Center on April 29 at 6pm and the HRC fundraiser is the next night, April 30, at the same time and location.
Additionally, a run of the film is scheduled to begin on May 29 at the Roxie Theatre as well as a special screening at the El Cerrito Theater (510-838-1994) on April 23, 2009 at 7pm and the Russian River Resort (707-869-0691) on May 4.
Get ticket and showtime information at www.themodiaries.com or if you want to take advantage of a special Progressive Pulse red carpet offer, contact Wilkins directly at AWil267487@aol.com and he will provide one free ticket for every two paid, while supplies last.
Check out the trailer below for “The Mo Diaries”.