Local LGBTQ+ Short Film to Screen in Fests
Canal Winchester certainly has reason to be proud this Pride month. Donavan Myles Edwards, the 21-year-old CW native, made a film about a dark era in our history and film festivals are taking note.
Lavender Boy draws attention to the “Lavender Scare” of the 1950s, when the U.S. government deemed gay men and lesbians a national security risk and undertook mass dismissals from state and federal positions.
The very fact that Edwards had not learned about this page in our history during high school was his inspiration to make the film.
“There is a YouTube channel called Vox and they do a lot of video essays. One of those video essays covered the Lavender Scare,” he recalls. “I still don’t know why it was so impactful to me. But I felt angry and hurt. I love history, and for me not to know this even existed, not to have been taught this in high school? The real motivation came from that: Let me make a film about this—a short film that’s manageable—so people will actually know about this topic. Hopefully, after they watch my film they can dig deeper into the topic.”
Though Edwards is a young filmmaker, he’s not a new one.
“I got started in video production when I was 14. It was just me on a fourth generation iPod filming around my house,” Edwards says. “That’s when the love really started to grow. Throughout high school, I started thinking about how I could make video production a lifelong career. So I would do videos of the football team, soccer team and local businesses throughout Canal Winchester. As soon as I graduated high school, I made my own actual video production company.”
Edwards began working with the local production company Loose Films two years ago. Work as Assistant Editor and VFX specialist on their film Poser helped him realize his life’s ambition.
“It was amazing because up to that point I’d never been on a feature film set,” he says. “Just being on set every day watching how things are done properly, how relationships are managed, it was really insightful. That’s where I really knew for sure I wanted to be a narrative filmmaker.”
So, what was it like for such a young filmmaker once it was his time to run a set?
“It was definitely an experience,” he recalls “I feel like I’ve always been a natural-born leader, I want to take charge and be that frontman. But when you’re actually in the moment, I try not to think about that too much because it can be overwhelming: ‘Wow, all these people who are a lot older than me are looking to me for the answers.’ I try not to think about that and stay focused on why I’m here and the story I want to tell.”
He’s sold on the experience.
“I want to do probably one more short film and then move into a feature,” he says. “My goal is to make a feature before I turn 26 and spend this in-between time to really learn and grow and network.”
Edwards sees himself making those films in Ohio for at least a couple more years.
“There are so many individual filmmakers here that can make your dreams happen, and they did for me,” he says.
Lavender Boy will screen virtually via the LGBTQ+ Los Angeles film festival on July 10.