In case you were distracted by all the other political news going on given that this US Presidential election is more explosive than ever before (thanks Trump!) you should know that any time a major national political story takes over mainstream media coverage, some states use this as a time to start pushing discriminatory laws on the sly. Along with the usual slew of anti-abortion bills being pushed, there have been a number of supposed “Religious freedom” bills being passed that thankfully have not gone unnoticed and in fact been talked about quite a bit on social media.
Mississippi and North Carolina are the most prominent states that have passed laws to protect religious freedoms, while giving license to discriminate against the LGBT community. There has been severe backlash, with major businesses pulling out of the states in response to these laws. Moving away from the political aspect of this issue, the questions for us is this: why are people still so afraid and uninformed about the LGBT community?
Why is being gay or lesbian a threat to being conservative? If all the LGBT community wants is to be able to love and marry their partners, why do some heterosexual groups find this so offensive? And more importantly, what will it take to create empathy and for religious communities to put themselves in the shoes of the minority group which actually IS being persecuted?
We may never find the answer politically, but one film has made it very easy to see what the world would look like if discrimination was reversed. Indie film ‘Love Is All You Need?’ by lauded director Kim Rocco Shields follows the story of characters who live in a society where being heterosexual is a taboo, and being homosexual is the norm.
The story follows the struggles of a heterosexual couple (played by Briana Evigan and Tyler Blackburn) who have to keep their love a secret in case they are “outed” by society. There are a number of scenarios, including a teacher (played by Jeremy Sisto) whose job is on the line for openly being tolerant of heterosexual behavior, and an 11 year-old-girl resorting to drastic measures after being cyber bullied and verbally abused because of her heterosexual status.
It is a MAJOR eye-opening commentary speaking to exactly what is happening across America right now, and we knew this was something we wanted to share with our readers in the hope it will spark discussions. We had the chance to chat with one of the ‘Love Is All You Need?’ young stars, actress Ava Allan, about her view on this film and why she takes the issue of bullying and discrimination very seriously.
You began your career in the entertainment industry at a very young age, what was your first job?
Well it depends whether you’re asking about my modeling or acting career! For my modeling career the first thing I booked was an ad for a Disney Catalog at the age of 5. It was a picture of me modeling a sleeping bag for ‘The Incredibles’ For my acting career I booked my first commercial at 6 and it was an orthodontics commercial.
Aside from guest roles on shows such as ‘Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior’ and ‘The Middle’, your big screen debut was ‘Love Is All You Need?’ which focuses on the topic of stigma and discrimination toward the LGBT community (with a twist!). What was it like being part of a project like this?
Its amazing and I really feel so honored to be apart of a film the spreads such an important message. This film has the power to change people’s minds,beliefs and opinions. Not only is this just a movie, but it is a movie that is causing a movement so we like to call it a “moviement”.
The twist in this film is that we are seeing a kind of alternative universe, where is it seen as unusual to be straight, and being gay or lesbian is the norm. How do you think flipping the narrative on this topic will create empathy in people who don’t agree with same sex marriage or partnerships?
I think having this major twist in the film will definitely make people think and it really has people who are straight walk in a homosexuals’ shoes. This film really shows and explains to the viewers that no one should be treated differently based on who they love. Also this film shows the tremendous effects of bullying, so I think people will have a better understanding of how powerful bullies can be and how their actions/words really affect the person their picking on.
Given there is so much attention on this issue during this election cycle, and it has been a topic of discussion over the past year with the legalization of same sex marriage, what do you think will be the core message viewers will take away from this film?
The core takeaway from this film is that love is love and any sort of intolerance to any diversity is not only hurtful to the individual, but to the entire society as a whole.
Every generation has their own set of social issues that they have to deal with. What are some of the major issues you see among your teen peers that are important?
I think today with teens one of the major issues is that teens judge someone so quickly based on appearance. Teens immediately look at what another kid is wearing or doing and they are very quick to judge, especially over social media. So I think in today’s society teens need to be more careful with their words and they need to not be so quick to judge.
You can keep up with Ava’s work on her Youtube Channel and Twitter. To find out more about ‘Love Is All You Need?’ visit the website, and see where it is screening next.