Gay Chorus Deep South is a documentary film directed by David Charles Rodrigues. The film follows the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir as they embark on a tour of America’s Deep South.
When Tim Seelig came out as homosexual, he was married and had two children. But that all changed as he lost his family, his home and was fired from his church. Since then, he has led a successful career as a choir conductor, which then introduced him to work for the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus is one of the world’s largest male choruses which was formed in 1978 and currently has over 300 voices.
As a response to the discriminatory anti-LGBTQI+ laws in the deep south, the choir decide to go on tour to face what is perhaps going to be their harshest critics as they will be performing in America’s ‘Bible Belt’ which includes performances in Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama and The Carolinas. But the choir is hopeful that they can unite people with the power of music and can spread acceptance to communities and individuals that are confronting intolerance.
The story is told by showing footage of the choir practising and interviews with Tim Seelig and the members of the choir, sharing their stories and experiences of discrimination as well as opinions from audience members about having a concert that they can go to where they feel accepted.
The film is full of special moments such as one of the choir members who has cancer and whose father had once said that he wished his son had never been born. But the man goes to a concert to watch his son perform and enjoys the show, which causes a reconciliation of sorts between father and son. Another enjoyable moment is when Tim Seelig makes an appearance on a radio show to promote the upcoming concerts and he is expecting the worst but is pleasantly surprised when the hosts are not only supportive of the concerts but that they advocate peace and understanding.
It is heartbreaking to hear how much Tim Seelig’s life was turned upside down when he eventually came out, but it is also inspiring, as even though it was a dark time and he lost everything, he was able to turn his life around. Seelig now leads a choir with over 300 people and is also an equal rights activist.
Gay Chorus Deep South has been shown at several film festivals and won an Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival and it will be shown in Australia as part of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival which opens on the 12th of March.
For more information on the Melbourne Queer Film Festival and to book tickets, visit: https://mqff.com.au