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Ally Walker has been an inspiration to me all of my adult life. Growing up in a small town of less than 1,200 people there weren't a lot of role models to be found so I looked to television. I found my role model in Dr. Samantha Waters from Profiler. Walker played Waters with an intelligence, strength, and passion that made me want to get out into the world and make a difference. Because of the show, I went on to study forensic psychology. The sociology and psychology classes paired with forensics I've learned have helped me with a cold case project I'm working on in Kentucky that I hope will provide closure to some families. To call Ally Walker an inspiration is an understatement.
DP/30: Sex, Death and Bowling, director Ally Walker youtu.be
Not only did Walker inspire me with Profiler, but she inspired me with a documentary, For Norman. Walker came upon a woman and a one-year-old baby named Norman in a park one day. They were homeless and the baby had cardboard on his feet to keep them warm. After Walker talked to the mother for a while it became obvious the mother was mentally ill. Instead of walking away like most of society would unfortunately do these days, Walker decided to help these two.
She went to a clinic to have the baby checked out, she called the woman's family to try and get them to help but to no avail, and she ultimately found them a shelter to stay at. However, Walker was so worried about the health of the baby that she discussed this with shelter employees who told her to call the Department of Child and Family Services. This is where For Norman picks up.
Walker saw the same woman on the street, this time without baby Norman. Walker wanted to find out what happened to Norman and whether or not he was okay. Instead she found out about a foster care system that wasn't all it was cracked up to be. “My friend Adam Davidson and I started filming,” she told me.
“The court opened up and let me interview kids in the system. At that time, there were 50,000 kids under the DCFS's supervision. The film won awards for showing the struggles these kids faced: being taken from their homes with no real help given to their parents; being moved as much as 20 times within the first year; being separated from their siblings and sometimes being put into much worse situations.
"For me, the experience was shocking. For a country that likes to stress family values we really don't consider families much. The kids I filmed were some of the most courageous people I have ever met. As were their families, both foster and biological. I'd like to do a follow up documentary and see what became of them. Many people in child welfare credited the film with illuminating the struggles these children face and for helping create a movement for change within the system.”
ALLY WALKER HAS FUN WITH CONAN youtu.be
As if that isn't enough reason to be inspired, Walker adds a gay character to a film she wrote and directed called Sex, Death, and Bowling. She assembled a dream cast who all played their roles perfectly and with a subtle beauty that enhanced the words written by Walker. The film centers on 11-year-old Eli who is faced with the impending death of his father. Eli wonders what is death and what happens when we die so he sets about finding out.
I can relate to Eli as my mother is going through stage three ovarian cancer and was given two years left to live by her doctor. I wonder what is death and what will happen to my mother when she dies. Is there life after death? Add to the mix Sean, who hasn't seen the family in years because he is gay and wasn't accepted into the family because of this. This is also relatable. Growing up in a town of less than 1,200 people you run the risk of being bullied, beaten up, and in my case contemplate suicide instead of dealing with the aspect of being unaccepted because of who you are. Most people in the gay community also have someone in their friends or family circle that have walked away because of their sexual orientation. Walker based this character on her friend, Tom Ford.
“I went to school with Tom Ford,” she said. “I knew Tom when he was 14 and 15 and we hung out. I ran into him when I was writing Sex, Death, and Bowling and realized what that must have been like. To be a young man, a kid really, who's basically going to be ostracized if you really tell people who you are and what your definition of love is. And it really struck me because I had just been losing so many people that I was shocked by it. You really get shocked when you start losing people that you love by how petty everything is and how stupid and meaningless a lot of the stuff we worry about is.”
Walker wrote and directed Sex, Death, and Bowling and when I told her my story her response was kind. “I write for people like you,” she said. “I really am glad it spoke to you. The lack of acceptance is what kind of breaks your heart. When people have these preconceived religious notions or whatever kind of notion, I don't fault religion. I think religion is very good in ways, but we really are just living beings and we really need to be able to co-exist with one another without belittling each other or fighting. There's only love. You can be famous, you can make money, but there's only love.”
Love is what life really is all about. The LGBT community has an ally in Walker and I wondered if this felt odd to her. “No, I do the same thing for women and kids too,” she said. “I speak up when I see injustice and I got to tell you I have a lot of gay friends. When people are not accepted, when people have to struggle, when people have been hurt, I relate to those people. I do fight. I do advocate for gay rights. I do advocate for equality for people. I'm sick of this. It should be over. These chapters should be done. They should be in a book somewhere that we read about and go wow I can't believe we were like that.”
“It's hard to be discriminated against,” she added. “It's hard to be judged for what you do and what you look like. People and their preconceived notions of what you are. And that's something that's really hard to get around.”
Yet with Walker on our side we will always have someone humble, kind, and passionate. Walker brings hope and love to everything she touches.
All We've Got is an insightful personal exploration of LGBTQ women’s communities, cultures, and social justice work through the lens of the spaces they create, from bars to bookstores to arts and political hubs.
Social groups rely on physical spaces to meet and build connections, step outside oppressive social structures, avoid policing and violence, share information, provide support, and organize politically. Yet, in the past decade, more than 100 bars, bookstores, art and community spaces where LGBTQ women gather have closed.
In All We've Got, filmmaker Alexis Clements travels the country to explore the factors driving the loss of these spaces, understand why some are able to endure, and to search for community among the ones that remain. From a lesbian bar in Oklahoma; to the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center in San Antonio run by queer Latinas; to the WOW Café Theatre in New York; to the public gatherings organized by the Trans Ladies Picnics around the US and beyond; to the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn, the film takes us into diverse LGBTQ spaces and shines a light on why having a place to gather matters.
Ultimately, All We've Got is a celebration of the history and resilience of the LGBTQ community and the inclusive spaces they make, as well as a call to action to continue building stronger futures for all communities.
When: Saturday, November 20th at 8:00pm
Where: Rodeo Cinema, 2221 Exchange Ave, Oklahoma City, OK
Join us and deadCenter Film as we present a screening of the documentary film All We've Got!
After the film there will be an after-party at ALIBI’S, as they’re featured in the film.
In a Native American racing world dominated by male riders, Sharmaine is a young woman determined to become a bareback horse racing champ but life and love keep getting in the way.
Pure Grit is both a thrilling tale of extreme bareback horse racing and an intimate love story. Chronicling three years in the life of a young Native American bareback horse racer, her unwavering determination, and the relationships that sustain her.
Sharmaine is a former horse racing champion, determined to ride and win. It’s been a year since she last raced; A year since her sister was paralysed in a catastrophic accident on the track and Sharmaine quit racing to care for her. In the stunning Wyoming wilderness of the Wind River reservation, Sharmaine and her girlfriend Savannah begin to build a life for themselves. They hope for better. But the atmosphere at home soon deteriorates and the young lovers are forced to leave for the industrial Commerce City, Denver. The city brings freedom and opportunity, but also distractions and a strain on their fledgling relationship.
When racing season starts up, Sharmaine and Savannah hit the road and put it all on the line. With a new horse from her city earnings, Sharmaine sees the potential for a fresh start, but life, like the race track, doesn’t always go according to plan.
Directed by acclaimed documentary filmmaker Kim Bartley and Executive Produced by Taylor Sheridan, Pure Grit is premiering on October 24 at Newport Beach Film Festival.
"I like to make intimate and thought provoking documentaries," says Bartley. "My focus is on developing open and trusting relationships with those I film and finding ways to translate their emotions and their stories into compelling, creative films with grit and heart."
Based in Ireland, Bartley also directed and shot The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (2003) and began her career behind the camera while on assignment in Kosovo. "I loved the urgency and sense of being on the frontline of stories that matter so I began working as a photographer & videographer with NGO emergency response teams documenting their field work in conflict and crises across the globe before returning to broadcasting as a freelance producer and director," Bartley explains.
Tickets to the Newport Beach Film Festival are here.
Boy Meets Boy is the queer Euro-mumblecore love story we need now. Harry has been partying for 48 hours when he meets Johannes on the dance floor of a club in Berlin. With 15 hours until his flight home, Johannes offers to help him print his boarding pass.
This simple gesture leads to a day together wandering the city. The contrasts in their lives and values force each one to confront their own truths. Will this encounter be more than just a passing moment of joy?
This superbly moving feature directed by Daniel Sanchez Lopez is an intimate view of contemporary gay culture showing the fears and fragilities of the millennial queer generation and seeks to empower them to be critical of the normative.
Boy Meets Boy is about coming out of the “second closet” meaning the search for inclusion and identity within a community. The film is set in the streets of Berlin and uses documentary footage to blend the character among real places and people giving it striking authenticity.
Filmed in English and German, and featuring Matthew James Morrison and Alexandros Koutsoulis, the film has attracted accolades and is already garnering award nods such as Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival 2021 Nominee for Outstanding First Feature.
Over the summer, Chicago's PrideArts chose the film to conclude its four-week festival with a weeklong streaming.
Boy Meets Boy is streaming everywhere on October 26 and in limited release.