Feb 09

Del Shores’ Southern Baptist Sissies Returns to Palm Springs For Exclusive Theatrical World Premiere.

Del Shores’ Southern Baptist Sissies Returns to Palm Springs For Exclusive Theatrical World Premiere.

Cast members to attend Opening Night Screening
on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 7:30pm.

Award-winning writer/director Del Shores (Sordid Lives, Blues For Willadean, Queer As Folk) is releasing his latest film, Southern Baptist Sissies, in a nationwide theatrical run beginning February 21, 2014 with the exclusive theatrical world premiere in Palm Springs, California at the Camelot Theatres.  Southern Baptist Sissies sold out two screens for the opening night of the Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs Gay and Lesbian Film Festival last September.  The film is being screened exclusively Palm Springs for the opening week because of Shores’ gratitude to the city for making Sordid Lives a nationwide cult classic success.

Southern Baptist Sissies is a unique hybrid of stage and film funded through an enormously successful crowd-sourcing campaign with IndieGogo.  Filmed in ten days in front of four live theatre audiences and completed with a film shoot on the theatrical stage, Southern Baptist Sissies tells the hysterical and heart-wrenching story of four boys growing up gay in the Southern Baptist church and their individual struggles to reconcile their sexuality with the anti-gay teachings of the church.

The film stars original play cast members Leslie Jordan (Emmy winner: Will & Grace), Dale Dickey (Spirit Award winner: Winter’s Bone, True Blood, Blues For Willadean), Rosemary Alexander (Sordid Lives), Ann Walker (Sordid Lives), Newell Alexander (August: Osage County, Sordid Lives) and Joe Patrick Ward (composer for Blues For Willadean and Sordid Lives: The Series).  The four sissies are portrayed by Emerson Collins (Sordid Lives: The Series, BRAVO’s upcoming The People’s Couch), Matthew Scott Montgomery (So Random), Luke Stratte-McClure (Yellow) and Willam Belli (RuPaul’s Drag Race, Nip/Tuck).  The opening weekend will feature Q&A sessions with cast members from the film at the Camelot following select screenings.

Southern Baptist Sissies had its festival world premiere at Outfest in Los Angeles in July 2013, followed by twenty-four film festival appearances with many sold-out screenings at straight and LGBT-focused film festivals across the country, stirring conversation and controversy with last minute additional screenings added to allow larger audiences in many venues and a screening in Stillwater, Oklahoma that was shut down by a venue owner because of objections over the film’s exploration of the gay experience inside dogma-driven religion.  In spite of the close-minded reaction by the venue, the film went on to win Best Feature and Best Actor for star Emerson Collins at the Red Dirt International Film Festival in Stillwater.

Southern Baptist Sissies also won eight Audience Awards in Birmingham, Durham, Fresno, Palm Springs, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Shreveport and Atlanta as well as the Green Award for Best Feature and Best Director for Del Shores at the CineRocKom International Film Festival and Best Comedy at the Q Cinema Fort Worth International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

The original play production of Southern Baptist Sissies received rave reviews in Los Angeles during its sold out run in 2000 and became the most awarded play of the year, winning the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding LA Theater Production, as well as multiple LA Weekly Awards, Los Angeles Critics Awards, LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards, Backstage West Garland Awards and Robby Awards.  The play has been produced by theatre companies across the country, including Shores’ own 2006 revival and the 2006 national tour.

“Over the years I have had more requests for a film of Southern Baptist Sissies than any of my other work because the impact of the message on audiences was so powerful,” explains Shores. “The response to the film at festivals, straight and gay alike, has been overwhelming.  With the advancement of marriage equality, the opposition has become more vocal, and there are still pastors, churches and religious organizations spewing an enormous amount of hate at the gay community.  This film is about the impact those words have on the impressionable LGBT youth locked in those pews and hearing that they are less than or unworthy.”

Shores produced the film through his new company, Beard Collins Shores Productions with producer Emerson Collins (Blues For Willadean) and executive producer Louise H. Beard (Blues For Willadean).

Leslie Jordan, reprising his Ovation award-winning role as “Peanut” explains his commitment to Southern Baptist Sissies saying, “We have a sitting U.S. President on the side of the LGBT community, but what has not changed, and where we will always need work is religious-based bigotry.”  Producer Emerson Collins, also playing the lead and narrator of the film continues, “As we have screened the film at festivals, the response from members of the gay community who grew up in the church is encouraging and rewarding that we are telling an important story, but the response from straight festivals and friends, parents and sibling of gay people explaining how it helped them understand the experience of their gay family and friends is the conversation we want the film to continue to create.”  Dale Dickey, also an Ovation Award winner for her performance as “Odette” confirms, “The fact that this kind of intolerance is still going on in today’s world is maddening to me.  And I’m not going to sit back, I’m going to stand up and fight for what I believe in.  It’s so important to give people hope.”

The film was shot in ten days with three cameras in front of live audiences and Shores explains, “I was inspired by the excitement of a live audience like the old Playhouse 90 series.  The audience interaction is a huge part of the comedy of this piece, and I wanted to embrace that in shooting live shows with three cameras and then shooting additional days for film coverage for the intimacy that film performances provide.  I wanted this to be a beautiful film of the experience of seeing the play live in a theatre.”

Del Shores’ Southern Baptist Sissies
Exclusive Theatrical World Premiere.

Theatrical Run Opens on Friday, February 21, 2014
Tickets are available at the Camelot Theatres Box Office, Or Online at: camelottheatres.com

Cast and Crew to attend 7:30pm screening.

ABOUT DEL SHORES: Shores has written, directed and produced for film, network and cable television, and theatre.  His most recent film, Blues For Willadean, is an adaptation of his NAACP Award-winning play The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife.  Blues For Willadean stars Beth Grant, Dale Dickey and Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer and is in limited theatrical release and available On Demand now.  A film adaptation of his play Daddy’s Dyin’ (Who’s Got The Will?) was released by MGM and Propaganda Films. Shores wrote and directed the film version of his play Sordid Lives starring Beau Bridges, Delta Burke, Olivia Newton-John, Bonnie Bedelia, Leslie Jordan and Beth Grant with many of the actors from the original stage cast. Sordid Lives:The Series, a television series prequel to the film, premiered on Viacom’s LOGO network in 2008 starring Olivia Newton-John, Rue McClanahan, Leslie Jordan, Beth Grant, Caroline Rhea and many of the original stage and film cast.  Shores created, wrote, directed and executive produced all twelve episodes.  Shores’ seven plays have run for over six years collectively in Los Angeles where they all premiered and won numerous awards from GLAAD, the NAACP, the LA Drama Critic’s Circle, LA Stage Alliance, LA Weekly and Backstage.  Southern Baptist Sissiesis the fourth of his plays to make the leap to film.

YouTube embeddable trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo0k66jXVGI
Southern Baptist Sissies Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/SouthernBaptistSissies
Southern Baptist Sissies YouTube Channel:  www.youtube.com/user/SBSissies
Original IndieGogo fundraising page: www.indiegogo.com/SouthernBaptistSissies