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The Idea: The Making of L.A. A Queer History Part 1

We began with an idea, can we make an epic documentary about LGBT Los Angeles culture and history with no money? I think every great idea is born out passion, and if anything, our idea only had passion. Lot's of PASSION. We had to tell this story! We had to make this documentary...even without any money.

During our production period, I'll take you on a journey about the making of L.A. A Queer History and what it took to get our EPIC idea off the ground.

L.A. A Queer History began as a co-production by Producers Mario J. Novoa and Gregorio Davila in late 2012, discussing story and production development (Film Bliss Studios).
"We both met while working on "Gay Latino Los Angeles: Coming of Age" in 2011. Gregorio was eager to do a documentary about LGBT history which covered various periods in L.A. LGBT history. Gregorio knew he had to make this happen, but no idea how to get it off the ground. He wanted to work with a producer who could find financing, for this idea and approached me for some input", recalls Mario J. Novoa.

Mario, was showcasing "Gay Latino Los Angeles: Coming of Age" (feature documentary) with Gregorio at the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (Three Dollar Cinema) in 2012. While in Seattle the question about making L.A. A Queer History came up. Gregorio asked Mario about the possibility of making a documentary and what it would take to make it a possibility. Mario advised Gregorio to do more research and compile information on footage and photos of early LGBT history. Gregorio had already begun research, and continued to compile more information for the next year and half.

(production kit: a Panasonic GH2, a Zoom recorder and Sennheiser lavaliere microphone)

While in development both Mario and Gregorio questioned the expense of renting or buying for production, but during the period of 2012-2014 Mario began assembling a small production kit to help him produce high quality documentaries and film. Friend and filmmaker Daniel Cotreau introduced Mario to the Panasonic GH2 Lumix series, which produced quality at a low price. Having jumped in on his narrative film The Baby Cries and Trona, Mario gained the confidence in his small production package, and in pursuing production on L.A. A Queer History.

"Sometimes having very little in the way material things inspire people to do with what they have, and in the case we were inspired to go ahead and capture history", says Mario. In May of 2014, Mario and Gregorio began shooting interviews for the documentary L.A. A Queer History. As of September 2014, this epic quest has taken the filmmakers to new heights as they try to interview some of the most unique pioneers of Los Angeles LGBT history.

In the next blog, we'll talk about the process of shooting with the gear, and the limitations and opportunities presented in their quest to produce an important documentary.

If you would like to make a donation, please visit the L.A. A Queer History Kickstarter page or visit the PayPal link on the L.A. A Queer History website.

Interview by William Smith


The Baby Cries by Mario J. Novoa