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Two Little Boys
Written & Directed by: Farbod Khoshtinat
Cast: Trace Talbot, Asa Germann
Synopsis: A boy's secret love for his closeted bully drives him into an unconventional road to confession and its consequences.
Where did the idea for Two Little Boys come from?
The inspiration comes directly from my childhood. When I was 7, I fell in love with my best friend. When our families found out, we were shamed and punished and I never saw my friend again.
Growing up in Iran where homophobia is a societal norm; my adolescence and school days embodied many similar stories of homophobic incidents that stayed deep within my unconscious.
When I decided to write Two Little Boys, the words poured on the paper. It wrote itself in a day, I realized I was longing to talk about this.
How did you cast the film?
Trying to be faithful to the truth in my story, I wanted to have a realistic and confrontational approach to directing as though I'm making a documentary. I used lights available in the location, shot every scene on handheld, avoided makeup etc. and I wanted to have a similar approach to casting as well; It was very important for me to find that truth in my cast.
That was a hard task. The casting became the most rigorous part of our pre-production. We auditioned around 80 candidates within 4 months without avail. But as soon as I received Trace's video audition, I knew I had my Josh.
I immediately drove from Los Angeles to San Francisco to audition him in person. Trace had a long history of being bullied and I could believe his delivery. I could feel the pain in it because it was real.
You grew up making films in Iran, are there parts of Iranian culture you are blending into the US culture with this film?
In my approach to film making, yes; at its heart, it is the Iranian philosophy of film making and its shell, the American craft. Iranian cinema likes to strip an issue to its core, find the 'truth' and look directly in its eyes. The American craft dominates the audience's attention so that the message can be delivered.
Is suffocation a metaphor for anything?
Unconsciously perhaps it is a metaphor for how Tyler tries to bury his truth by cutting the oxygen. Josh is the only reminder of who Tyler really used to be, a reminder of all the emotions, sorrows and shame he experienced for it. He learns, however, that no matter how hard we might try to suppress the truth; it will never go away. It is boiling and like a volcano, it will be unleashed, and the consequences could be dire.
What do you want audiences to take away from this film after seeing it?
Children are so pure and full of love up until we teach them to hate. I wanted to explore this nature of adolescence and how easily a child's character can be shaped by the ugliness of the adult's world. When a child is about to find his/her own identity, that is a very fragile state and we have to be really mindful of our parenting. If we shame them for who they are, they will go on to forever shame themselves. Little seeds of mistreatments that grows up into a forest of hatred, full of consequences.