Artist Spotlight: Ashley D. Ellis and Porcha Evans

Filmmakers Take a Multidimensional Discourse Approach to LGBT Identity Struggles in Upcoming Short Film, Fixed
By Judith Fisher, Policy Fellow

In a highly commendable film effort, Director Ashley D. Ellis and Writer/Executive Producer Porcha Evans present Fixed, a film that follows the story of the mysterious circumstances leading to the death of a young man which are brought to light from an unexpected source after his funeral. In recent years, there have been too many stories involving gay teens and young adults taking their lives because they suffered in silence.

Fixed is a unique film owing to the artistically designed look into the extremely secretive life of a closeted African-American man pressured to fit into an unnatural role based on religious and social standards. The title Fixed comes from final line where the Protagonist is praying to be “fixed” because his spirit has been so intrinsically broken by the people he loves most, between his upbringing and his inability to continue assimilating. This short seeks to give the audience a multidimensional look into his internal struggles, beginning on the day of his funeral and using flashbacks featuring both non-LGBT and LGBT perspectives to “fill in the blanks.”

The goal of this film as explained by Evans is a promotion and pursuit of “…communication and acceptance to avoid tragedies such as the one highlighted in our film.” By presenting the experience of this young man and the unfortunate reality now faced by the loved ones he’s left behind, the audience is encouraged to engage in critical dialogue about ways in which his death might have been avoided.

Ellis, who has a prodigious passion for addressing issues pertaining to human rights, social justice and conservation, has a filmmaking history known for their great attempts towards exposing the world’s problems and projecting solutions. The University of Southern California (USC) graduate completed her latest short film (If I Had a Son) earlier in the year, she dove into directing Fixed in September.

Evans, also a USC graduate, discusses the film through a societal contribution lens, saying that she wants her work “…to make people think deeply about who they are and how they contribute to our society. I don’t think we realize how much power we truly have to create change.” She speaks on both media related and personal influences – a close friend of hers who is torn between his devotion to his family and religion and his sexuality – as the driving forces behind the importance of this work. For her jump from screenplay to film, Evans’ personal goal is for her friend and others in similar situations to know that they are not alone and to avoid the unfortunate end of the main character in Fixed.

With social reform and equality movements on the rise, Fixed gives way to a new voice promoting social justice and community involvement. Evans states that, “I’m starting my film career off with Fixed because the message is so necessary. I have several unrelated projects that are on hold because I felt the subject matter of this film needed to be presented as soon as possible. Unfortunately, during the research process, I found numerous articles detailing the untimely deaths of several gay teens and young adults that were simply heartbreaking. In speaking with several cast members during production, I heard stories about young men taking their lives because they were ashamed to be who they really are. I feel like everyone should be able to live and love freely, but based on the stories that I continue to hear and the personal struggle of my friend, in many instances, that isn’t the case and to me, this is unacceptable. No one should be persecuted for who they are or who they love.”  Each person involved with this project possesses an innate desire to create and share art that furthers social acceptance of all people.

Now in post-production, Ellis and Evans have launched a Seed&Spark campaign to acquire monetary contributions that will aid in the completion of this “labor of love.” To learn more about the film, get updates on film progression, or to make a donation to this labor of love, visit seedandspark.com/studio/fixed.

The Center for Black Equity (CBE) is dedicated to promoting social equity works like Fixed and the creative forces behind them. As an integral part of our focus areas, CBE is committed bridging opportunities for projects like Fixed and community members pursuing social change, political and cultural community engagement, and social equity.  For more information on promoting a social equity themed project or a community artist, please contact us at m.hinson@centerforblackequity.org.

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