Anybody that knows me, knows that I have always had a love for film making and, for the last 37 years, a love for my husband, Milton. When we visited Texas last summer it was an opportunity to see where he lived as a young boy, growing up. We visited “Freeman Town” and I shot some video because I am always shooting video.
After we got home from Texas and I looked at the footage we had shot there and added some “interview” footage of Milton’s story, I could see what looked like a “documentary” coming together. His story has always moved me. The way he told the story on camera was so incredibly brave & powerful to me. I didn’t know at the time whether anyone else would feel the same or not. Milton was very reluctant to let me show the movie to anyone, though. He is a private person and, in this movie, he lays bear his struggles and his life’s journey from Freeman Town to San Francisco. He is an inspiration and a role model for any young gay man feeling isolated and struggling with their sexuality in rural America.
Once it was done, on a lark, I submitted the film to the San Diego Black Film Festival’s “GLBTQ” category. I really doubted that much would come of it. We were both shocked a couple of months later when we got a letter saying “My Husband, Milton Thomas III” had been selected for screening at the festival! Neither of us had ever gone to a film festival to see films, much less have a movie in one, lol!
We flew down this last weekend and saw the movie on a big screen which was, in itself, very exciting for us. We had not planned to attend the Awards Dinner Gala because they charged quite a bit to attend but then a woman from the festival approached us and told us we had been “nominated.” I don’t think either of us had even considered the “contest” aspect of the festival! Oh, wow, we were in some kind of competition!
We did the “red carpet” and attended the dinner. We met some of the other film makers that make films for a living. The other GLBTQ films were all well produced and professional & always ended with showing a scrolling list of crew involved in making the films. I kept wondering how our “little” movie that had ONE character and ONE crew member, (me), could stand up to these other movies. One was a 60 minute documentary called “Curtsy Mister,” about Ronnie Grant, who… “worked with Diana Ross, Cher and Miles Davis and becomes the very first male Fashion Editor of Essence Magazine.” We thought it was well done and very professional. Another, was kind of a “film noir,” called “Lakeshore Drive,” much of which takes place in a taxi cab. It was in black and white and some great shadowy effects. ”Romance is Dead” was a musical short. The two guys in it had beautiful voices and I think there were about three songs. Otherwise, It was about a guy trying to resurrect his ex-boyfriend with witchcraft. It was also very well done, too.
At the dinner, when they announced the award for our category, we were both blown away and in shock that “My Husband, Milton Thomas III” had won best GLBTQ film!. We went up to the front of the room and all I could muster was a “Thank you” into the microphone and then started heading back to our table. Milton, thankfully, got up to the microphone and said a few more words.
We have now submitted the movie to a couple more film festivals. With the San Diego festival, we were told that we would be disqualified if we posted the movie on social media but, once we are done with these festivals, I will probably post on my youtube channel and my website, sylvanslife.com. Otherwise, wish us luck with the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival in June and OutFest in Los Angeles in July!