“Raised by giants!” Resilience, community & grace — Angelenos show the way through adversity with documentary World Premiere, “PROUD In a Pandemic”
On Feb 8 2023 – The LGBTQIA+ Community turned out to show their support for the premiere of DTLA’s Proud in a Pandemic. The film documents the turbulent times that the community encountered during the initial stages of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Mayor Garcetti, and Governor Newsom announced their shutdowns within an hour of each other. And just like that, the world changed. But one community had seen this all before. For those who identify as Queer, LGBTQ+ this was a story without an end. This vibrant community has been going through the pandemics of racism, homophobia, HIV/AIDS & now COVID-19, and though each left scars, they also forced the development of muscles and the strength to thrive despite adversity.
“For those who live in and around DTLA – downtown Los Angeles, the queer scene is more than just bars & clubs,” says Andrés Rigal, creative director of DTLA Proud, “as Queer people, we’ve been kicked out of churches and our own families, for some these places are the only safe spaces, but when we lost these, during lockdown we had nowhere else to go.”
Director Scottie Jeanette Madden and Executive Producer Oliver Alpuche led an entire volunteer crew through the challenge of filming the project during the lockdown, “The crew were the most dedicated I had worked with in my 40-year career,” says Ms Madden, “we had to invent COVID protocols before the Hollywood unions had a chance to produce their “White papers (institutional union protocols for safe production) we knew we were literally risking lives.” The interviews were conducted all before the first vaccines were even available.
“When the locked down forced us to cancel our annual Pride festival,” adds Mr. Alpuche, “We switched gears. We knew had to tell our story, we had a responsibility to our immediate community, but also to our past & future generations – this was our time to step up.”
From the original song by Daisy O’Dell, Purple Crush and Kinsey Dulcet, featuring the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, to Elton’s John’s anthem, “I’m Still Standing” the film is “at once intense, infuriating and inspiring,” according to director Madden, “we all saw unprecedented callousness, social unrest and loss — but we had a playbook – our forebears taught us, ‘community, compassion, creativity,’ these are the virtues we can offer the straight world.”
“We are excited to show the world our film,” says Executive Producer Alpuche, “but we are still reeling from the losses of the pandemic. We kept waiting for an end, but that isn’t coming anytime soon, so now we believe the message is the inspiration we all, queer and straight need to come together and go forward.”
“Proud In A Pandemic” premieres with a Pink Carpet screening on February 8th at 6:30 pm at The Fonda Theatre: 6126 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood, CA 90028, including a Q&A with the filmmakers and a Rooftop Afterparty immediately following.
For more on DTLA Proud: