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What happens when gay rugby players on the same team have an affair?

What happens when gay rugby players on the same team have an affair?

In From The Side – Independent gay rugby feature film | Photo: Matt Carter

I’m making a film about gay rugby players in a way no-one else can. In part, because it’s inspired by my own experience.

As a gay filmmaker, I’ve always believed that we need more forward thinking cinema.

There will undoubtedly come a time in the very near future where acceptance over sexuality will become normality and homophobia will mostly be a thing of the past.

So now is the time to reflect the start of what hopefully will be a rapidly approaching change. Indeed, we could even bring it about faster.

Even if the story, is about an affair.

In From The Side – Independent gay rugby feature film | Photo: Matt Carter
In From The Side – Independent gay rugby feature film | Photo: Matt Carter

Gay cinema is often guilty of reducing its gay characters’ central conflicts. Ones that simply focus on the struggles over their sexuality.

Whilst these stories are important and should be told, we also need stories that go beyond ‘coming out angst.’

Stories that could become our own modern-day myths. Stories that illuminate the complexities of our modern desires and lives.

I felt that any film project I undertook that explores gay subject matter should have this philosophy. In searching for a great story that might do this, ironically, I found it in the world of gay rugby.

Inspired to create a new age of cinema – by my gay rugby team

For last five years, I’ve been a member of the Kings Cross Steelers, a gay and inclusive Rugby club in London.

In the time since joining, I’ve met a wonderfully diverse set of people, played in several international tournaments and built great friendships.

The rugby world is incredibly progressive and often reminds you how much the world has changed.

But more importantly, it introduced me to an amazingly unique and rich culture that lends itself perfectly to being explored on the big screen.

In a Rugby club, you spend a large amount of time with the same group of people, sometimes with very different personalities and this is a treasure trove of interesting drama to mine for storytelling.

The challenge, however, was to make a story that would appeal to anyone. Not just people who were familiar with the sporting world.

Gay rugby group London Steelers | Photo: Matt Carter
Gay rugby group Kings Cross Steelers Rugby Club | Photo: Matt Carter

But very early on, everyone working on this project wanted to make sure homophobia would not feature in this story. Our characters would already be comfortable with their sexualities.

Not only did this free us up creatively, but also allowed us to explore new ground without being constrained and burdened by the often easy and default central conflict option of sexuality angst.

It forced us to come up with fully three-dimensional characters with nuanced and complex flaws, desires and objectives.

In From The Side – Independent gay rugby feature film | Photo: Matt Carter
In From The Side – Independent gay rugby feature film | Photo: Matt Carter

The story of the adulterous love affair is partly inspired by real events

The essential narrative core became an adulterous love affair between two members of our fictional rugby club.

The drama, is that both men are already in relationships.

It explores both the pitfalls and necessities of monogamy but also how different relationships affect a wider social group of close-knit men.

I have a personal connection to this concept too. It’s based on something that happened to me.

Gay rugby group London Steelers sponsored by the Two Brewers
Gay rugby group Kings Cross Steelers Rugby Club | Photo: Matt Carter

I myself had once been involved in a similar romantic situation with a fellow club member and it inspired the writing process in creating our fictional tale.

Layered with stories of drama and conflict from other gay rugby clubs, we’ve fleshed out a classical story of forbidden love that could be universally relatable.

After some initial investment, we’re running a Kickstarter campaign to fill the funding gap. You can support us here.

Follow Matt Carter on Twitter: @MattCarterVFX

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