New York Times - May 2019
Listen to the clip from St. Louis Public Radio (January 18, 2018)
In April of 1996, Geoff Story went to an estate sale at a mansion on Lindell Boulevard in St. Louis. In the attic he found two old home movie reels. One of the film canisters was simply titled, Picnic. The films turned out to be 25 minutes of a gay pool party, most of which was shot during WW2. After only a few viewings, and for fear of damaging the movies in the projector, Geoff shelved them for 20 years.
In the Spring of 2017, Geoff digitized the home movies. He turned his bedroom into a makeshift theater and had multiple screenings to gauge interest for a potential documentary. Around that time, Beth Prusaczyk saw a few stills on Instagram and showed an immediate interest. She soon joined the project as a producer and director of research.
We are currently interviewing the families and friends of the men in these films, and continue to search for anyone who can speak to what gay life was like during the 1940s and 50s in St. Louis.
Geoff Story knew his true passion the moment his father handed him his first super 8 movie camera. While the other 12 year-olds were playing sports, Geoff was directing his friends in grainy, no-budget horror films.
Not counting those early efforts, Geoff comes to the documentary world as a first-time filmmaker. But he’s always been a storyteller. Geoff has spent his career in advertising, bringing together his talents as a writer, photographer, designer and creative director. His design and photography work has been seen in Graphis, Print and Communication Arts.
Producer, Director Of Research
Beth Prusaczyk has always been an “old soul” - whether that was spending childhood nights watching 1960s sitcoms (by choice) or spending days hunting for records or curating her mid-century furniture and decor collection, Beth has always had a fascination, appreciation, and love of history.
A former journalist and social worker who is now a professor and healthcare researcher, filmmaking is new to her but telling the stories of those marginalized in society is not. She has dedicated her career to improving the lives of older adults and the documentary is a natural extension of that passion.
Are you a gay or lesbian person in their 80s or older with a story to tell? Do you know someone who is? We’re searching for people to volunteer to share their stories of gay life in St. Louis, then and now. Interviews are currently being filmed for our upcoming documentary.