Elliot London was born in Australia but raised in Rockford, Ill. He attended Columbia Film School here in Chicago in 2002 but moved to Los Angeles in 2005 because of his sheer eagerness in getting behind a camera and making movies. Now six-years later and more the wiser, London has his own thoughts on his craft and on Chicago, his old hometown—sort of.
WCT: (Windy City Times) So how did you end up in filmmaking?
EL: (Elliot London) That's a long story. Ultimately, I love it. I think my life in Chicago had a lot to do with it. I actually was a bartender at Hydrate in the early 2000s. I got the bug for filmmaking then. I made a pact with myself to be in L.A. I started at Columbia Film School when I was 24. I wouldn't get to sit behind a camera for over two years. So I left for L.A. I think filmmaking, like other creative pursuits is something either that's in you or it's not. You need to be able to tell a story—visually. Not everyone can do that. Just like not everyone can act, or write.
WCT: The Wedding Dance is your latest short film. Can you tell us anything about the film? Mum's been the word in your other interviews.
EL: It's a dance that occurs during a wedding reception and I'm shooting it on Wednesday. [Laughs]
WCT: That's ALL you can tell me? How about where you drew your inspirations?
EL: Gay film is very important to me. I really was exposed to it while living and working in Chicago. We need to create a culture in LGBT films. I think my greatest inspirations come from the gay-themed films I saw when I was 18. Each director learns what his "thing" is. Mine is a good twist. [Laughs] But that's all you're getting from me on the film. It should be released by Valentine's Day so you'll have to wait.
WCT: You left Chicago for L.A. so you could make movies, but what did that move mean for you as a filmmaker, and does shooting your films in L.A. offer any benefit over shooting them in Chicago?
EL: Six years ago, Chicago was a different landscape for filmmakers. It was all big-budget, big-crew films and they were just flying in from L.A., shooting and then leaving for L.A. But the landscape is certainly changing. I would love to make more movies in Chicago. There is just so much personality there that you can actually take in.
WCT: You received a lot of acclaim for your short film, 306. How did that project come about?
EL: Ah, yes—306. I actually made that in Chicago. I just had to. I had to create a film about a life in this city. Chicago is really a film on its own.
WCT: Now when did you come out? Do you find any unique challenges being an "out" filmmaker?
EL: I was openly gay at 19. I left Rockford. I had to leave Rockford first then traveled to Australia to see where I was actually born. I then moved straight from Sydney to Chicago. As far as the challenges to a gay filmmaker, it really depends on which avenues you plan on going down. There are loads of gay filmmakers in L.A. You have a lot your run of the mill romantic comedies geared towards men in their late 30s and 40s. But I wanted to make something different and more palatable to one demographic. Young people are far savvier then they were even a decade ago.
WCT: Where do you find your inspiration?
EL: A lot of it comes from my travels. I make it a point to leave the country at least once a year. Whether it be Cambodia or Barcelona, I need to go. My biggest problem is sensory overload. I see all of these people and need to find out their stories. Whether it be the man flipping through his newspaper on a train or someone else, I need to know. So I travel and I talk to people. You need that life experience.
WCT: I know its cliché, but where do you see yourself in the future?
EL: And, of course, my cliché answer is going to be "I see myself doing more work."
My dream is doing what I want to do—creating gay film. Once I make it there, I've got to help other people do what I did. It's just the way I feel it should work.
Elliott London plans to visit 26 cities throughout the United States as part of his grassroots fundraising campaign and will chronicle his travels in a daily video blog, which will include interviews with members of the LGBT community on what it's like to be gay in America in 2012. Read more on RadarOnline.com