SXSW Film Panel: Ellen Page & Ian Daniel Keynote

Duo discuss their new doc show Gaycation

“You’re the kind of people who change the world,” declared an audience member at the end of Saturday morning’s keynote. The “you” being Ellen Page and Ian Daniel: producers, creators, and stars of Viceland’s Gaycation.

Ellen Page at SXSW (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Their four-part docu-series follows them through four countries to examine the worlds of LGBTQ communities across the globe.

The pair, best friends for eight years, openly discussed the privilege they carried as white, cisgender queers to make Gaycation – such as the ability to pass through airport security with ease, which many transgender folks do not have. Even in sometimes unnerving interviews (with people who openly brag about killing LGBTQ people), Page and Daniel agreed – they weren't thinking about themselves.

“We weren't really scared,” said Daniel. “We had protection. But this one guy [in Brazil] had an energy I'd never experienced before. Not to be dramatic, but it felt evil.”

“When he learned we were gay, he stopped looking us in the eye,” added the X-Men star, who came out publicly in 2014. “That's what we wanted to do though, show that, 'Hey, this exists.'”

Moderated by NPR journalist Laura Sydell, the inevitable topic on being an out lesbian in Hollywood was also broached. Toward the end of the keynote, Sydell asked Page if the actress noticed a difference in how she was treated and roles she’s been offered since coming out.

“It's really impossibly hard for me to know. I'm not in those rooms,” Page responded. “And I'm absolutely not focusing on it. Being in the closet hurt my career way more ... I'm so in love with what I do again.”

Page did admit, though, that she does hear a lot of “Oh, you're doing another gay film?”

“But you would never bring that up with a straight person!” she pointed out. “‘Oh, you're playing another straight person again?’ And that's why you can't just be telling stories about one group of people.”

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SXSW 2016, SXSW Film 2016, Ellen Page, Ian Daniel, Gaycation, Viceland

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