Having fun at the  Escaping Freedom  wrap-party hosted by  Willow Salon PDX ! Back row (left to right): Aileen Sheedy, Brice Cochran, Heather Blott, Edd Blott; Middle row: Evan Gandy, Casey Pfeifer, Chloe Huckins; Front row: Patrick D. Green, Laura Welsh, Jeffrey Arrington

Having fun at the Escaping Freedom wrap-party hosted by Willow Salon PDX! Back row (left to right): Aileen Sheedy, Brice Cochran, Heather Blott, Edd Blott; Middle row: Evan Gandy, Casey Pfeifer, Chloe Huckins; Front row: Patrick D. Green, Laura Welsh, Jeffrey Arrington

THE CAST

THE CREW

Check back every two weeks for a new Q&A from a member of the cast and crew!

ABOUT THE TEAM

When Producers Edd Blott and Patrick Green began discussing the leap of expanding from the tiny, typically 3-person shoots of the prequel web-series Letters to a full-blown feature length film, they knew they wanted to maintain as small a crew as possible, while ensuring all the most necessary jobs were filled. The idea was to keep an atmosphere that allowed for a familial, intimate set where actors could fully focus on performance, and bring the script to life in a way that allowed them to explore and play naturally. Green had worked with Aileen Sheedy, Evan Gandy and Jeffrey Stillwell on several prior projects and knew they were all amazing at not only their specific job title but at being flexible, and the type of people who go above and beyond in order to make things happen. Chloe Huckins was recommended as Production Assistant and rounded out the team perfectly. As for casting, Blott and Green spread the word far and wide for the main roles of Krystal, Marcus and Rene. Auditions began with self-taped scenes. From those, Blott and Green met with top choices to get a feel for them as people and to get a sense of chemistry between the principals as well as the Director. Other roles were filled first from those initial video auditions where folks seemed to fit naturally. Alejandro Villanueva Medina came on in post production as our amazing composer, who has also scored a prior film Green co-produced. The team would be remiss if it did not make clear that all of this was made possible by the incredible folks who supported our Seed & Spark crowdfunding effort. A hearty “thank you!” to each and every member of our exceptional team!

DIRECTOR STATEMENT

I was a few weeks from my thirtieth birthday when it all came crashing down. Until that point, I lived within a conservative, religious environment. Everything about me was shaped and molded by those beliefs. Every job I ever had was within the ministry in one way or another. I married young to a kind woman who dreamed of becoming a missionary, and I had two beautiful daughters partially because that’s what I was supposed to do. Questioning myself, my beliefs, and considering my same sex desires was simply never an option. But then, in the fall of 2013, I simply could not ignore it any longer. I was defined completely by others’ views and living that lie was tearing me up inside. It almost cost me my life. This is ultimately where Escaping Freedom was born.

I didn’t set out to write a film about doubting my faith or learning to accept that I didn’t fit the heterosexual label I was supposed to claim. I simply wanted to make another film. Yet nothing I wrote ever felt truthful. Everything was in some way a lie, and I had enough of lying in my life. As I learned through tears of happiness and sadness to accept myself, my surrounding struggles evolved into something that would completely change my life. I couldn’t ignore the impact they would leave on whatever story I would tell. So instead of trying to ignore them, I finally let the words flow onto the page no matter how pretty or ugly they appeared. I began to find myself inside every character. Every strength and weakness was in some way my own. The characters longed for one thing: to be the most honest version of themselves.

Escaping Freedom is about two very different people. Vincent, a pastor who struggles with who he is supposed to be while carrying the burden of hiding his same sex desire, and Krystal, his foster sister who lives life without boundaries but holds secret her shame of accepting the labels a hedonistic lifestyle puts on a person. This pressure boils over and we watch as they fight to maintain their sense of identity no matter the cost. They can see the apparent faults in the other while completely ignoring their own. How long can this dance last without failing? On the surface these two are polar opposites, but when you look a little deeper, they are truly two sides of the same coin.

It’s the same for all of us. We are neither Vincent nor Krystal. We are all BOTH Vincent and Krystal. That is ultimately what Escaping Freedom is about. We are complex creatures with the capacity to love, feel pain and deep fears, and exude incredible strength. When the credits roll, I hope you see a bit more clearly that you and the person sitting next to you are in this world together. Both are worthy of being loved, by others and, maybe even more importantly, by his/her/their own self.

SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR SUPPORTERS

Ryan Amy, Burton Bagby-Grose, Heather Blott, Beth Borck, Kera Crabtree, Kay Curtis, Jason De Parrie-Turner, Dalton DeHart, Justin Dickson, Airisa Durand, Christopher Eaves, Michael Eggert, Daniel Foster, Alexander Fraser, Shari Gilevich, Lisa Green, Kristina Haddad, Neal Hamil, Anke Heinecke, Patrick Kingsley, Randy Kovach, Carlos Lotero, Shaun Magher, Taavi Mark, Monica Marteau, Frank Ortiz, Valerium Pereira, Anna Peterek, Ashlee Rice, Bob Rice, Steven Richter, Lisa Kline Simon, Amber Smith, Seasons Sparks, Bry Troyer, Larry Viscarra, Karl Whinnery, Elizabeth A. Zimmerman

For a full list of the cast and crew, visit Escaping Freedom on IMDb.