NewFest: ‘Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy’ director Andrea James on Changing Hearts and Minds Through Film

Posted by on 7.27.2014

Filmmaker Andrea James directs her first feature-length documentary, Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy, based on Mapa's titular one-man show, which covers much of Mapa's personal life, including his decision (along with husband Jamie Hebert) to adopt a child. The Off-Broadway show received many warm reviews, praising Mapa's ability to seamlessly blend hilarious storytelling with moments of emotion. Alec Mapa screens as part of NewFest 2014.  We were able to ask James a few questions about the making of her film. 

In his hilarious new performance film, 2014 Outfest Fusion Achievement Award Winner and gifted comedian Alec Mapa (Switched at Birth)—accompanied by his family—takes his audience on a roller-coaster ride through the challenges and occasional triumphs of becoming a daddy. You’ll laugh and even cry as “America’s Gaysian Sweetheart” mixes life stories with his signature brand of sass. Contains adult language and catastrophic waffles.  

Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy  
Andrea James | USA | 78 min.

Responses by Andrea James:

On the importance of making a film based on Alec Mapa's show...

Alec Mapa had been performing this show live, and the run was nearing its end. I wanted to record it for posterity because it not only feels timely but I also believe it might convince other families, especially LGBT families, to consider adoption. We've been working with RaiseAChild.US to encourage more LGBT families to consider fostering and adoption to answer the needs of the 400,000 children in our nation's foster care system. This film seemed like a great way to expand those efforts.

On the film's connections to the LGBT community...

Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy is a one-man show about how a gay couple adopted a child after lesbian parents convinced them to do so on an R Family Vacation, a vacation company for families with LGBT members. And it's directed by a trans woman and filmed at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. That's pretty queer/LGBT in my book!

On showing both the professional and personal sides of Alec...

The biggest challenge was the film's groundbreaking mix of raunchy and deeply moving material. Alec's club act is absolutely filthy and hilarious, but he and his husband are also two of the best dads I have ever known. Straight comedians are able to work blue and no one questions their abilities as parents. I wanted to show that gay dads can be just as outrageous yet still go home and be just as wonderful as any parents. That's been missing in most mainstream media depictions.

On using film to change perspectives...

A film that influenced me, LGBT or not, was Boys Don't Cry by Kimberly Peirce. I recall leaving the theater and knowing that I needed to be doing this kind of work. Our current project is a very different type of film, but I still draw inspiration from Kim's passion in getting that made and changing hearts and minds through film. I'm grateful to be in a position where I get to collaborate with artists working to make a difference! You can learn more about this film and our other projects at thoughtmoment.com.

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