RETURN TO HOME PAGE
By Erin O'Briant
Although the new feature film Rock Haven, which premieres this month at the Frameline San Francisco LGBT Film Festival, is set in a coastal California town, at least part of the movie was shot right here in Noe Valley.
"Many of the interior scenes...were filmed in my house on Clipper Street," says filmmaker David Lewis, who has lived in the 'hood for nearly 18 years. "At one point, we had to climb on our next-door neighbor's roof to attend to a lighting matter, but everyone was cool. The neighbors gave me a double take when I said we were filming a movie there."
The neighbors were also surprised to see a Last Supper mural on the wall of Lewis' house, but that was perfectly in keeping with the film's story line. In the movie, Rock Haven is the name of a town where a devout 18-year-old Christian boy and his mother have recently settled. The boy, Brady, befriends a handsome young man named Clifford and discovers that their mutual interest goes well beyond friendship.
Lewis says he wrote the screenplay in response to the political divisiveness of the 2004 presidential election. "There seems to be this assumption that God makes us choose between our sexuality and our faith," he says. "These days, I think more people--including many Christians--see the folly of such a notion."
But that doesn't mean the film is completely serious. "I didn't want this to be a preachy, polemic film. I wanted it to be both spiritual and sexy. I wanted it to be weighty, yet not afraid to have a sense of humor once in a while."
Test audiences have already seen the film, though without the musical score created by Jack Curtis Dubowsky. Even without the finished auditory accompaniment, Lewis believes the film nudged the test viewers to take stock of their own spiritual lives. He's proud of what the hard-working cast and crew were able to do without a lot of money. "Everyone enjoyed Christian Bruno's cinematography," he says. "They were somewhat taken aback that this low-budget film looked so beautiful and had such elegant camerawork."
Don't bother looking for the town of Rock Haven in real life--the town is truly fictional, Lewis claims. "It's more a metaphor," he explains. "The rocks, the waves, the beautiful coast in the film represent a safe refuge for Brady.... This movie says, among other things, that God has a refuge for us all."
After Rock Haven premieres at the Castro Theatre at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 21, it will screen in both Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Lewis hopes the film will be shown all around the world, but he's thrilled with the venue for Rock Haven's first showing. "I couldn't have written the script any better than to have the world premiere at a prestigious film festival like San Francisco Frameline," he says.
Meanwhile, Lewis is working on another original screenplay and looking for a book to turn into a movie. "I have to be writing," he says.
Tickets to all regular festival screenings, including Rock Haven, are $10 each, but a variety of passes and ticket packages are available. To buy tickets and view the lineup for the entire festival (June 14 to 24), visit www.frame line.org/festival. For more information about Rock Haven, visit www.rockhavenmovie.com.