Daddy’s Boy is the latest film release from the innovative studio Novo Novus. This 78 minute film whisks us from the barrio onto a gay porn set and behind the closed doors of a burlesque studio. The film is a “luscious, black-and-white queer neo-noir that exposes the complexities of male identity and sexuality through its four diverse characters as they question the responsibilities of adulthood while leaving behind their boyhoods.”
We were fortunate enough to catch up with Daniel Armando the film’s writer and director in advance of the film’s New York City premiere at NewFest, New York’s LGBT Film Festival on Saturday, October 22nd.Daddy’s Boy and other works by Novo Novus focus particularly on LGBT communities of color. In 2016, why is it important to focus on these communities?
It’s important to focus on these communities because these communities rarely have a voice. As artists of color we feel a responsibility to tell every day stories from our perspective and in hopes have younger generations see our work and relate.
What does the indie film industry landscape look like in 2016, eg. for LGBT artists, for artists of color, for LGBT artists of color, funding resources and opportunities, audience support, and what is up and coming?
I feel the indie filmmaking landscape today looks promising. As technology is advancing it’s becoming more accessible to create content. The LGBT film community has been very welcoming of our work. And we are proud to be a part of a growing community of LGBT filmmakers. Overall audiences have been awesome. Film festival programmers have been very accepting of our films. As artists of color it’s hard to tell. You just have to keep producing your work and see what works and what gets a response. Finance is always a challenge and something you just have to be creative with. Overall right now the direction of indie filmmaking is changing. The way people make films and distribute them is different than what it was 20 years ago. It’s been a learning process for all of us.
You’re a writer, director, and executive producer. Which of these roles is the most challenging? Which is the most rewarding?
For me it’s all very challenging and rewarding, but I consider myself a director first because I love physically being creative and experimenting with story telling and visuals. I along with my business partner Dane Joseph produce all of our works because it’s just plain hard to find people who want to produce. So we take it upon ourselves to do the detail tedious work.
Daddy’s Boy has been screened at a handful of very reputable festivals so far and will appear at NewFest in New York City this month. How has the reception of the film been to date?
Overall it’s been great. The film opens up a lot of discussion which I wanted it to do. It explores a lot of themes and the story is approached in a very explorative unconventional way so people quickly have questions about the making of the film and the many metaphors it presents.
And congratulations, we saw that from roughly 4,000 submissions from 115 countries Daddy’s Boy was selected to appear as a Narrative Feature at the 27th annual New Orleans Film Festival from October 12 – 20. What does this mean for you?
Thank you! We are thrilled an honor to be a part of a great festival and amongst so many great films screening this year. We are so proud of the film and we are appreciative of all the attention it’s been getting.
In my opinion, one review I read for Daddy’s Boy seemed to miss the point on the artistic nature of the film. I’m not a film student or critic so had to look up French New Wave. Can you describe what French New Wave is and why you chose this style/technique for Daddy’s Boy?
My director of photography Ryan Balas introduced me to French New Wave Cinema and European films of the late ’60’s. During that time new young directors like Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard were experimenting with new ways of making films and were very much indie artist rebelling against mainstream films of the time. They really pushed the boundaries of storytelling and how to make films. I fell in love with the aesthetics of those films wanted to interject that into this film and make it feel as if it was plucked from that same library.
You mentioned in a recent press release that Daddy’s Boy “was a chance to discover my father.” What did you discover about him and about you through this process and how is your relationship with your father today?
My relationship with my father now is great! We understand and accept each other as individuals and love and respect each very much. In making this film I did think a lot about who my father was before he was a husband and a father. there’s a lot there that I’ll never really know. It’s his life and he can share whatever he feels comfortable sharing with me. In Daddy’s Boy you hopefully see that. You see these men making decisions that when they’re older maybe they’ll never share with their children or love ones.
Do you have any thoughts about how gay men, particularly gay men of color, might find ways to open conversations with their fathers?
Hmmm… I guess I would say don’t put pressure on yourself. The only thing you can control is how you present yourself, how you choose to live your life. The more you can be your most authentic self the easier it will be to open up to those close to you. Because no matter how they react you know that you can stand firm and proud in who you are.
What do you hope people take away from Daddy’s Boy?
I hope people can reflect on their own personal relationships and open themselves up to thinking outside the box with this one. It’s a mediation, exploration, metaphoric, erotic, sensual take on what it means to be a man.