Today’s Must See: Alfredo’s Fire

“It was the Italian Stonewall, absolutely, the Italian Stonewall…”

 

About The Film

ALFREDO’S FIRE is a powerful and timely documentary that tells the forgotten story of Alfredo Ormando, a gay Italian writer who set himself on fire at the Vatican to protest the Church’s condemnation of homosexuality.

As Pope Benedict XVI resigns this month, the time is ripe for dialogue aimed at building a more open and inclusive Church, in the hope that no more lives are extinguished by the effects of religious intolerance.

With successful backing, the film will be finished in the next few months. We expect it to premiere in a major film festival in the U.S. and in conjunction with Italy’s National Pride celebration, this year in Alfredo’s hometown of Palermo.

For more information about the project visit: www.alfredosfire.com

Alfredo’s Story

On January 13, 1998 Alfredo Ormando, a 39-year old Italian writer, arrived in Rome just as the sun was rising. After a long journey from his native Sicily, he found his way to the empty plaza of St. Peter’s Square and, facing the entrance to the Basilica, knelt down as if to pray. He made a rapid hand gesture and suddenly was engulfed in flames. Before the Church and God, Alfredo Ormando had lit himself on fire.

Not long afterwards, and overlooking the spot where Alfredo had set himself aflame, Pope John Paul declared that “homosexual acts are against the laws of nature.” Pope Benedict XVI has even more vehemently advanced anti-gay rhetoric and policies.

Shaped by Alfredo’s manuscripts and letters, as well as rich cinematography, and provocative interviews with Alfredo’s friends, family and intimate companions, our film reveals Alfredo’s longing and the struggle to reconcile his own faith and sexuality.

My Story

As someone who has similarly struggled to reconcile his sexuality and spirituality, I became obsessed with Alfredo’s story and his choice of fire. Alfredo’s gesture was simultaneously a self-annihilation, an expression of pent-up passion and rage, a communion with God, and a dramatic “coming out.”

When Alfredo lit himself on fire at the Vatican, he hoped that his protest would be witnessed everywhere. Instead, his story was silenced by the Church and downplayed by the media. In death, as in life, he was made invisible. With our film, I want his light to reach millions worldwide. It is a flame by which to remember, witness, and come out of the dark.

Watch the video here.

States Of Union: A Project Worth Supporting

Have you ever thought of an idea that would make a good project, but maybe just didn’t have the wherewithal, the resources or the drive to see it through? Or have you ever seen something totally engaging that you knew you could wholeheartedly support?

Recently I’ve come across something that I love, both in idea and in practice, and I would like you to take a look with me….

Alix Smith is a brilliant photographer who has received recognition for her art. But she has recently decided to change things up. More specifically, she has chosen to document non-traditional, same-sex families in traditional, beautiful ways. “I wanted to show people the beauty of all families, that there’s nothing to be afraid of,” she told me.

And she does it beautifully. Not only that, she has a vision.

I asked her to share it with you:

States of Union is a photographic project that documents gay and lesbian couples and families in the style of the classic masterpieces. As a lesbian I conceived of this project to fill the void I experienced in my own coming out process – I had no paradigms, no role models, no historical examples, and no contemporary exemplars of what my family might look like.

In order to truly do justice to the subject matter and show the diversity represented in our community I am currently raising funds to facilitate travel to photograph families from states that are not traditionally perceived as gay-friendly (e.g, New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma,  Alabama, Alaska, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Georgia, Virginia, Wyoming, and Washington)

The more the world is permeated with images of loving and committed same-sex couples and families, the harder it will be for same-sex relationships to be considered “other.

Your donation will help give these families a voice. Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing site, meaning if I don’t reach my entire goal before the deadline on JUNE 14TH AT 8PM I will not receive any of the funding.

To support this project go to: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/alixsmith/states-of-union-portraits-of-same-sex-families

Please email, blog or tweet this!  Each donation level has an accompanying reward  No amount is insignificant – even $5 will bring me closer to the kickstarter goal.”

I am so in. Made a pledge, in fact.

I’d like you to consider it, too. If nothing else, to help erase fear and bring a greater awareness of truth and beauty to our country- and to the world.