Losing it in a movie theatre wasn’t the idea that I had in mind when I first imagined what it would be like. I guess we all have had our day dreams about when the time would be right, who we would be with and how it would feel. Some of us probably even planned it. ‘Cause I did. I remember the planning and plotting, orchestrating every step of it: from what I would wear, where we would go to dinner, what we would talk about, and how I would watch for those silent signals, just waiting for the time to be right.
My fear has always been about being accepted—even when I knew how to shield my insecurities behind the clothes my mom bought me and the sharp language I learned from my father. But that is all just on the surface. I mean, I guess it makes my first time even more scary, because….what if it wasn’t right? What if I chose the wrong. The wrong…anything. What if I was left there naked and alone, drenched in the tears of my shame feeling sorry for myself?
It was so hard to be the one who hadn’t done it.
The pressures I put upon myself even stole some of my memories because I was so consumed by this fear of getting it right. I mean, my friends were always so supportive. They wanted what I wanted, but they also knew that I had to learn it all on my own, regardless of their experiences.
I’ve had my chances, 6 to be exact. Each time I’m sure it would have been perfect. I remember them all and in order: Long Island International Film Expo, Central Florida Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, and New Filmmakers Los Angeles…I’m sure each time would have been a winner. Hell, award-winning even! But I alas always crept back into bed alone fearing the worst, fearing the small talk, the opportunist who would take advantage of me, hurt me, abuse me, and leave me all alone when they were done with me.
I would be crushed. And after that there would be no going back. And I didn’t want that. So I stayed away from Long Island, I pretended Austin wasn’t there.
But, My FirstTime was different.
It was on my own terms. I chose the day, the time, the location and most important…who I wanted to be with. I didn’t pretend that it was going to be amazing—because I didn’t know. I didn’t pretend my life would change, I just wanted to do it. No hiding behind my fancy clothes or my words. Just me, facing my fear.
I expected the small talk, I even expected to be taken advantage of…I’ve heard the stories. But I couldn’t expect what happened at the Lowes VII theatre on March 1st, 2013.
My name is Bryan Deehring. I am a film producer. My first time was in a movie theatre. And I was surrounded by those who have always supported me. I sat among my friends and collaborators, Tony Glazer, Summer Crockett Moore, Harris Doran; and as I listened to Johanna Bennett, I realized that I came to New York City never being to a film festival before, and my first time was at the FirstTimeFest, the one place where I felt comfortable being myself. And I saw that I was surrounded by love and support, and all of my fears were nothing but my imagination running wild.
We were all there for the same reason, to celebrate the our FirstTime.
I’ve never thought myself the storyteller. But that changed yesterday. When I sat in the audience watching a screening at FirstTimeFest, listening to Johanna Talk about her vision for this festival, and realizing that I just lost it.
My first time was in New York City, on March 1st, 2013. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The theme of this story was inspired by my first time festival experience, the name of the festival and Sofia Coppola’s words about Virgin Suicides. Thank you Mandy, Johanna, Sofia for the inspiration.
JUNCTION has it’s New York Premiere tonight 8:30pm at Lowes VII in New York City. Follow the Festivities @junction_film @brdeeh.