Pride On Film: Giant Leap of Faith, A conversation with filmmaker Faith Trimel

Photos Credit Faith Trimel

The bible says something to the effect that if you have faith the size of a mustard seed that you can accomplish anything; as an independent filmmaker, writer and director, Faith Trimel knows that all too well. In 2009 Trimel won legions of fans in the film festival circuit with her second feature length film “Family,” a coming-of-age dramedy centered on the lives of a group of lesbian friends who experience continual strife in their personal and professional lives as a result of their being closeted. In 2002 the idea for “Family,” first came to Trimel while she was out jogging; it took six years to complete the film.

Trimel is a Chicago born and raised filmmaker currently residing in Los Angeles. She spent several years working as a successful actress in independent films, at present she’s the proprietor of her own production company, Blue Butterfly Productions. Ever since she was sixteen she knew that she wanted to make movies. Although she was not formally training as a filmmaker per se, she received her Bachelor’s of the Arts in Theater and completed some post studies in film at Georgia State University where she began to make movies with the support of various departments at the university.

Trimel briefly talked to PrideIndex about her journey to complete “Family” which was just released on DVD, she describes the obstacles that indie filmmakers face, why she made this film and what’s next.

PRIDEINDEX (PI): Have you ever experienced a moment when you wanted give up on become a filmmaker? If so, briefly talk about that experience and describe what happened to make you move forward to pursue your dream?

FAITH TRIMEL (FT): I’ve had many crisis moments of “imagining” giving up on film making. Filmmaking is hard, especially indie filmmaking. [As an indie filmmaker] you have no money just faith and grit most times, and everyone involved starts the journey full of enthusiasm and mirth, but the journey is long and hard and most will jump ship and then it’s just you; therefore, you’d better have a lot of passion to see it through. But this passion is a double-edged sword because it keeps you burning and feeling every knock, every obstacle, every criticism, and every failure. Basically, it makes you vulnerable, but filmmaking is still, very much a business. It’s tough. I’m still finding my way.

What keeps me going is some kind of unconscious understanding that this is one of the key reasons I’m here on earth, and it is my greatest passion. I never feel my alive than when I’m creating, most importantly, films.

PI: How would you describe your style?

FT: I’m still figuring that style question out. Though I am by no means young in calendar years, I am still relatively new as a filmmaker (only 2 features/2 shorts). I’m still finding my voice. I’m still open to the options I see in film. I can say counter intuitively what’s not my style: experimental works, self-indulgent works, sentimental empty work. I enjoy the push and pull of human encounters. I want something visceral and pragmatic, something urgent, now real. I also like character driven-works but I make linear plot-driven works, or, at least, I will continue to.

PI: Talk about your film “Family” and where did you find the inspiration for it?

FT: “Family” was inspired by the many stories I have heard of women in the life infused with my own experiences and perspectives.

PI: “Family” is described as “an authentic look at lesbian imagines of color” why was that so important to you?

FT: To make fully dimensional, honest, and identifiable women affirms and heals lesbians of color who struggle with projections strewn at them that seed then harvest as a distorted,  awful image that cause a great deal of pain and wounding;  being marginalized and maligned in the majority media is a hurtful and alienating thing. I think it manifests in unhealthy or toxic friendships and romantic relationships in the community. Of course, this is a bit of a generalization – but just a bit. I wanted women who looked and acted like me and the women that I know.

PI: Tell us about any notable challenges you experienced during the making of this film and talk about what you’ve done to overcome them.

FT: Filmmaking is my vocation, so I’m growing like any other who is working. Both my films enabled me to travel the world, meet incredible people, and feel like I’m contributing something to the greater good. For that reason it bolsters my self-esteem, enriches, my life, and brings me supportive friends, and romance.

But back to challenges, there were a plethora: mutinies, getting kicked out of locations as we shot gorilla style, running out of money, and many, many more. I ate nothing for the entire production, I slept an hour and a half per day, I cried and sweated for the film, but if I’m being honest, I wouldn’t change a thing. I loved it all. I know it’s a cliché but “Fire makes diamonds.” My love of every big and small aspect of creation and/or filmmaking was kept me going – keeps me going.

PI: Why did you become a filmmaker?

I became a filmmaker because I had to. There’s just nothing else I’d rather do. I definitely tried everything else. All those other vocations just bore or depress me. I’d like to think my long and varied journey in so many avenues was just fodder for my inner writer. It gives me more stories, experiences, and people to call upon.

PI: How come it took so long to bring “Family” to DVD?

FT: “Family” took a while to make. From conception to production, six years; however, that was not me fully engaged with it, just working on it when I could. The actual production took a matter of months; editing, a few more months; then a full year to arrive on DVD.

Technically, “Family” was released on DVD in the spring of 2010. I’m currently doing a sale, so it didn’t take quite so long. I produced the film in 2008. It did festivals in 2009-2010 and this is customary for any film especially indie, low-budget one. Most run out of steam, money, or both and don’t get distribution or likely are never completed. Like I said earlier, it’s hard work.

PI: Do you have any plans on making a sequel to “Family?”

FT: There is a “definite” plan for “Family” the series that is “tentatively” scheduled for production in early 2013. The series will pick up six months after the film left off.

PI: What projects are you working on next?

FT: I have a host of other projects in various stages of pre-production. I’m always tight lipped about those. I’d rather show than tell, but I think they will all be pretty groundbreaking.

To purchase “Family” go to Blue Butterfly Productions