A southern-born, black gay man goes back home to reconnect with black gay men he has performed on stage for a decade.
“Making Sweet Tea” chronicles the journey of southern-born, black gay researcher and performer E. Patrick Johnson as he travels home to North Carolina to come to terms with his past, and to Georgia, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C. to reconnect with several black gay men he interviewed for his book, Sweet Tea. Johnson transformed that book into several staged plays over the course of a decade, and the film combines footage from his past performances of the men with documentary moments from their lives a decade after the book’s publication.
The film also focuses on Johnson’s life in the south while showing how the men have changed since – and been changed by – their depictions in his book and plays.
The film covers the subtle complexities of Johnson’s relationships with these men, with his family, and with his hometown in North Carolina. The film also restages Johnson’s performances of the men’s narrative in their homes, in their churches, and on their jobs, sometimes with them directing him or even participating in the scene.
Blurring the line between art and life, the film offers a rare glimpse into the lives of people rarely given a platform to speak and demonstrates how research, artistry, and life converge.
A festival favotite with numerous wins including:
- Winner: Best Documentary, Out On Film Atlanta LGBTQ Film Festival
- Winner: AARP Silver Image Award, Chicago LGBTQ International Film Festival
- Winner: Best LGBTQ Film, San Diego Black Film Festival
- Winner: Audience Choice Award, Kansas City FilmFest International
- Winner: Judges’ Choice Documentary Film, Longleaf North Carolina Museum of History
Documentary / 2020 / 89 Minutes / Color / English / A film by John L. Jackson Jr.
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