When Gabe and Jonathan (played as young men by Jay Renshaw and Ryland Shelton) fall in love in the 1940s, they decide to spend their life together in secret. But as the times changed, so died the couple – who were eventually able to express their love openly.
When Jonathan unexpectedly passes away years later, Gabe (played as an older man Jerry Bornstein) is faced with a dilemma that many LGBT elders encounter when they move into retirement homes… going back into the closet.
A 30-minute short film, writer-director Matthew Ladensack’s The Apple Tree screened world-wide at LGBT film festivals, and ended up winning the Best Picture prize at Out in the Desert. The short was very powerful at the time it was released and over the intervening years, with many baby boomers entering assisted living homes, the story the film tells has become much louder and stronger – so much so that Ladensack is in the process of adapting it into a feature film.
The writer/director’s newest draft earned a spot in the Top 50 of the world famous Tracking Board Launch Pad feature screenplay contest and was a semi-finalist at the Nashville Film Festival Feature Screenplay Contest. The feature will focus not only on aging in the gay community, but on two generations of gay men coming together – a new primary character, Colton, is a closeted high school football player who ends up forming a close bond with Gabe and seeing, first hand, the experiences of his LGBTQ fore-bearers.