Gabriel Torres is the 20-year-old, gay, Colombian-born Director of the film T-Times, in production. The film features a cast of future superstars including Johnny Beauchamp (Nerve, Stonewall), who plays Xavier, an underage kid who recently discovered he is HIV-positive and has decided to die, and Anthony O’Connell, who plays Luca the enigmatic Luca, an attractive, young gay man whose raison d’être is to live fast and die young. According to Torres, New York City holds an “unbearable, terrible” secret—that being the abuse of crystal meth/sex parties (read Buzzfeed’s frightening tale of ChemSex parties here).
“The wide array of diversity on display—transgender, gay, tall, short, White, Black, male, and female—represents the LGBTI community and how the meth epidemic is affecting us all,” according to Torres.
Torres is seeking full funding for the film, which is being produced in conjunction with the OASIS Latino LGBTS Wellness Center, a safe space powered by the Latino Commission on AIDS, who have been spearheading health and HIV advocacy for the Latinx community for over 25 years.
The Good Men Project’s Savas Abadsidis spoke to Torres about the film and what he hopes to achieve with the film.
GMP: The sex parties the characters in T-Times engage in are explicit, but sexy at the same time. You address the correlation between HIV and crystal use, but you also seem to romanticize it.
Torres: Yes. But it’s because I depict it in a way you don’t expect it. I am hoping the audience falls in love with the characters and the crazy mistakes they are making, and hoping they can see them as more than gay, HIV-positive, trans, black, white, Latino, or junkies. I’m hoping they’re seen as fully developed humans, that you feel empathy and not be judged, as they try to find a little light as they attempt to emerge from the darkness in their world.
GMP: Why do you think so many people in the LGBTI community have become addicted to the drug?
Torres: It temporarily relieves anxiety and allows you to be in your own world without worries. It’s a sensory illusion of being strong, bold, brave and capable. I think sexual, social pressure and media also play a huge part. Most people you meet who are using meth are just looking to forget about something often painful in their life. The drug creates a sense of invulnerability. Suddenly it is only about you, your instincts and pleasures. It’s as if a hypnotic mermaid lured you to the deepest depths of the ocean, which may seem beautiful at first, but will surely lead you to drown.
GMP: How do you hope this film will impact audiences?
Torres: I decided to make a film about it after I watched a very close friend lose himself to Meth. Tina is absolutely a scourge on the community. Meth is dangerous, and the way it is used in our community in conjunction with sex is even more dangerous. I hope it teaches viewers that even the ones of us who are undergoing the lowest moments of our lives can still see the light at the end of the tunnel. I hope the audience finds the characters and the movie to be a new perspective on drug use, how its abuse affects someone’s life and how empathy and unification is the key to combatting the root of the addiction.
Watch the trailer of T-Times below.
A version of this article was previously published on HIVPlusMag.com and is republished here with permission.
Photo credit: Gabriel Torres