Get to Know the Women Behind Chris Bolan’s Documentary A Secret Love – SXSW Filmmaker In Focus

The 2020 SXSW Film Festival is coming up! Before you join us for the 2020 event, take a look at the films in our lineup a little bit better with our Filmmaker In Focus series. Check out our Q&A with director Chris Bolan as he tells us about his film A Secret Love, which will World Premiere in Documentary Spotlight.

“In a time where we are becoming increasingly disconnected from one another, I feel that stories such as Pat and Terry’s have never been more important.” – Director Chris Bolan

In your own words, what does this film mean to you?

Chris Bolan: Wow. That’s tough! I don’t know where to even begin! It has truly been a labor of love and a lesson in perseverance. Having the opportunity to spend the past seven years with these two amazing women in the twilight of their lives and learn about a life they kept secret for seven decades has been a gift. I have never worked for so hard and for so long on something before, and given the chance, I would do it all over again. It has been an experience that has forever changed me, and I am so grateful to have embarked upon this journey.

What motivated you to tell this story?

CB: I had never heard of a love story between two women like this before. It was beautiful, complicated, and truly inspiring. A former women’s professional baseball player who met the love of her life in 1947 only to come out to a family she had kept this a secret from for seven decades? How could I not tell this story! Not only that, but I strongly feel that stories of women are simply not told enough, and stories of lesbian women from this generation even less so.

We are losing our LGBTQ storytellers and with them, an important part of our history. Moreover, I feel we are shying away more and more from simple, universal stories for the more shocking, sensational ones. In a time where we are becoming increasingly disconnected from one another, I feel that stories such as Pat and Terry’s have never been more important.

What do you want the audience to take away?

CB: It’s simple. I want the audience to walk away having felt something. I want them to have an emotional response to the film, whatever that may be. I hope they walk away having seen parts of their family, their loved ones, their lives reflected up there in some capacity. A universality in a story that we all share on some level, regardless of our sexual orientation. I hope they walk away from this film seeing the power that a “simple” love story can have.

What were you doing when you found out you were coming to SXSW?

CB: Well, truth be told, I was in my living room and my six-year-old son was jumping on my head. I received a text message from my producers, checked my phone and freaked out. I actually scared my son by yelling “YES!” It has been such an emotional roller coaster ride and getting the news that we had been accepted was the best holiday present I could have gotten! 2020 has started off on the right foot.

What made you choose SXSW to showcase your film to the world?

CB: There’s an unpretentious quality about SXSW and an authentic feeling of really wanting to embrace new filmmakers and find those “diamonds in the rough” which is exciting. Some of these other festivals can sometimes make you feel like you are “lucky” to be there. SXSW made me feel as though they were lucky to have us. That means a lot. After working for so hard and for so long on something, actually having someone take the time to really express how and why they like your film meant so much to me. They just seem to get it. I am absolutely thrilled to have been given the opportunity of having our world premiere at SXSW 2020!

How did you find your subject?

CB: The protagonists of the story are my two Great Aunts! I had just graduated from the Graduate Acting Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and my wife and I took a trip to Chicago to visit my two Great Aunts. After a couple of rum and cokes (their drink of choice) they sat us down and told us they were gay! They began blurting out the story of their life together and I knew at that moment I needed to tell this story. I can still see them dancing together in their living room after they told us. What an amazing story!

Add A Secret Love to your SXSW Schedule. Stay tuned as we share more interviews with our SXSW 2020 filmmakers!

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A Secret Love – Photo by Netflix/Blumhouse TV

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