Interview with Jenn Garrison, Filmmaker

I love documentaries. I’ve mentioned this before but it’s true. While I am a fan of films (science fiction, horror, adventure, and comedies mainly) I love stories of real people and real issues. There’s something so wonderful about learning about things that are happening right now, or discovering things that have happened in our past that affect us now and I really can’t get enough. Thank goodness for Netflix Streaming!

I’m also a fan of dancing of all kinds, having done it most of my life, and I’m a personal fan of filmmaker Jenn Garrison. When I found out that Jenn was making a documentary about competitive Country Western dance in the gay community? I had to get involved.

Tell me about the inspiration for this documentary and why it’s so important.

I came to filming this project in a roundabout way while working on a script for another project. I LOVE dancing. I secretly aspire to be a champion ballroom dancer, but these bad knees of mine, just don’t agree ☺ So, I like making films about dance including: THREE MINUTES & the upcoming QUICK QUICK SLOW. While researching QUICK QUICK SLOW, a feature script set within a gay country western bar in Texas (Quick Quick Slow), I discovered “The International Association of Gay/Lesbian Country Western Dance Clubs” and was amazed that something I was writing into my ‘fictional’ work actually existed!
Upon further research, I learned that IAGLCWDC (or “IGGLE WIGGLE” as they call themselves) was having their annual International Dance Competition in my hometown of Austin, Texas. Since Austin is also the setting for my narrative feature, I saw this as a sign that I needed to visit the dancers and competition organizers to learn more about their story and the true world of competitive country western dancing within the gay community. And once there, I realized I had a separate film altogether

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve learned from producing and directing this piece? Can be anything from the personal to the professional.

I wouldn’t call it unbelievable, but I have had many straight allies donate funds to this project with stories like “My wife and I had our first date in a gay country & western bar – it was soo much fun” or stories from queers who recount the first time they saw two burly men dance the waltz together wearing giant belt buckles and roach stompers (cowboy boots) – It warms my heart to hear that soo many folks have a connection to this subject.

What makes dance so important to this documentary and to the LGBT community?

Well, dance is such a great way of expressing oneself and partner dancing in particular can be a great way of connecting with another person while dancing at the same time. The reality is that many same-sex, queer or non-heteronormative couples just do not feel comfortable or safe dancing in ‘mainstream’ spaces, especially in smaller cities/communities where there may not be as much acceptance as one might find in the big city (so to speak). So I think that there is still relevance for queer friendly spaces for dance. Perhaps that is why many GLBT dance clubs still thrive. ☺ Some of us just want to cut loose and not worry about threats or judgment. (which sadly does still exist)

Tell me anything you want potential funders out there to know about how you’ll utilize the funds, how their gifts will support the film.

Contributions to this campaign will help with the many costs involved in the post production and distribution process including: editing, sound design, color correction, music clearances (a film about dance has to have music!) and the fees associated with the many film festivals we want to submit it to.
Even if you cannot contribute at this time, please share this project with as many of your friends and colleagues as you can. Most people don’t even know that this world exists. Wow, gay cowboys two-stepping together? Yup! 

We hope to showcase a community that finds joy, freedom, independence and a sense of belonging for those few moments when they are allowed to be who they are and simply ‘Dance Like No One’s Watching.’

Here’s more about Jenn!

Jenn Garrison is a Director/Producer who currently lives in Los Angeles, CA. She was selected as one of Film Independent’s “Project:Involve” fellows. Through that fellowship, Jenn’s work has been featured in “Vanity Fair” and showcased in the “W Hotels” internationally. Jenn’s work was also sponsored by “Banana Republic” and “NBC/Universal” studios.

Jenn’s films have played in over 100 film festivals winning top awards including: a college EMMY, a Student Academy Award nomination, the “Jury Prize” at the Bologna International Women’s Film Festival,the “Audience Award” at the Night Gallery Film Festival, and a Members Choice award at PlanetOUT.com.
Jenn will always call Austin, Texas home!

Please consider a gift to this kickstarter campaign! And spread the word!

____

–Looking for one-on-one coaching on relationships, sexuality, life passages, or need support with personal or career goals? Seeking seeking a facilitator for your group or team to help promote healthy group dynamics and effective communication? Contact me here!

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