David M. Young on "Last Man Out"
Award-winning LGBT filmmaker David M. Young’s latest short "Last Man Out" will be screening in the Men’s Shorts Program at this year’s Boston LGBT Film Festival. Young’s project weaves classic literature together with a ghostly narrative to explore his protagonist’s process of personal awakening. Young spoke to EDGE about what the film means to him and what he hopes audiences will take from it.
What informed your decision to connect notions of sexual realization to a ghost story?
My film ideas often emerge, surprisingly, from an interesting or unusual location. For example, my highly successful short "Hitchcocked" was born from an easy access to a very claustrophobic shower stall. Whereas a writer can set a story literally anywhere, a low-budget filmmaker has to be considerably more resourceful. So when I visited Fort Warren out on Georges Island in 2010, I thought, "What an amazing location this would be for a film." The fort is both beautiful in its decay and downright creepy. So, I suspect a ghost tale was inevitable. The protagonist, Mr. Quince, came from my bemoaning the lack of films about the middle-aged, Average Joe. But he needed to have some significant challenge. My short films tend toward a blend of romance, sex and social commentary. So Mr. Quince’s repression and his coming up against a sexy young ghost were born.
Given the exclusivity of the setting, the protagonist’s narrative reliability is ambiguous. Was this device symbolic of the character’s own process of realization?
Exactly. The tale is told thru his eyes, and colored by his own increasingly unleashed, and long withheld desires. Unless, of course, you believe in ghosts...
Could your film be accurately described as a commentary on coming of age?
Absolutely; amongst its various themes, "Last Man Out" is a coming of age tale. But I think we’ve been saturated with films focusing on LGBT youth finding their way out of the closet. Here in 2012, LGBT history is emerging into a new time of remarkable openness and acceptance. I imagine the cliché of the middle-aged man who lives at home with his mother and who has no conscious clue of his own sexual identity will soon be going the way of the dodo bird. To that extent, "Last Man Out" is in part an elegy for the closet-case.
Walt Whitman was an interesting choice of narrator. Describe your line of thought that led to his inclusion.