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A new indie film that explores gay family-building: The Mattachine Family

Kevin Patterson recently had the unique opportunity to sit down with Andrew Vallentine, the co-writer and director of “The Mattachine Family.”

As a gay dad himself, Vallentine shared the profound personal and historical inspiration
behind the film. “The Mattachine Family” explores the emotional and complex journey of Thomas
(played by Nico Tortorella) and Oscar (played by Juan Pablo Di Pace). The couple’s relationship is tested when their first foster child returns to his birthmother, prompting a deep reflection on what it truly means to build a family.

Andy (left) and Danny (right) Vallentine, director and writers of The Mattachine Family

Vallentine opened up about the origins of the film, saying, “The Mattachine Family is an intensely personal story that was born out of real conversations my husband and I had around fatherhood and what it looks like for two gay men. When we started the journey of telling this story, I could not have expected the ways it would come to parallel my own life over the coming years.”

The film not only explores the personal trials and tribulations faced by gay dads but also pays homage to a pivotal moment in LGBTQ+ history. “I hope viewers will celebrate the progress we’ve made and appreciate the journey of the LGBTQ+ community, from the days of the original Mattachine Society, one of the first gay rights organizations in the United States in the 1950s, to our more visible presence today,” Vallentine explained. “There have always been gay families, and with more gay parents represented than ever before, this film uniquely explores their life choices. It’s a celebration of how far we’ve come and the deep connections we’ve made as a chosen family.”

Reflecting on his own experiences as a gay dad, Vallentine shared both the joys and challenges he faced, particularly during a recent trip abroad with his young daughter, which tested all their limits on a long airplane ride. This real-life experience emphasizes his message about the common misperceptions and heightened standards gay parents often contend with: “For many gay dads, the
fear of what other people think about us as parents is real. Are people thinking we’re terrible gay dads if our kids are screaming on a plane? We almost must be ‘better’ to prove that we ‘deserve’ to be parents.” 

Juan Pablo Di Pace and Nico Tortorella in The Mattachine Family

As for his hopes for the film, Vallentine wishes it to be a source of inspiration and recognition for the strides made by the LGBTQ+ community. His advice to gay dads either considering or just starting their path to fatherhood is both simple and profound: “If you are thinking about becoming a gay dad, do it! It’s not easy, but it will add joy. It’s more than the Instagram ‘perfect gay dad.’ It will test your relationship. But enjoy every moment of it because life is so short, and it goes so fast.”

Starting on June 4, 2024, the “The Mattachine Family” became available on most digital
platforms, with a Blue-Ray release and access on global services following

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