Malachi Leopold is much more than a straight ally to the gay community. The documentary filmmaker and dot429 member is embarking on the labor of love of a lifetime
He’s seeking funding to make the documentary film I am the Water, You are the Sea, which will tell the story of his gay uncle’s life-long, star-crossed love affair with an Iranian man who he met in 1967 while working as a Peace Corps volunteer – and the film will reunite the two men for the first time in 34 years.
And Leopold has less than 24 hours from the time you read this to reach the $25,000 goal the project needs from its Kickstarter fundraising drive -- or the money pledged so far will be lost.
When I spoke to Leopold from his Chicago home, he’d just received a $5,000 pledge from an Australian donor, leaving a remaining balance of $316, which must be raised by 7:00 a.m. Eastern time on Friday, July 1st.
Leopold’s uncle Alex and his Iranian lover Ali (both names are pseudonyms since homosexuality is still punishable by death in Iran) had a ten year secret love affair until the Iranian revolution forced Alex to flee Iran in 1977.
The two men have stayed in touch over the years via letters, many of which were intercepted, and more recently in phone calls over a primitive party line. When Alex stopped receiving Ali’s letters for 3-4 years, he thought he’d lost him, and attempted relationships with other men.
“But he always knew that Ali was his soul-mate,” says Leopold. “The one that was meant to be. Ali never married, but he’d been working to support the wives and children of his deceased brothers. Now that both men are in their late 60’s, they’ve decided that this is their last chance to be together.”
Their true love story spans time, distance, culture, and life-threatening adversity, yet Leopold is committed to ensuring that it has a happy ending. “It’s the romantic, sweet story that’s kept me going over the more than two years I’ve been preparing this film,” he says. “It proves that love conquers all.”
To learn more about the project, and to contribute to the Kickstarter campaign to help finance I am the Water, You are the Sea, go here.
To learn more about Malachi Leopold’s production company, go here.