‘Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank,’ a documentary about the life and times of the first openly gay US congressman to get legally married will premier at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival on 27 April.
The film has been executive produced by actor Alec Baldwin who has called the retired Democratic Representative from Massachusetts ‘a personal hero of mine.’
‘His legacy in Congress – and his historic importance as the first openly gay and married Congressman – is important for our country,’ Baldwin said in a statement.
Along with Frank’s involvement with the film, the filmmakers also interviewed Jim Ready, Hank Paulson, Mike Barnicle, Lance Black, Nancy Pelosi, Alan Simpson, Eliot Spitzer, Steve Elmendorf, Norm Ornstein, Spencer Bachus, Bethany McLean, Bill Press, Hastings Wyman, Charlie Halpern, Mike Oxley, Neil Barofsky, Maxine Waters and Jim Segel for the project.
Baldwin, a prominent Hollywood supporter of gay rights, has been trying to repair his relations with the LGBTI community after he called a paparazzo who had been harassing his wife and baby a homophobic slur in November last year.
He compounded the problem in February in an article trying to explain himself in which he referred to a transgender man as an ‘F to M tranny’ – not understanding that this was an offensive term.
Frank told The Daily Beast that if Baldwin was trying to use his association with the film to rebuild his reputation with the LGBTI people he didn’t have a problem with that.
‘One of the things this does for him is give him a chance to reinforce his argument that he is not homophobic and in fact has had a pretty good record on LGBT issues,’ Frank said.
Baldwin will hold a Q&A session with Frank as part of the screening.
‘I will say that agreeing to be interviewed by someone is not a mark of approval. I’ve been interviewed from time to time by Bill O’Reilly,’ Frank said of the Q&A session.
‘But in Alec’s case, I think he is, in fact, very supportive.’
Frank retired from Congress in January of 2013, electing not to stand for reelection.
He married long time partner Jim Ready on 7 July 2012 – six months before his retirement.