According to director Gabriel Torres, New York City holds "unbearable, terrible" secrets. The biggst one being the abuse of T (a.k.a. Tina or crystal meth) and chemsex parties (read Buzzfeed's frightening tale of ChemSex parties here).
The film, which is seeking full funding, depicts at its center the egnimatic Luca, an attractive, young gay man who’s philosophy for life is to live fast and die young. A talented cast of future superstars pepper the movie like Johnny Beauchamp plays Xavier, an underage kid who recently discovered he is HIV-positive and has decided to die.
The wide array of diversity on display — transgender, gay, tall, short, White, Black, male, and female — represents the LGBTI community and how the meth epidemic is affecting us all. The film is being produced in conjunction with the OASIS Latino LGBTS Wellness Center, a safe space powered by the Latino Commission on AIDS who have been spearheading health and HIV advocacy for the Latinx community for over 25 years.
Plus spoke to Torres, the 20-year-old, gay, Colombian born director, about the film and what he hopes to catpure.
Meth has been called a scourge on the LGBTI community, why did you decide to make a film about it?
I decided to make a film about it after I watched a very close friend lose himself to Meth. Tina is absolutely a scourge on the community. It is also sometimes used as a method to relieve emotional pain. In some cases, it becomes pain is the pretext of sensitive people to use the drug to escape reality. Meth is dangerous, and the way it is used in our community is even more dangerous, we need to explore methods to teach and to restore our community.
How do you hope this film will impact audiences?
I hope it teaches the viewers that even the ones of us who are undergoing the lowest moments of our lives can still see the light at the end of the tunnel. I hope it changes stereotypes, and shows that our community comes in different colors, life styles, and cultures. I hope the audience finds the characters and the movie to be a new perspective on drug use, how its abuse affects someone's life and how empathy and unification is the key to combatting the root of the addiction.
Why do you think so many people in the LGBTI Community have become addicted to the drug?
It temporarily relieves anxiety and allows you to be in your own world without worries. It’s a sensory illusion of being strong, bold, brave and capable. I think sexual, social pressure and media also play a huge part. Most people you meet who are using meth are just looking to forget about something often painful in their life. The drug creates a sense of invulnerability. Suddenly it is only about you, your instincts and pleasures. It’s as if a hypnotic mermaid lured you to the deepest depths of the ocean, which may seem beautiful at first, but will surely lead you to drown.
The cast and characters are very inclusive in terms of representation (trans, Black, Latinx, etc.), why was this so important?
It's time we see each other as the diverse rainbow that we are. The movie is not only about meth, it is about human beings making bad decisions. The inclusion of diversity is important for the audience to understand the truth about ourselves and the truth about how others see us.
Do you feel like this has impacted the Latinx community disproportionately?
No. It is commonly disproportionately correlated with certain cultural backgrounds. Meth use is not specific to the gay, poor, rich, Latino, or any specific community. Sadly, drugs will always be correlated with communities who often hew close to social violence. I think is a cultural problem and a lack of education about the subject. It’s easy for the general public to develop false perceptions that they believe to be true, which leads to misunderstanding and prejudice.
The sex parties the characters in T-Time engage in are explicit, but sexy. You address the correlation between HIV and crystal use, but you definitely toe a fine line between romanticizing it and making it frightening. Was that a conscious choice?
Yes. But it’s because I depict it in a way you don't expect it. I am I’m hoping the audience falls in love with the characters and the crazy mistakes they are making, and hoping they can see them as more than gay, HIV-positive, trans, black, white, Latino, or junkies — I’m hoping they’re seen as fully developed humans, that you feel empathy and not be judged, as they try to find a little light as they attempt to emerge from the darkness in their world.
Watch the T-Time trailer below: