#AQFFinMorgantown – Meet the Director
Travis Mathews grew up in rural Ohio. He has been an active director, screenwriter, editor, and producer since 2000, most notably directing the docufiction Interior. Leather Bar. alongside actor and director James Franco. Mathews’s work focuses on gay male intimacy and masculinity — two themes he particularly explores in Discreet, which will be screened at #AQFFinMorgantown on April 29.
Mathews conceived Discreet while driving around central Texas in a borrowed van in the summer of 2015. He found himself listening to the far right talking heads he’d heard as a child in Ohio on the AM dial — by 2015, their words had become far more urgent and ready for action.
From there, he began to investigate gay life in the midst of these sounds on the airwaves. Says Mathews,
“In Texas towns, both big and small, I turned on gay hookup apps like Grindr and Hornet to see how this translated among locals. I expected to find closeted guys on the DL, but I wasn’t prepared for the degree of racism, internalized homophobia, and the general fear of being seen, that was rampant.”
This fear of being seen went beyond the hypothetical — Mathews says many of the profiles he encountered were labeled discreet, with users covering their faces in photos with black boxes, or even posting just anonymous torsos. “I saw how shame fed the darkness,” Mathews says, “Amplifying mythologized ideas of what a real man should be. Anecdotally, I’d say that he’s ruggedly masculine, white, and straight, preferably a country boy.”
Discreet is a cautionary tale of what discretion in its many forms can bring. We are so overjoyed to bring Travis Mathews to Morgantown this spring.
Want to hear Travis talk more about Discreet? Come see us in Morgantown on April 29, 2017. Tickets are available here.