Conversations with Gay Elders: An Intergenerational Film Project

DIRECTOR: David Weissman

In this unique project-in-progress screening, documentary filmmaker David Weissman brings us inside both the stories and the unusual process that comprise his ongoing mission to capture the experiences of gay men of the pre-Stonewall generation. Now living in Portland, Oregon, longtime San Francisco resident Weissman—as in his previous films We Were Here (Frameline34) and The Cockettes (Frameline25)—is fiercely dedicated to listening to the voices and stories of a generation of gay men that is quickly passing. But in this project, after conducting his on-camera conversations with “gay elders,” Weissman turns the filmmaking itself into an intergenerational collaboration by pairing each elder’s footage with an editor from a much younger generation. The resulting filmed dialogues become an informal history as listened to and, in a sense, interpreted by a new generation of gay men.

Weissman’s focus is to create multiple in-depth individual character studies rather than a single feature film, and to amass a rich repository of these histories for future generations who won’t have direct access to the men who lived them. This program will feature excerpts from four of the conversations shot thus far, selected by the young editors themselves. These excerpts include San Franciscans Robert Dockendorff (76) and Jack Lasner (87) as well as New Yorkers Gene Fedorko (72) and Daniel Maloney (77). Following the screening will be a discussion including director-producer Weissman, subjects Dockendorff and Lasner, and editors Alex Bohs, Aron Kantor, Jake Stein, and Ben Zweig.

— Peter L. Stein

Co-presented by:
Lavender Seniors of the East Bay

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