Groundbreaking film ‘Claire’ celebrates a radical fairy-tale

When Milford “Milt” Thomas decided to make a film about two men, partners, who find a girl from the moon on their farm and quickly embrace her as their own, he had no idea the film would become known as “gently militant.”

“’Claire‘ was chosen to screen in Brussels just before same sex marriage went to vote in Belgium. The government official sponsoring the bill spoke before the screening. Apparently the film is a non-threatening pro-gay marriage and adoption statement in its depiction of a very non-traditional fairy-tale family with its male couple and a girl from the moon,” Thomas said.

“I’m thrilled how it’s been embraced as such a positive statement. Someone in Italy said that it was ‘gently militant.’ This wasn’t premeditated. I was just making something from the heart,” he added.


10th anniversary screening of ‘Claire’

Thursday, Nov. 3
8-10 p.m.
Woodruff Arts Center
1280 Peachtree St. NE

The film screens at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3, at the Woodruff Arts Center in honor of its 10th anniversary and is presented by Out on Film.

Members of the local chapter of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will be ushering. To buy tickets, click here.

Set in the rural 1920s South and filmed at Short Mountain in Tennessee, the home for many Radical Faeries, as well as in Atlanta, Georgia, North and South Carolina, the film depicts an older male couple who adopt the moon girl. The men are portrayed by Short Mountain Radical Faeries Mish P. DeLight and Jim Ferguson. Mish P. DeLight is also a charter member of the San Francisco Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The girl from the moon is played by Toniet Gallego, a member of Atlanta’s popular Blast Off Burlesque troupe.

Thomas also filmed “Claire” using an antique hand-cranked 35mm camera to ensure authenticity when making a silent, black and white film.

“I’m a silent film nerd and think it’s a shame that this potentially beautiful form of storytelling is almost completely discarded because it doesn’t fit in with the current commercial technology,” Thomas said. “They be so universally appealing to an audience because the individual can easily inject their own subjective experiences a lot of the time. And the viewer can go deeper with a silent film than a ‘talkie’ because you have to focus on the screen or you’ll miss something!”

Accompanying the silent film when it screened years ago was the Orchestra de Lune under the direction of Anne Richardson. Richardson is traveling from Washington, D.C., to conduct her original score for the Orchestra de Lune and “Claire” for the 10th anniversary screening.

“The live music has a more powerfully intimate affect on the individual. You appreciate its organic -ness. It’s always a treat to have good live music emanating in front if you — and Anne’s is very good,” Thomas said of his decision to have a live orchestra during the silent film’s screenings.

“So how the mind reacts to the music coupled with the images in front of you on the screen can often be a powerful experience.”

Check out this video about the film: