Church Teachings, Gay Lifestyle Clash in Del Shores Film

“Southern Baptist Sissies” opens Palm Springs Gay & Lesbian Film Festival



(From left) Dale Dickey and Leslie Jordan, who starred in Del Shores' last film, "Sordid Lives", are back in his latest, "Southern Baptist Sissies".

Courtesy of Southern Baptist Sissies

 

“Sometimes I close my eyes and create a perfect world…a world of acceptance and understanding and love, but I always wake up.”

Soul-shattering words from the lead character, Mark Lee Fuller (played by Emerson Collins, pictured below) inSouthern Baptist Sissies”, a poignant film that explores how four gay boys each come to terms with their sexuality against the backdrop of Southern Baptist church teachings.

The film originates from a play written by well known actor, writer, director and producer, Del Shores, the same creator of humorous projects Daddy’s Dyin’….Who’s Got the Will and Sordid Lives.

According to Shores, “It’s really a film about anybody growing up different and feeling unworthy of God’s love.”

Shores penned the play and produced the film drawing from his own personal journey.

“I live ‘with hope’ - which are the last two words in the film - that by exposing this there will be huge steps toward equality, understanding, and acceptance,” he says.

Palm Springs Life spoke to Shores as he prepares for the film’s screening at the upcoming Cinema Diverse! The Palm Springs Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Sept. 19-22, at Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs.

The film screens at 7 p.m. Sept. 19 with a prereception at 5:30 p.m. and an after party. Shores and many of the cast members will be present for the prereception and screening.

What messages do you want your audience to get out of this film?

• “Peace and healing for those who have gone through this and realization for some that ‘I’m not alone’.”

• “There is damage being taught in these churches. Being gay is not a choice or lifestyle. In fact, it is your life. It’s the way you were born and who you are.”

• “For those listening in those pews, really, really, do some research and educate yourself. Actually get to know somebody who is gay and listen to a person’s truth. Don’t listen to cherry-picked scriptures that have often been interpreted as hateful. It’s OK to question sermons that ‘villianize’ people who are different.”

This is a serious film about a serious issue. Is there a funny element that audiences have come to know from your other films?

“Oh yes, there is the traditional Del Shores comedy blended in this film because there is a blend of humor and drama in real life. In fact, if there were not comedy relief in this movie, it would be almost impossible to digest.”

There has been so much change in and awareness on LGBT equality and issues since the play was released in 2000. How do you think the film will be viewed today?

“While there has been change and I’ve seen progress during that time, I’ve also seen an activation of those ‘haters’ clawing for survival. It’s as if the strides in equality has added fuel to their fire. These church sermons have just gotten more potent. And kids are still hearing these hurtful messages. It is my hope that in the future, ‘Southern Baptist Sissies’ will someday be seen as a period piece.”

What You Probably Knew About Del Shores or The Film:

• “I have a love affair with Palm Springs. This city has been so amazingly good to me. I even have a star at 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive.”

• “Southern Baptist Sissies has been accepted into 20 film festivals, which tells me there is a reaction and need for this film. Oh, and there was never any question that this festival, Cinema Diverse! In Palm Springs, is our No. 1 festival priority.”

• “I won a GLAAD Media Award for outstanding theater production for the play ‘Southern Baptist Sissies’.”

• “Everything that I have done, writing, producing… is an extension of my acting.”

What You May Not Have Known:

• Shores once had a part on Days of Our Lives as a bartender.

• "My mom was a high school drama teacher and my dad a preacher."

• “I love to perform. I’m a stand up comedian that tells stories.”

• “My Mom gave me my love for the arts, and my own journey within the church definitely comes through in this film.”

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Desert Guide
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Matthew Shepard Film Screens at Camelot Theatres

Through the film, “Matt Shepard Is A Friend of Mine,” Michel Josue has found a way to share the real Matthew Shepard with audiences beyond the attention his horrific death brought to hate crimes and LGBT rights.

Molly Ringwald Shows Her Singing Self at Copa Palm Springs

Molly Ringwald is best known from her starring role in 80s films like "Pretty in Pink" and "The Breakfast Club," but it is her talents as a jazz vocalist that people are starting to recognize.

Melissa Etheridge Brings New Album Songs to Fantasy Springs Show

Retirement is not a word in Melissa Etheridge's vocabulary after being in the music business 25 years. Her recently released 12th album, "This is M.E.," is an anthem to new rock ‘n’ roll independence.

Author Ivor Davis Speaks on The Beatles 1964 Tour at Melvyn's

Author Ivor Davis has one walrus of a tale to pass on after the now Palm Desert resident had the unique opportunity to travel with The Beatles on their first American tour almost 50 years ago.

Funkey Town

Donovan and Molly Funkey received local hot spot Bar as a wedding gift from his parents. Here, they dish on what they love about the desert.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest

Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest

Enter your “Cutest Pet” photo in the Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest. Online users will be able to like the Cutest Pet photos from six (6) categories.
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Edit ModuleShow Tags