Pulse Nightclub Killings the Backdrop for ‘Disarm Hate’

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Director Brudek

Following the 2016 Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando that took 49 lives, the film “Dark Hate” seeks to create awareness about gun violence against the LGBTQ+ community.

“Our journey was not about taking away people’s guns,” says cast member Ashlee Marie Preston, a trans activist and media personality, “it was about removing the barriers that obstruct their ability to recognize our humanity.”

Directed by Julianna Brudek and narrated by veteran actor Harvey Fierstein, the film chronicles nine diverse LGBTQ+ activists who came together after the Pulse killings to join a crusade started by activist Jason P. Hayes, a New Jersey hairdresser.

Without political experience, Hayes built a national rally to demand LGBTQ+ equal rights, fight the NRA, and challenge America’s obsession with guns.

“I wanted to bring awareness to how disproportionately gun violence has affected the less privileged members of our community,” said Brudek, a Burbank resident.

“Two weeks before Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered, Rita Hester, a trans woman of color, was murdered, and the media buried the story. I did not want that to happen to the Hispanic LGBTQs that lost their lives at Pulse Nightclub,” she said. “As a community, we must remember the hate crimes, and work together to stop the violence perpetrated on each one of us.”

Beginning as a road trip, making the film turned into so much more of a journey than anyone could have expected. Exploring their similarities and differences, the group develops a life-changing bond as they visit prominent sites of gun violence that have affected LGBTQ+ people nationwide.

This common ground opens discussions between the travelers and the people they meet along the way, that look to alleviate these horrific hate crimes and bring a better understanding for all.

“The threat of gun violence is intersectional. When someone’s identity overlaps with multiple marginalized groups, their risk is compounded,” said Preston, who’s also an executive producer on the film. “Black Americans are 10 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than white Americans. Being a woman and trans exacerbates those odds.”

“Disarm Hate” focuses on “the discriminatory culture within America that informs the violence marginalized communities face,” Preston continued. “If we are ever to eradicate gun violence, we must interrogate the attitudes and beliefs that fan the flames of hate.”

The documentary probes the emotional journey of each of the activists, who squabble, laugh, cry, and even fall in love throughout their trip. It also examines opposing views and counterpoints to their calls for gun reform from a pro-gun perspective, as they visit a shooting range and engage with a member of the Pink Pistols, a pro-gun LGBTQ+ group.

Harvey Fierstein, the narrator, summed up with, “Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”

“Disarm Hate” is available on multiple streaming platforms including Amazon Prime Video, FandangoNOW, Google Play/You Tube Rentals, InDemand (Comcast & Cox), Microsoft Store, and Vudu. Also follow on Facebook.

Vic Gerami is a noted journalist, a columnist and the host and producer of the prime-time radio show, “The Blunt Post with Vic” on Independent Radio KPFK 90.7 FM (Pacifica Network). The program covers breaking and headline news, politics, and current events. Guests on the show have included Congressmembers Adam Schiff, Jackie Speier, Tony Cardenas, Maxine Waters, Judy Chu, Jim Costa, Norma Torres, Grace Napolitano, Raul Ruiz, Barbara Lee and Linda Sanchez, as well as former presidential candidate Marianne Williamson. Gerami began in the media industry at Frontiers Magazine, followed by positions at LA Weekly and Voice Media Group. Gerami was twice selected as a finalist in the Los Angeles Press Club’s National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards “Columnist of the Year” category in 2017 and 2019, His celebrity Q&A column, ‘10 Questions with Vic‘ is internationally syndicated, and featured interviews with Melissa Etheridge, Paula Abdul, Dan Reynolds (Imagine Dragons), Kathy Griffin, Matthew Modine, Laverne Cox, and Marianne Williamson. In July 2020, Gerami was announced as a finalist in 7 categories for the Los Angeles Press Club’s 62nd Annual Southern California Journalism Awards.

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