“Armistead’s own tales are actually stranger than fiction because he went from being a vehemently conservative aristocrat in the deep south to an proudly out San Franciscan, whose open heart inspires compassion and togetherness,” said Jennifer M. Kroot, director of The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin in an interview with eFilmCritic.com.
The film, a documentary about the life of the author Armistead Maupin, premiered at SXSW 2017, and won the Documentary Spotlight Audience Award there. It’s won 8 awards total at various festivals.
Kroot, a San Francisco Bay Area native, also directed It Came from Kuchar (2009) and To Be Takei (2014), a documentary about openly gay actor George Takei.
We were lucky enough to have her answer a few of our questions about her film and life.
Where was THE UNTOLD TALES OF ARMISTEAD MAUPIN first screened in front of an audience (where you attended)?
We had a screening at Pixar first, when we had a find cut with finished animation (you can’t show up at Pixar with subpar animation). I wanted to show it to Armistead somewhere special with a cool audience, and I’m so glad I did. They really enjoyed it. It’s such a weird experience, showing someone the movie that you made about them. It always feels a bit presumptuous the first time I watch a doc with the subject.
What was your first experience at a “gay” movie? What did you see, where did you see it and who was with you?
I think I almost got into drag after seeing MOMMIE DEAREST when it first came out in 1981. I was around 12 and probably saw it 5 or 6 times in the theater and said all the lines again and again. I loved the over the top drama. Of course I didn’t understand that this film had a huge gay following until I was older. I still have a lot of judgment about wire hangers.
If you couldn’t make movies, what creative outlet would you choose?
I’ve always wanted to make jewelry.
With a shout out to James Lipton, what turns you on? Or off?
Turn ons are gardening, 90s girl groups like Betty Blowtorch, underground film with a sense of humor and Mike Kuchar’ fine artwork (please look it up if you’re unfamiliar and you may have a new turn on too). I also have a love/hate relationship for yoga for over 20 years now, which leads me to my turn offs. The yoga scene in SF and probably everywhere, pretentious underground film (and any pretetious filmmaking, and romantic comedies and long, clone-like, migraine-inducing, action scenes in movies) people in my way everywhere on their devices (it’s becoming a horror movie) and stalkers are always a bummer too.
How do you think your film is relevant to the Tampa Bay area?
Well my film involves a different “Bay Area,” the San Francisco Bay Area, and I think that it’s been scientifically proven that people who live on bays are… quite interesting. I think both of these Bay Areas are Gay Areas too. This film is for everyone of course, but I especially enjoy screening at LGBT festivals. The audiences are so enthusiastic and vocal at screenings. The scenes are usually less pretentious too.
How would your friends and family describe you?
Controlling but very funny… and with pink hair.
The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin
Friday, October 13 @ 6:30 PM
AMC Sundial 20 + IMAX