Guest Blogger – Filmmaker Ilana Trachtman
The Pursuit: 50 Years in the Fight for LGBT Rights
by filmmaker Ilana Trachtman
I was honored and humbled when WHYY asked me to create a film about the 50th anniversary of the gay rights movement. I have been making films for over twenty years, but before that moment I did not know that my home, Philadelphia, was the sight of one of the first protests for what was then called “homosexual rights.”
In fact, there was a lot that I didn’t know about the history of the LGBT movement. Delving into this rich history in order to develop the film, I was doubly shocked: on the one hand, awed by the courage of the elder activists; and on the other, horrified by the pernicious close-mindedness and rejection that once faced LGBT people in every aspect of life.
My interest as a filmmaker is in telling the stories of real people. To make the history come alive, I chose to interview the elder activists who had lived it, who could narrate their personal experiences. To make the history relevant, I chose to tell the present-day struggles of people who are LGBT. Juxtaposing the recollections of the elders with stories of the present, we are able to observe how far we’ve come, and how far we have left to go.
I remain humbled by this history, but in completing the film I add gratitude: to the heroes who boldly spoke out when it wasn’t safe; to today’s heroes who entrusted me with their stories; to an incredible production team including Associate Producer Naomi Levine and Editor Kimberley Hassett; and to WHYY and the Pew Foundation for giving me the opportunity to make The Pursuit: 50 Years in the Fight for LGBT Rights.
Producer| Director| Writer
Ruby Pictures, Inc.