THE GAY INTERLOPERS: Filmmaking duo Glatzer-Westmoreland discover inspiration right around the block
By Daniel A. Kusner
When it comes to selecting themes, the Glazter-Westmoreland track record is unpredictable — especially now with “Quinceañera.” A wholesome, almost old-fashioned film, it’s a story that’s steeped in Los Angeles’ Latino culture and centers on a Chicana celebrating her 15th birthday.
Richard Glatzer wrote and directed the 1994 gay musical “Grief.” He’s also produced six seasons of “America’s Next Top Model.”
In 2001, Glazter and partner Wash Westmoreland first collaborated on “The Fluffer,” a steamy Hitchcockian love-story set in the gay porn world. “The Fluffer” was Westmoreland’s calling card as an indie filmmaker — he had already poised himself as gay porn’s brightest director, working under the name Wash West.
In 2004, Westmoreland made his impressive foray into documentaries with “Gay Republicans,” an insightful look at the seemingly oxymoronic Log Cabin queers.
“Quinceañera” was a hot property almost from the get-go. When it premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, it won both the grand jury prize and the narrative audience award.
Although “Quinceañera” features a gay couple, they’re hardly principal players. If this film has a target audience, it’s probably Mexican-American filmgoers — the crowd that Texas director Robert Rodriguez has masterfully cultivated.
In April, Glazter stopped in Dallas for a screening of “Quinceañera” at the USA Film Festival. At the time, Westmoreland was in Los Angeles cutting trailers for the film.
Are the trailers and marketing campaign being specifically tailored for Mexican-Americans?
“I don’t think it will be that calculated,” Glazter says. “Maybe we’ll just market it to people who happen like good movies.”
How did such two gay-centric filmmakers become so immersed in Latino culture? Apparently, it was right outside their front door. Glazter and Westmoreland share a home in Echo Park, the transitional Los Angeles neighborhood in which “Quinceañera” is set. In fact, the gay couple’s apartment is the filmmaker’s actual home.
“We’ve seen a lot of these stories happen on our own block. This film is like a neighborhood affair for us,” he explains. “We photographed our next-door-neighbor’s quinceañera in a nearby church. Her dad is the pastor of that church, and they got booted out of their house after 28 years when the house they were renting went condo. All this stuff was just coming at us.”