Award-winning actor Colman Domingo to be honored at Atlanta's Out on Film festival
Atlanta’s LGBTQ Film Festival Out on Film is underway through Oct. 2, with a total of 143 films representing 27 countries at this year’s festival.
Among the most outstanding are “New Moon” and “North Star,” two short films with Emmy award-winning actor, director, playwright and writer Colman Domingo. He is also being honored by Out on Film with the “Icon” Award.
Colman Domingo joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes via Zoom to talk about his new films.
Interview highlights follow below.
“New Moon,” a short animated film co-written by the Domingo husband team:
“It’s a real story based on me and my mother’s relationship,” said Domingo. “A tradition that my mother passed on to me [was] she would hold what she called her pocketbook, her purse, out on the new moon night. And there was this one night when Aretha Franklin was playing. I could still visualize this whole evening, and I just saw my mother’s thoughts and her mind go elsewhere…. I think she was teaching me about the power of music as well. The power of music, the power of having some tradition and inspiration, and something that will help you get outside of, I don’t know your, your circumstances, your trials, your tribulations, sometimes even your own neighborhood, and the places that hem you in.”
“[The new moon] promised hope for new money, new experiences, and new dreams. I was very curious about that, about the idea of her grabbing her purse and holding it open. That showed me that she had faith that there was something magical that was going to happen,” Domingo said. “I remember I told her, I said, ‘Well, I don’t have a pocket book. How am I going to get new money, new experiences, and new dreams?’ And she said, ‘Well, just hold open your hands.’ ….In the middle of this pandemic, I want to inspire people to hold their hands open, to trust that there’s some magic and inspiration, and that you’re going to be okay.”
How the memory of Domingo’s late mother continues to inspire:
“We always shared our dreams together. She inspired the dreamer in me, and the person who believed that I could do anything, go anywhere,” Domingo reflected. “In the short, she says about going to the art museums and visiting places she’s never even been. As I think about it, I don’t think my mother had ever been to an art museum. I think these are things that she thought were out of her resources, or things that she just didn’t do, but she inspired me to do it. She was like, ‘I want you to do all these things that may be limited for me or my experience,’ but she was a dreamer in those ways. She wanted me to go visit foreign countries and all that stuff, and I’d been doing all that. I guess I’d listen to my mother, and I think she knew the things; she knew her son, and she knew what would make him happy and feel a part of the world.”
He added, “You know, I still think that everything that I do is for my mother.”
“North Star,” a film exploring illness and care:
“I think [writer and director P.J. Palmer] wanted to leave it in the audience’s hands on what it was [Craig] was dying of, but he also said that it wasn’t as important as the part of care and the caregiver, and the loving relationship,” said Domingo. “One of the scenes that I love the most, actually, which is I think what drew me to the film, was the scene where Jimmy strips down naked after waking his husband up, after his husband has, through the evening, may have soiled himself, et cetera. And he lovingly takes off the diaper and all that. He picks him up body-to-body and puts him in the tub and bathes him.”
He went on, “I thought that was something I’d never seen in film, and with any couple. And to look at that level of love and intimacy, and only people who may have been caregivers, or when you love someone, you’re like, ‘I’m not afraid.’ You’re not afraid to touch them or be with them, because they’re part of you. I thought that that was tremendous; I thought it was the most beautiful act of love that I’d ever read.”
The Out on Film Festival continues through Oct. 2, with live and virtual screenings. “New Moon” screens in-person Sept. 29 at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, and “North Star” will show Oct. 2 at Out Front Theatre. More information, tickets, and online screenings can be found at www.outonfilm.org.