Pride on Film: The Lies We Tell But the Secrets We Keep by Coquie Hughes

When filmmaker Coquie Hughes first picked up the novel, THE LIES WE TELL BUT THE SECRETS WE KEEP, written by Milon V. Parker, she knew she was onto something big. “I read the entire novel within 2 hours and called Milon and said we have to make this into a film,” said Hughes. According to the film’s press material the movie is, “about two women with different lifestyles who fall in love yet become caught up in a dangerous love triangle.” PrideIndex had the pleasure of attending a pre-screening of the movie and talked to Hughes.

PI: What do you hope moviegoers will take away from it?

CH: The film offers insight whether one is gay, lesbian, straight or on the DL, at some point or another, human beings will tell lies and keep secrets. But in the end, it’s just best to keep it 100% if possible because the consequences of deception can be detrimental.

PI: Tell us about any notable challenges you faced during the production of THE LIES WE TELL BUT THE SECRETS WE KEEP and what you did to overcome them.

CH: Making a film is more than a notion especially if its an indie (no/low budget) project. Yet I am a firm believer just like anything that is worth see coming into fruition it took a lot of hard work, sacrifice and dedication regardless of the circumstances to make this film a reality.

PI: Is this film pure fiction or is it based off events that took place in your own life or the lives of others you know?

CH: The film is based on the fictional novel written by Milon V. Parker.

PI: Please share with our readers, your coming out story.  When did you first know that you were attracted to the women?

CH: I knew that I was a same gender loving person when I was in the 4th grade and I had a crush on my classmate. She was considered the prettiest girl in the class. A lot of my female classmates were jealous of her and a lot of the boys were “crushing on” her. But to me she was the nicest person I’d ever known and she wrote me a love letter telling me she loved me. And I think that is when I knew I liked girls. However I didn’t come out until I was 30 years old.

PI: Are all the actors in this film lesbian?

CH: Not sure…but I do know all of them are actors.

PI: How did you raise funds to bring this film to the market place?

CH: We didn’t raise funds. This was a no budget film and Milon V. Parker executive produced when funding was required (i.e. occasional camera rental; providing snacks & meals; etc.)

PI: Tell us about your other films “My Mama Said Yo Mama’s a Dyke, and “If I Wuz Yo Gyrl: An Experimental Work in Progress” and the inspiration for each film.

CH: MY MAMA SAID YO MAMA’S A DYKE is a film I made based on a documentary I’d been working on since 2006. But finding funding was exceptionally hard and I was inspired to make a mockumentary version with the hopes of generating interest. I am a mom and I am also a lesbian. I wanted to create a film that dealt with how moms choose to openly live their lives as lesbians and how it affected their children.

IF I WUZ YO GYRL (aka IF I WAS YOUR GIRL) is a labor of love that I’d been working on since 2001. It is a film about domestic violence within the lesbian community. I shot a 75 minute experimental work in progress with the hopes also of generating interest to finance the “real’ version.

PI: Name at least 3 artists that have most affected your artistic style.

CH: I love film directors Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino and Clint Eastwood in that order.

PI How did you become interested in filmmaking?

CH: I always liked telling stories even as a child and when I was in the 4th grade I saw the stage play version of “The Wiz.” I enjoyed how the theater company that produced it incorporated live theater and film into the production. I thought that was the most amazing thing ever. It was then I knew I wanted to become whomever made that production.

PI: Where did you receive your formal training?

CH: I did go to film school for a stint but the tuition was ridiculously high. So I dropped out and I learned how to become a filmmaker by just doing it. In film school you learn theory but working actually on a film set, you learn practicality. So I learned by watching professionals in the business.

PI: What projects are you work currently on?

CH: My next project will be a film I plan to get done in time enough to submit to the Sundance Film festival. It’s a family oriented film that has nothing to do with the LGBT community. I plan to submit and hopefully it will get accepted.

PI: What’s next on the horizon for you?

CH: I enjoyed making the novel version of THE LIES WE TELL BUT THE SECRETS WE KEEP into a film because it gave me a chance to make someone else’s idea into a visual reality. I think I really like being an adaptation filmmaker. So hopefully I’ll get a chance to adapt someone else’s novel into a film.

Contact Coquie Hughes at!/godsfilmmaker

THE LIES WE TELL BUT THE SECRETS WE KEEP Red Carpet Event on June 24th at the Portage Theater at 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave in Chicago at 8:00 PM for tickets