In an interview, co-director Onyx Keesha of Atlanta said the film is “about brotherhood, connections, growing up and feeling captive to your past or the old you. It is about temptation and growing into your manhood.”
Keesha already has one other film under her belt, “Shattered Serenity,” which was about women who rape women.
“One of my M.Power team members came to me and said I love the work we are doing to shed light on issues in our community that are sometimes overlooked, but it seems like we are only saying that it is hard and a struggle to be a lesbian,” Keesha said.
“This got me to thinking. I wanted to also portray that our lives in many ways mirror those of our straight counterparts, I wanted to show a lighter side of us and touch on some issues that translate well to all people not just lesbians,” she said.
Keesha said she wanted to make a film that gave the same type of feel as “The Best Man” and “Jumping the Broom” but showcasing various types of women in the LGBT community.
“So I shared my idea and concept for the film with the screenwriter and co-director Noble Julz and after numerous re-writes we felt we had the right recipe of comedy, love, spirituality and brotherhood that was needed,” she said.
Keesha said she was drawn to the stories of masculine-identified women.
“I was especially fascinated with ‘studs’ or masculine-identified women and the bond and sense of brotherhood that they share. I feel like while images of lesbians in the media have increased there are few images of masculine-identified women. I wanted to do a film that highlighted them,” she explained.
She added, “We have a responsibility to tell our stories — no longer can we sit and complain about not being represented in the media. In this day and age we have the ability to make sure our image is out there, we can create and showcase our stories and our talents.”
“While I do not identify as a ‘stud’ I have such a love and respect for them and I felt like they deserve opportunities to tell their stories and be properly represented.”
The film is centered around a wedding and the title “Studzmen” is a play on the word groomsmen, Keesha added.
For Atlanta viewers looking to see the city in this film, Keesha said they won’t be disappointed.
“One of the places I love and support is the Daiquiri Factory. It is a staple in our community and we were honored to be able to film there,” she said.
When asked what she hopes viewers will take away from seeing her film, she said, “The most important thing to me is that viewers find something they can relate to in the film. I think that is so important. Also, I am a very spiritual person and I incorporate God in everything I do. I want my viewers to see that underlying theme in this film as well.”