On Nov. 9, Cinema Savannah will host a screening of “Ganymede,” a 97 minute film that blends a traditional LGBTQ+ coming-of-age story with a creature feature. Stephen Stanley, the film’s producer, first spoke with Connect Savannah back in 2005 to discuss his SCAD thesis project, a music video called “Push It Real Good.” Now, 18 years later, we discuss his newest film, “Ganymede,” and the impact he hopes the local screening will have on the community he calls home.
So this film “Ganymede,” can you tell me a little bit about what it’s about?
Stephen Stanley: “Ganymede,” is a mash up. It’s a southern gothic thriller, mashed up with a LGBTQ coming-of-age story, which may sound a little crazy. The director is Colby Holt and Sam Probst. They really wanted to explore the terror that comes along with being in the closet in rural areas in red state America. So they’re from Indiana and Kentucky. I grew up in Appalachia, in a small town in east Tennessee. So we all experienced that while there’s this really vibrant, queer community in these rural areas now, there’s also a lot of fear. There’s a lot of fear no matter where you are, particularly recently, as this legislation has come about in many states is further marginalizing LGBTQ youth. So they wrote this story, really thinking about coming out of the closet as a creature feature.
This young man is attracted to a boy in his class. He’s from a very conservative, very politically powerful dynasty in this small town, and the more he’s attracted to another young man in his high school, the more this creature begins stalking him. So we made a practical creature. We kind of play with a lot of horror conventions. I wouldn’t describe it as horror, I would describe it more as a southern gothic thriller. But we play with a lot of horror conventions, to explore that terror that comes with having shame and having a secret. It could be any number of secrets, really, we hope it can resonate with a broader audience who might understand that weight that carrying shame brings to us. So throughout the film, Lee, who is the main character, is dealing with this attraction. His family puts him into conversion therapy and electroconvulsive therapy with their pastor and so Lee has to eventually make a choice: Does he carry this this generational shame from his family or does he break free and try to be his true self?
Stephen Stanley: We premiered in Chicago about three weeks ago. That was our first screening anywhere. This is our second screening. In Chicago, we had a sold out theater, a really diverse crowd, people loved it. You never know as a filmmaker what people are going to think of a film and both the directors and I were optimistic but you know, there’s always a little bit of, you know, worry there too. We won the Audience Award, Best Narrative Feature at the film festival, which is the Reeling Film Festival. It’s one of the oldest and largest LGBTQ film festivals in the country. Then, we decided we wanted to play it here. We have a lot of Savannahians that were part of this movie. Particularly with SCAD, we had faculty, staff, alumni, students as cast, crew, advisors and helpers. It was also important for us to play in Savannah, just because it’s my home and it’s a city in Georgia where these sort of discussions are all happening. We’ve gotten so far great response, so I’m very encouraged and then we plan to keep rolling it out in screenings at festivals and special screenings, and then eventual national distribution.
The film screens on Thursday, Nov. 9, at the Savannah Cultural Arts Center at 7pm. For updates and more information, visit their Instagram handle @ganymede_movie.