“It was the most honest depiction of life as a teenager that I had ever read,” recalls Desiree Akhavan about the novel “The Miseducation of Cameron Post.” “It reminded me a lot of a John Hughes film” in the way it “captured that moment in life where you realize the adults don’t know what the hell they’re doing,” and you look to your “family of friends” to “decide together what’s right and wrong.” The fact that it also happened to be about the effects of gay conversion therapy on a young woman (Chloe Grace Moretz) was almost secondary. Watch our exclusive video interview with the director and writer above.
“To me, gay conversion therapy was a metaphor for what it means to be a teenager,” Akhavan explains, “that no matter who you are, that if you’re gay, or straight, or white, or a person of color, you hit those teen years and you feel diseased in some way.” That’s certainly the case for Cameron and her friends, played by Sasha Lane (“American Honey”) and Forrest Goodluck (“The Revenant”), who are sent to a religious camp in the hopes of changing their sexual orientations.
Akhavan is bisexual, so she was excited to use this film as “an opportunity to shed a light on something that’s still a current problem.” With the election of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who is an open advocate for gay conversion therapy, “human rights in general are under attack right now, particularly queer rights, particularly trans rights. It’s not just gay conversion therapy. It’s in every avenue of what it means to be an American right now.”
Akhavan received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for her feature debut, “Appropriate Behavior” (Best First Screenplay in 2014). She also co-created and stars in the upcoming Hulu series “The Bisexual,” which premieres on November 16.
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