Kevin James Thornton—the creator of How to Get From Here To There—is a man of many talents. From writing to directing to even scoring the film, Thornton used his diverse skill set to produce this emotionally visceral amalgam of a movie that seems to fall into the categories of drama, experimental, and sci-fi all at once. As our protagonist—known as Commander—deals with the loss of his mother, he also struggles with his past decisions that have left him alone and defeated. But what if our destinies aren’t set in stone? An encounter with a make-believe time machine from his childhood will allow Commander to explore just that.
Tell us a little bit about who Kevin James Thornton is:
My life has taken a lot of weird tangents. I moved to Nashville about two decades ago with my band to pursue a record deal. We succeeded and toured for many years. I spent a little while doing comedy in Los Angeles and even wrote for the Huffington Post. Eventually, I started taking portraits and making short films and music videos. Today, I consider myself a full-time filmmaker. It really brings all of my life experiences together into one medium.
What was your main source of inspiration for the events that take place in this film?
I’ve always been fascinated with the idea that we create our own destinies. I wanted to make a movie about that. I also wanted to make a film that represented gay people in a way that didn’t just focus on the struggle of being gay. There’s a lot of my life in it, of course. I was in a bad relationship with an alcoholic. My mother is alive and well, though.
A major theme in this film is time and how you can’t go back to the past but you can change the future. What does this mean to you specifically as a person?
It just resonates with me. Every single day, we all have limitless choices we can make stepping into tomorrow. For me, this theme carries a hopeful message.
The film’s protagonist is a gay man, yet you didn’t seem to waste much time on themes of gay shame or the coming-out experience. Was that a deliberate choice?
Representation is important and necessary. I love all the films about the queer struggle from Brokeback Mountain to Boy Erased to Philadelphia. But I also want myself and other filmmakers to begin to add to the dialogue. There’s so much to explore, and I’m excited that it’s starting to happen and that I get to be a part of it.
This film takes its audience on a roller coaster of emotions to different worlds well beyond that of reality through the lens of a toy that the protagonist made as a boy. Why do you think breaking away from reality into the realm of metaphor was important to telling this story?
I love using childhood imagination to show adult emotion. It makes the film more moving. Toy Story 3 is a great example of that. It reaches into an innocent part of us and resonates in a different way.
Another unique aspect of the film is its use of actors that don’t fall into the stereotypical “Hollywood twink” category. What do you think queer viewers will gain from seeing these realistic men on screen as opposed to the glamorized, Hollywood versions we’ve all come to expect?
Wait. I’m not a twink? Kidding. That’s SO BORING. In my experience, a lot of gay men like big hairy man bodies and rugged faces. But eye candy is probably pretty clearly not the focus of this film. That said, you have to admit Daniel Mark Collins is pretty stunning.
As a musician, did you have a big part in sonically shaping the film?
I did. I wrote, performed, and recorded it all with the help of my band, Indiana Queen.
What would the Kevin James Thornton from fifteen years ago think after seeing this film?
Considering that I was on tour full-time with my band fifteen years ago, my first question would be, “Wait, does the record-deal thing not work out?” But then I’d get really excited about seeing all of my creativity come together in a film.
If you were given the option to either travel back in time or into the future, which would you pick?
With the way things are in the world right now, I’m a little scared of the future, so I’m going to pick the past. I’d go back to 1950s Manhattan, get a funky apartment in Greenwich Village, and hunt down James Dean to make him love me.
I am so thrilled to have my film on Dekkoo. Having my first feature on a legitimate platform is such a huge accomplishment for me. I hope the viewers love it. I really tried to make something outside of the box.
What are your future plans?
I’m in pre-production for a series I wrote called Stranger Hearts. It’s about several diverse LGBTQ people whose lives all cross and connect in profound ways. We’re shooting it in July, and it’s going to be really good!
Where can viewers find you online to learn more?
Available for streaming on Dekkoo’s diverse selection of gay films and series, you can watch How To Get From Here To There right now!