Spotlight On: Sal Bardo

SalBardo2011

Over the last three years, writer-director Sal Bardo’s films have screened at nearly 50 film festivals in 10 countries. In 2011, he won the Audience Award for Best First Time Filmmaker at Reel Affirmations: Washington D.C.’s International LGBT Film Festival for his short film Requited, which made its world premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival. Sal’s second film, Sam, tackles gender identity and bullying, while his third project, Chaser, confronts the issue of HIV/AIDS in the gay community.

Read on to learn about Sal’s newest film project, Pink Moon.

You are currently working on a film called Pink Moon. What is the premise of the story?

Pink Moon is about two teens who struggle to deal with an unwanted pregnancy in a society where heterosexuals are persecuted and abortion is forbidden.

It’s rare that films address abortion head-on. What prompted you to tackle this subject matter?

The project originally started as a feature film addressing bullying, suicide, and LGBT rights by imagining a so-called “homonormative” society, where the majority of the population is gay. And the short film still touches on all of those things, but the more I delved into this world I’d created, the more fascinated I became with what the effect would be on reproductive rights. It wasn’t until I finished writing the feature-length version of the script that I realized just how fundamentally tied women’s rights are to LGBT rights: personal freedom, what society dictates we can and cannot do with our bodies, and the oppression and violence that has resulted in the fight to both gain and protect those rights. But it’s very possible that communities that are typically allies in our world might be adversaries in a world where unintended pregnancy, for example, might not be very common. The majority would have no need for abortion services and, in fact, stigmatize it. I like to make movies that entertain but also provoke a conversation. I like to flip things around and ask, “What if?” Unfortunately, that “what if” is becoming a frightening reality for millions of women across the U.S. right now.

What do you hope your audience will take away from the portrayal of a reproductive rights dystopia?

First and foremost, I want to tell a good story with compelling characters. If the film sparks a dialogue about the politics of women’s rights, then that’s a bonus. Several years ago I was talking to a female friend who insisted that voting didn’t matter and that lawmakers would never succeed at rolling back reproductive rights. Flash forward to 2014 and it’s a very real danger, especially at the state level. I think it’s important for people, especially those of us who have grown up post-Roe v. Wade, to understand what things could be like if abortion isn’t safe, legal and accessible. Whether you support abortion rights or not, these are our sisters, mothers, and daughters. And this issue is really important to me.

You just launched a fundraising campaign to finance the film. How can people contribute?

We just launched our Kickstarter campaign, so that’s a simple, secure way people can support the project. And we’re offering lots of great rewards to backers, including opportunities to be in the film, DVDs, tickets to the premiere, and things like that. Even if you can’t contribute financially, you can spread the word by sharing the link with your friends and family. Connecting with people is the most important thing. We want people to feel like they’re part of the conversation, and part of the project itself. It’s impossible to make a good movie all by yourself. It truly takes a village!

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