My journey with Gilbert and Gordon began as so many things these days now begin--while scrolling on the internet. Thinking back, the improbability of the whole thing is stunning. A gay love affair interrupted by world war two, complete with detailed love letters that somehow managed to survive decades only to be discovered and shared with the world. I will never forget the thrill I felt learning about this remarkable story. Later, after I reached out to Mark, the historian who discovered and shared the letters, I would learn that I was one of many interested parties who wished to shepherd this special story to a wider audience. But I would not be intimidated by this. When given the chance, I flew to the tiny town of Oswestry, England to meet with Mark personally and plead my case. As you can probably guess, my passion and persuasiveness won me the right to help tell Gilbert and Gordon’s story. I cannot adequately express the tremendous privilege it has been to be the caretaker of this beautiful story.
Between multiple trips to England to read the actual letters and research the real places mentioned in them and the idle time I have sat with Gordon’s words, wondering about what is known and what was lost to the past, I can say that this story has changed my life in profound ways. Adapting a story is challenging under the best circumstances, but I feel a particularly strong sense of duty to ensure that I am representing their story and words with integrity. In the process of finding the most compelling way to tell this story, I have thought about what it means to tell underrepresented stories and to be inclusive in creating art. I’ve come to realize that telling diverse stories is the reason I do what I do. Storytelling is a powerful tool that can change hearts and minds and I am conscious of my duty to Gilbert and Gordon and all LGBTQ+ people who may recognize something of themselves in this story.
~Andy Vallentine, Director