Director Silas Howard has been tapped to helm 'Moonshadow', a horror film about LGBTQ conversation therapy for indie studio Gunpowder & Sky. The screenplay is by Ernesto Foronda and Daniel Foerster.
Silas Howard is a trans director whose credits include Sundance film A Kid Like Jake and episodes of This Is Us, Transparent and Pose (where he also serves as co-executive producer). Foerster, who is trans as well, based the script on personal experiences with LGBTQ conversation therapy.
The film will follow a trans teen forced to go to a conversion camp, where he soon finds his fellow residents are certainly being converted—but into something inhuman.
Digital production company YOMYOMF (You Offend Me You Offend My Family) will partner with Nonetheless Productions to produce the project.
This year has seen a couple releases on conversion therapy already, bringing attention to the practice at a pivotal time in recent history. The Miseducation of Cameron Post was a Sundance Grand Jury winner, and Joel Edgerton’s Boy Erased opened this month. Moonshadow will explore the issue through a genre lens, which perhaps will help give it a slightly wider audience reach.
One thing the entertainment industry often fails to get right is representation, but in this case, the trans perspective has clearly been front and center from the beginning.
Howard comes from a background in California punk rock and small indie films, his first being LGBTQ comedy By Hook or By Crook, which premiered at Sundance in 2001. He entered the field of filmmaking with no experience and has said he considers himself more a storyteller than filmmaker. Film just happened to be the right outlet for his creativity.
Aspiring directors and writers should take note that Howard’s rise has not been entirely conventional, and what matters is a desire to tell personal, impactful stories from a unique perspective, especially in today’s charged political climate. Know that your background makes you valuable, and audiences have become more willing to embrace storytellers outside the straight white male viewpoint. Play in those genre spaces, and figure out fresh ways to tell your stories. There will be an audience out there for you!