Where I Am

DIRECTOR: Pamela Drynan

Expected to attend: subjects Robert Drake and Butch Cordora.

The eloquent, gregarious Philadelphia author Robert Drake was emerging as an important champion of gay literature when he flew to Dublin in the late ’90s for a season of research and writing. As the editor of The Gay Canon: Great Books Every Gay Man Should Read and anthologies of contemporary queer fiction, Drake met and inspired the city’s coterie of gay and lesbian writers before following the trail of William Butler Yeats to the town of Sligo. It was there, in January 1999, that two young men beat Drake so badly he was left with permanent brain damage.

“Either I could get better or I could get bitter,” Drake declares, “and I chose the former and it has made all the difference.” Writing remains a difficult, painstaking process, yet Drake expresses neither resentment nor self-pity—he lives completely in the present, squeezing the most out of each day. A reluctant icon of inspiration, Drake allows a camera crew to accompany him from the City of Brotherly Love to Dublin and Sligo on a fraught return visit to the scene of the crime, and the weeks of happiness that preceded it. First-time director Pamela Drynan, working with the experienced and sensitive cinematographer Richard Kendrick, has crafted a compassionate, soulful and resonant portrait that earns every iota of its emotional punch. A guy by the name of Fitzgerald once said there are no second acts in American lives, but what do writers know?

— MICHAEL FOX

This film contains graphic depictions of homophobic violence.

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: D338

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