It’s rare to find a gay movie as touching, realistic and – most importantly – funny as Ash Christian’s debut, Fat Girls. In celebration of the movie’s official New York release this Friday, our vacationing editor sat down with the twenty-two year old Texas-born filmmaker for a homo heart-to-heart.
Read what Christian has to say about his first flick, growing up “fat” and why his father thinks he’s going to hell. After the jump, of course…
Andrew Belonsky: This is your directorial debut – is it scary for you?
Ash Christian: Yes. It’s frightening. You’re very vulnerable, but it’s all been pretty good so far. I’ve been traveling with the movie for about a year, so I’ve gotten used to it, but a release is a lot different than a film festival. It’s a lot scarier.
AB: You must feel good about this, right? It’s a good movie.
AC: Yeah, I feel great. The reviews have been really positive for the most part. There’s nothing I can do about it now. I was twenty years old when I made the movie. Things change as you get older. Would I have done things differently? Probably. But it’s caught on film forever, so I’ve got to love it – and I do.
AB: How old are you now?
AB: You grew up in Paris, Texas. Fat Girls also takes place in Texas. How much of this is based on your high school experience?
AC: You know, I’d say maybe half of the movie is true to life. I was a gay theater boy and I had a 300-pound best girlfriend and I was raised in a very religious household. But, it’s not all true – the movie had to be entertaining.
AB: Was this movie a cathartic experience for you?
AC: Yes, absolutely. I feel way better now than I did when I was making the movie. It’s also – it basically was my calling card and now I’m not so much of a fat girl.
AB: At the end of the movie you say being a fat girl is all about being comfortable with who you areâ€¦
AC: Yeah, but I don’t feel like I’m the person I was when I made that movie, because I have been accepted by the community that I wanted to be accepted by.
AB: What community was that?
AC: The gay community, the film community. I’m not that loner boy I used to be. And the film helped me get out of that, which is awesome.
AB: How often do you go back to Paris?
AC: As little as I can get away with, but I do really love my family and want to go back and visit. It’s tough to go back to such a small town where minds are so closed – and especially, I mean, I basically came out on the front page of the Dallas Morning News with “Fat and Gay” with my face under it.
AC: It’s a bit odd going back. I didn’t know that story was going to happen. They interviewed me during Tribeca and that popped up – I was like, “Oh, wow.”
AB: Oh gosh. So, your father did not die when you were in high school? He’s still alive.
AB: What did your parents say when they saw this movie?
AC: They haven’t seen it.
AB: Are you going to show it to them, Ash?
AC: If they see it, they see it, but I’m not going to send them a copy.
AB: Really? You should be so proud!
AC: I’m proud of it. I don’t know if they would be. They’re proud of me and they know what’s going on, but I don’t know if they want their story told.
AB: So, this is as much their story as it is your story?
AC: Yeah. I mean, my mom is nothing like the mom in the movie, but it’s sort of based on my stepmother and father. They’re evangelical Christians and really hardcore Republican. They have a picture of George Bush on their wall – not really my cup of tea. Would they like the movie? I don’t think so. My mom, I think, would be cool with it.
AB: So, you’re closer with your mother than you are with your father?
AC: Oh, yeah.