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Interview – Seek and Find

 SEEK36Eric Henry’s debut film, Seek, centres on Evan, a young, gay newspaper writer who attempts to shake off a lost love by taking on an assignment profiling Hunter, an alluring gay club promoter.   Around the guys are a host of other twenty-something urbanites, all longing for the same thing – approval. Whether it’s by the in-crowd, the hottie across the bar or in the industry they work, all strive for something greater, failing to appreciate what they already have.

The film is currently touring the LGBT film festival circuit and has been gaining attention for being different from the usual gay fare.  Seek doesn’t portray gays as victims, nor does it rely on hard-bodied men in thongs to get attention.  It’s an honest look at life in the modern gay ghetto and our natural desire to be movin’ on up. Jeremy Sanders talks to the director Eric Henry.

What is it about gay nightlife that fascinates you?

I find it fascinating how some creative people can tap into what crowds want and create these parties and events that make a lot of money.  Trying to figure out how and why one bar or club fails while another succeeds is a conversation I like having with friends.

SEEK26Seek takes place in Toronto’s gay village.  Are all the world’s gayborhoods essentially the same? 

If you pick up any local gay magazine, you are going to see similar pictures of men in underwear, partying twinks, and drag queen divas but the flavor of every city is different.  Local talent, food, music, art and humor combine to shape the community.  It is those differences that make visiting different cities enjoyable.

How did you cast the actors?  

I first saw Ryan Fisher at a bar in Toronto but I was too nervous to talk to him.  I wrote the character of Hunter with him in mind without ever meeting him.   Adrian Shepherd-Gawinski (Evan), I discovered though his work in various stage plays all over Toronto. And then with Matthew Ludwinski, I saw him in the movie, Going Down in La La Land.  I knew it would be valuable to have at least one actor that most audiences already knew and I thought he would be perfect to play Jordan in the film.

Was it challenging to make a film centered around gay nightlife?

Surprisingly no.  Most nightclubs are only open on weekends or at night.  So going in and shooting on a Tuesday morning is easy.  All we had to have was someone unlock the door and turn on the club lights.  We were also very lucky to have the support of local clubs and businesses. Toronto is a friendly city for film making, so we had no trouble shooting on the streets.

Do you worry straight viewers may not be able to connect with the film?

The characters of Seek all want to be a part of something and loved.  They want to be accepted by the people around them.  I think everyone from every walk of life can relate to that.

Seek PosteraDo you worry about being pigeon holed as a gay director?

Not really.  As I grow and develop in my film career, I have to trust that any style or artistry I demonstrate will be considered first before my sexual orientation.

What topics would you like to explore in future films?

I would really like to explore how the different sub groups of gay culture manage to co-exist with one another.  I would also like to explore a gay relationship between two men who are together not because they want to be with one another, but because they want to be one another.