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How queer filmmaker David Beck created Regarding Us

In a national climate riddled with political divides, members of the LGBTQIA+ community find themselves the focus of constant attacks. Regarding Us actor, director and writer David Beck alongside his co-director/writer/actress Jennifer Bobbi have created an independent film that addresses issues within the LGBTQIA+ community by putting names and faces on sympathetic characters, including children that a wider audience can relate to and learn from.  Appropriate for people of all ages, Regarding Us introduces diverse individuals who remind the audience that despite our differences, everyone faces similar challenges and triumphs in daily life.  Regarding Us could not have come at a more appropriate time. 

Principal players supporting Beck and Bobbi at the helm include Catriona Rubenis-Stevens (Producer), Phil Newsom (Co-Producer), Caroline Stucky (Director of Photography), John Meagher (Executive Producer), Martine Rothblatt (Executive Producer), Thomas Patrick Lane (Executive Producer), Andy Tobias (Associate Producer), Bruce Duncan (Co-Producer), Marci Bowers, MD (Associate Producer), Chuck Forester (Associate Producer) and a dedicated and highly skilled production team.       

Set in New York City, Regarding Us introduces the audience to Veronica, a beloved teacher, portrayed by Alexandra Grey.  After losing her job in the Catholic school system, this transgender woman has a profound impact on the lives of two children.  The young girl, Isabel played by Andrea Rosa Guzman has two fathers played by Beck and Eliud Garcia Kauffman who are in the middle of marital strife.  Kyle played by Hudson Paul is in the throws of discovering his sexual/gender identity, much to the objection by his conservative mother, played by Abigail Hawk.  Catherine Curtin as Betsy, the compassionless Catholic school principal and Jacob Moran as Kyle’s troubled teenage brother, Matt round out the cast.

We spoke with David Beck about this courageous project.

How did you and Jennifer Bobbi come to work on this project as co-writers/directors?

Jennifer auditioned for my web series Spring Street (YouTube) back in 2016, and I immediately fell in love with her artistry and humor.  I wrote the short film Backup Plan (Amazon Prime) with her as the leading role, and together we decided that there is more to the story to tell.  First it was written as a limited series, and eventually it became a feature length film.

How does your film relate to the current culture wars and political divide in our country when it comes to the LGBTQIA+ community?

I don’t think the film is political at all — it’s an inspiring drama about the human condition with lots of humor and heart.  However, trans women are being thrown into the middle of these ‘culture wars’ and are constantly otherized.  At the center of our film is a black trans Catholic school teacher, played by Alexandra Grey.  We also depict two gay fathers in marital strife and a young person who begins to explore their gender identity.  I’d be interested to see what someone with a conservative view gets from the film.  They’ll probably be surprised…they might enjoy it.

How did you cast the main roles?

We attached Alexandra Grey (Veronica) early in the process with the help of our casting director.  I saw her reel and was blown away.  Eliud Garcia Kauffman (Adrian) came a little later.  He sent in a self-tape from an open submission and we couldn’t believe how perfect he was for the role…funny, charming, sexy, a bit pompous–everything the role requires.  Those were the two most challenging roles in the script, in my opinion, and so when we attached Alexandra and Eliud I knew we had the potential to get this story to fly.  The kids and the rest of the cast came a bit later…Our CDs Ally Beans and Daryl Eisenberg found a wonderful group of kids who sent in tapes, and we called back several for in person auditions.  I really wish we could have cast all the kids who auditioned.  There is so much young talent out there!  Abigail Hawk (Constance) and Catherine Curtin (Betsy) were blessings from heaven — given their TV credits, I didn’t think there was any way they would say yes to our offers but they did!

What inspired the 3 intersecting storylines?

All the characters are inspired by facets of my life as well as Jennifer’s. The transgender teacher being fired storyline is taken directly from Jennifer’s transition story.  She lost her business and family when she came out as trans.  I also come from a whole family of teachers.  I love teachers…it is a fascinating and important vocation. As for the gay dads in marital conflict storyline – As a gay man myself, I wanted to show a couple that was far from perfect, but they were trying.  The child realizing gender/sexual identity with objection from family – A lot of this is taken directly from my own personal upbringing as well as Jennifer’s.  There is one scene between Constance (Abigail Hawk) and Kyle (Hudson Paul) that’s verbatim a memory from my childhood.  For me as a director, it was the toughest scene to get through but in a way, the most rewarding scene.

What do you hope the audience takes away from this film?

I hope they feel something.  It’d be nice if LGBTQ+ folks shared it with their cis and straight family members.  It’s a movie that people can watch as a family, and in a way, I think the straight community can get much more out of this than the LGBTQ+ community.  I’d never tell someone what they should think or take from a movie, but if they feel anything, we’ve done our job as filmmakers. 

Regarding Us will premiere at Dances with Films at 7:00pm on June 27th at the TLC Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, CA.  Tickets. Check out more here.




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