Discover the incredible world of gay rugby with this exciting upcoming feature
The latest project from filmmaker Matt Carter is In From The Side.
The film explores the connections that can occur within a large group of men in a hyper-masculine team sports environment, illuminating the very real emotional tensions and pressures this can create. Team spirit, loyalties, camaraderie and the support the players have for one-another both on and off the pitch are tested against the darker and more competitive undertones, backstabbing and betrayal rife in this environment.
I caught up with Matt Carter for an update on how the production is shaping up.
What led you to join the Kings Cross Steelers Rugby club?
Completely by chance, really. It was five years ago – I’d heard about the Steelers, and knew a few members already, when a friend asked if I’d go along for a session with him. I’d played rugby very briefly when in school, but it wasn’t anything I’d thought I would have gotten back into again.
We attended a few training sessions together, and it was quite daunting at first. I wasn’t sure if it was really for me, but Tim Sullivan – the club chairman at the time – took me to one side, and with his kind words of encouragement, convinced me to stick at it, I’ll never forget it.
Five years later, here I am. It’s been an incredible ride with only a small number of injuries along the way.
Will your teammates be able to recognise themselves on screen?
No. The rugby club featured in the story is a fictional one, along with all of its characters – they aren’t based on anyone from real life or people from my rugby club.
It was important to make a story that gives a generalised idea of what this world is like in a way that someone from any rugby club could relate to the characters and story. Equally, anyone not familiar with rugby would get a good understanding of what all gay rugby clubs are like from watching the film. Basing it on specific real people or my own club wouldn’t really be useful in achieving this aim, plus I’m sure it would probably cause a bit of a stir.
You’re in the fund-raising phase of production. Why did you opt for a Kickstarter to source funding?
We’d seen a few other projects have success with Kickstarter, and we thought it sounded like a good idea to try to raise a portion of our budget. There’s a massive rugby and gay rugby following around the world – people that might be interested in seeing a project like ours come to fruition – it made sense to tap into that and give people the opportunity to be a part of the project through their contribution. Equally, the same goes for the LGBTQ community, those who are interested in seeing a break from dark depressing gay cinema and want to vote with their wallets to support something different.
Any thoughts on casting? Is this the role that could win Russell Tovey an Oscar?
We’re in the process of casting at the moment, but there are plenty of juicy roles and complex characters in the film for actors to sink their teeth into and explore. Definitely not your usual run-of-the-mill gay characters!
Could In From The Side be the film that puts gay rugby on the map?
I definitely hope it helps in raising the awareness of gay rugby in the public eye, and the great work that the International Gay Rugby community do for the sport. It’s a world that has given me many wonderful life experiences. Perhaps the film might inspire more people to join or support their local rugby clubs and give the sport a try.