Usually when we hear a film-school student has made a documentary, we get nervous that we’ll have to watch it. But Alden Peters, a film student at New York University’s Tisch School of the Art, has us seriously intrigued with his newest work, Coming Out—a film documenting his coming-out process to friends and family.
But rather than just recap the event, Peters recorded his coming out to various people, and then revisited them a year later to see how they had digested the news. Peters is nearly done with Coming Out, thanks in no small part to a successful $20,000 Kickstarter campaign that recently ended.
So what inspired this unique film? “As I was going through [coming out], one of the things I was really looking at was YouTube videos of people coming out,” Peters told Mashable. “I wanted to see more than that—more than just hearing somebody tell a story. I wanted to know what it was like.”
Was it bizarre schlepping a film crew along when Peters came out to Mom and Dad? “[My family] didn’t really suspect too much until I started getting a little intense, I guess — when they realized I had something to tell them,” he says. “Then, immediately after I came out to them, their initial reaction was, ’Why are you filming this as you’re telling us?'”
Nowadays, coming out isn’t always an in-person process, so in addition to filming his parents, friends and classmates, Peters addressed the issue of cyberbullying by having actors read real homophobic tweets and updates. His focus, he says, was to look at how the added element of the Internet affects being closeted or out: “Being anonymous on the Internet is positive in some ways,” he concedes. “You can ask questions and be more honest than you would be normally, without having to connect with an identity. But that has the flip side of people being so horribly vicious online — just because they can.”