With a population of 18,000, Oswego, in upstate New York, is the town on this On Screen/In Person tour that most resembles Oil City, the Western Pennsylvania community at the heart of the stories in “Out In The Silence.” Framed by Lake Ontario and verdant farmland, its three nuclear power plants and decaying storefronts overshadow its beauty and make it feel as though its best days have long since passed.
Nonetheless, the Oswego event was the most engaging and well-attended of the tour so far. Held in a rustic downtown cinema, there was a standing-room-only crowd of students from the SUNY Oswego film program and a good contingent of folks from the community, making for an interesting and lively post-screening discussion.
Many in the audience said they could relate to the hostile climate and difficulties faced by gay characters in the film even though New York is one of the more progressive state’s in the country when it comes to legal rights and protections for LGBT people. But more were inspired by the positive perspectives offered by the film, particularly through the transformation of Pastor Micklos, a fundamentalist anti-gay preacher who begins by comparing our same-sex marriage to a house plumbed with all male parts, and ends as a true friend.
Several of the students who we spoke with before and after the screening were interested in how we, as non-filmmakers with no formal training in the craft of cinema, were able to turn our adventures in Oil City into an award-winning feature documentary.
“It’s all about the story”, we counseled them. “As popular as Hollywood romances and comedies may be, sometimes people just want to hear a true story.”
It was an easy point to make in a theater in which “Out in the Silence” outsold “Harold and Kumar”, “Tower Heist”, “Puss in Boots” and “Immortals” by more than ten to one.
Now if they could just get the name of our film right on the marquee.
Post by Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson, OSIP Touring Filmmakers
Featured photo by Mike Greenlar for the Post Standard