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Interview With Daniel Maggio Winner of Cinefern Film Award and Competition

The Parlor with Jeff + Cosgrove a Film Directed by Daniel Maggio won Best LGBT Films award at Cinefern Film Award and Competition's December 2020.

The Parlor with Jeff + Cosgrove Poster

The Film is about "The Parlor" is an oral storytelling project featuring Jeff and Cosgrove (stars of the HUMP! Fest short film "The Glory Hole"). After 26 years of partnership, these elderly gay men have dozens of intimate, raw, hilarious and touching stories from their lives. As Cosgrove says, "When making life decisions, we always choose the more interesting story."

Residing in Cathedral City, Jeff and Cosgrove have turned their living room into the parlor: part cozy hangout spot, part living museum. Hundreds of photos cover the walls, representing different chapters of their relationship. They cover topics ranging from commitment, celebrity run-ins, living with HIV, pride, and what it means to be an aging queer today.

This is the first episode of the series, telling the story of their historic wedding day at San Francisco City Hall on June 28th, 2013.

The Parlor was developed by Marty Fishman Productions (Daniel Maggio, Myles Gilbert, Wesley Houdyshell, Stephen Siemens). The production company has a long history working with Cosgrove as an actor. In 2010, Daniel and Myles cast Cosgrove in a short film at SJSU called Punch Line, a dark comedy set in a clown college. Over the past decade, the Marty Fishman team has produced a feature film musical, a historical drama, a miniseries and half a dozen short films (including The Glory Hole). And Yes! Cosgrove has acted in many of these projects. The creative team behind The Parlor resemble family members to Jeff and Cosgrove more than just a film crew. This web series was birthed from many late nights and weekend visits, sharing stories, and wanting to capture them with reverence.

Interview With Daniel Maggio

Q: What is the basic Idea Behind the film?

Daniel Maggio: Our friends Jeff and Cosgrove have always been inspirations to us. They’ve been together for almost 30 years, survived the AIDS epidemic and are just 2 of the coolest guys you’ll ever meet. Cosgrove has this saying, “When making life decisions, always choose the best story.” They have definitely lived that mantra and have the stories to back it up. We filmed “The Glory Hole” in 2014, their true life love-at-first-site story, and submitted it to Dan Savage’s HUMP! Film Festival. It won the top prize and went on to play at dozens of LGBT film festivals around the world. Many people at screenings have come up to Jeff and Cosgrove and said they met their partner in a similar way. Ever since, we’ve wanted to capture more of their stories on film and “The Parlor” is that realization.

Q: How do you handle the Pre-Production, and Post Production?

Daniel Maggio: Pre-Production for this particular project included a lot of hanging out with Jeff and Cosgrove, making a list of their stories and decided which ones to film. There are many stories that we weren’t able to film for this first season. A big thing we kept in mind when picking stories was media (video, pictures, et cetera). If we had some sort of visual aid, then we felt the story would be more engaging as a video. Post-Production was a somewhat slow process as the first interviews were shot in early 2019 and the final series was completed in Summer of 2020. This can definitely happen when projects are self-financed and produced, you have the luxury of time to make sure it’s done right, but life can get in the way of a timely completion.

Q: What do you do to stay calm during Production of the film?

Daniel Maggio: Everyone we worked with are basically family. So I found it very easy to stay calm on this set. In general, staying calm is about having a plan. The more work you’ve done before you get to set, the less stressful the day will be.

Q: What sort of stories excites you?

Daniel Maggio: The best stories are nuanced. They don’t have a clear moral compass and present the characters with tough choices to make. It’s really rare to watch a movie and genuinely ask yourself. “What would I do if I were in their shoes?” Watching characters make decisions is one of the most powerful things in cinema. I hope to one day capture a truly complex and entertaining decision on film.

Q: Do you think all the good stories have already been made into a movie?

Daniel Maggio: No way. Human beings have an amazing ability to create, re-invent and riff. There are only 12 notes, yet people continue to make exciting and original music. I feel the same way about film.

Q: While casting for your film you prefer to cast a well known face or any new face which fit the character?

Daniel Maggio: Well, when you are making an independent film, you don’t have the luxury of familiar faces that might draw in a cold audience. So your selling point is the concept or story. I love working with repeat actors, building off of the relationship. I’ve worked with Cosgrove many times before and he is the one actor who has been in almost everything I’ve made. I can always find a role for Cosgrove.

Q: What is the most enjoyable thing about Production of the film?

Daniel Maggio: I just love hanging out with Jeff and Cosgrove, so the fact that we combined my passion for hearing their stories and passion for filmmaking into one experience was amazing. I wish it could always be like this!

Q: What is the best possible way to promote your film when you are on a tight budget?

Daniel Maggio: On an independent level, I think it’s great to involve as many people as possible. One, it makes the film better and more interesting to have the variety of people and talent. Two, you now have a lot of really invested people in the film’s success because they were apart of it. They will help promote with you.

Q: When your next film is coming and what is it about?

Daniel Maggio: We recently completed a short film called “Kesi.” It’s a narrative film and a tribute to my recently deceased Mother. It’s a comedy about loss, family and stuffed animals. It’s currently wrapping up its festival run and has played at dozens of festivals so far.

Q: What advice do you want to give to the new and upcoming filmmakers?

Daniel Maggio: Pretty much everyone says this, but just make movies. No one is going to give you permission or a budget, you have to trust your own vision and see it through. Find a subject that you care deeply about and explore it. And start developing collaborative relationships, other people really do make your films better. You can’t really go it alone in film.


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