Synopsis: Newly paraplegic Morgan just wants his life to be like it was before the accident. A chance encounter with Dean on a basketball court makes Morgan more determined that being in a wheelchair will not change him. As Dean helps Morgan to train, an endearing yet real to life romance blossoms between them.
Morgan is a powerful story of perseverance, determination and, of course, love.
Usually I say: ”Morgan” is a romantic drama about a young athlete who is taking a chance on life and love for the first time since being paralyzed in a bicycle accident. But now I’m concerned that I’m making the movie sound depressing. Far from it! It’s an inspiring and uplifting story. Sure, there are a few tears at the end, but they’re happy tears.
How does “Morgan” differ from your typical boy-meets-boy film?
“Morgan” is really about the greatest obstacle any of us face in life: ourselves. Often, when things change too quickly, we have a hard time adapting. And that resistance to change is what the lead character is facing. His life recovers from the accident faster than he can. Soon he finds himself in his old patterns and that’s when he has to dig deep to find the strength to change. When he does, his life evens out. Personally, I believe that’s the path to happiness and it’s reflected in the theme of the film.
Through our festival programming we’ve seen a new class of LGBT Filmmakers that have redefined the gay film genre with films of diversity and fresh storytelling such as “Morgan.” Do you feel you’re apart of this new class , why or why not?
I think that me and my partner Sandon Berg have always been trying to work outside the traditional storylines. I think that our audience is changing. There is a generation growing up with different issues than the last generation had, which is great because their stories won’t be about the same things we are used to seeing. I think it’s wonderful. I’d like to think I’m a part of that class because there is so much more to our lives than just coming out of the closet.
What was the driving force in telling a paraplegic love story?
Sandon was inspired by a young man we met in Los Angeles who had auditioned for our movie “Phoenix.” He was in a wheelchair and ultimately he was not able to be in that film. But we met with him and he generously shared his story of being gay, disabled and single.
What has been the reactions thus far from the handi-capable and care-giving community from seeing “Morgan”?
We had a screening in Rochester in which a paraplegic man sat two rows in front of us. We were totally nervous during the whole movie and couldn’t help but watch him the entire time. Afterwards, he talked to us at length, saying how much he appreciated someone telling this story. A few physical therapists are going to show the film to their patients because they think it will help with the transition. It’s overwhelming, honestly. It makes me wish I could do more. I truly hope that other filmmakers will tell more of these stories now.
When these guys auditioned, it was just startling. Leo and Jack had this chemistry that no filmmaker can manufacture. Love stories require it. So even though I had originally saw these characters in a different way, I went with it. Who you cast always ripples throughout the rest of the film, and so it became more a neighborhood NYC film instead of the glossy LA film I was imagining.
How do you feel about having “Morgan” screen in Hawaii at the Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival?
I’m jealous, LOL! My movies get to travel all over the world without me. Seriously though, I’m happy that you all will be able to see it on the big screen. It really is great in the theater. The communal experience of “Morgan” is unlike most any other screening you’ll attend.