The Cleveland International Film Festival promotes artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition to enrich the life of the community.
March 25, 2015 | posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers
Wade Gasque was enjoying a successful run as an actor in theater and commercials. Then one day, he “just got tired of doing sorta crappy theater,” and turned his talents to writing and directing.
“It was very liberating to be able to create my own projects,” he says.
His latest project is his first feature film, “Tiger Orange,” about two estranged gay brothers who reconnect after the death of their father.
His life partner, Mark Strano, who plays the lead character, Chet, conceived the idea, wrote the screenplay, and asked Gasque to direct it. Once he read it, he fell in love with it.
The story, he explains, is “compact and intimate storytelling.” It’s truly Mark and Frankie’s [Valenti, who plays Chet’s brother Todd] performances, their connection. “It's a very relatable story about home and how we define that and how it defines us,” he says.
Chet is the repressed brother who never left his family’s small-town home. His brother Todd leaves at 18 and never looks back. (Valenti, who plays Todd, is a former gay porn star known as Johnny Hazzard.)
“And the irony is that they're both struggling with the same feelings of emptiness, resentment, and lack of intimacy,” explains Gasque. “I think anyone with a sibling or a family … they’re going to relate to what these brothers are going through.”
And audiences have been relating to the film. It’s been to several festivals around the world and Gasque has gotten a lot of “That’s my brother up there.” A more boisterous reaction happened at the film’s premiere in Los Angeles last July. The audience started clapping and screaming, “Go Chet! Go girl!,” when Chet steps out of his comfort zone and does something bold and out of character.
“As a director, you sit in a dark edit bay for so long with the movie and you're never really sure how it's going to land,” he says. “It's VERY gratifying to get that kind of acknowledgment in a theater.”
Although now a feature filmmaker, the actor in him is still there. Gasque cast himself in small role in the film. “It's very early on, so don't blink or you'll miss it,” he jokes. “To be honest, I just didn't feel like going through the casting process for such a small role so I took the role myself to make things easier.”
— Anne M. DiTeodoro
Photo by Tim Safranek
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