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The gay couple in
charge

The gay couple in
charge

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When codirectors and real-life partners Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland agreed to photograph their Los Angeles neighbor Leslie Campos's quinceanera (a celebration in Latino culture in honor of a girl's 15th birthday and transition into womanhood), they didn't realize they'd be getting the inspiration for their next movie in the bargain. "We were amazed at the whole elaborate ritual," recalls the New York-born Glatzer, whose 2001 film with Westmoreland, The Fluffer, was recently featured in John Waters's Here TV series Movies That Will Corrupt You. "Afterward I said to Wash, 'Somebody should make a movie of this.' " Within weeks, they were doing exactly that.

"We thought of the idea on January 1 when we were hungover," says Westmoreland, who was born and raised in the north of England. "We wrote it in February, cast it in March, and shot in April." Less than a year later, the filmmakers walked off with both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize for Drama at this year's Sundance Film Festival. "When you're making a film, you allow yourself to daydream what the most outrageous scenario is," says Glatzer, who has a number of new projects in development with Westmoreland, including a film about actor Errol Flynn. "It's what we're living right now."

Though Westmoreland jokes that he and Glatzer "put the 'co' in codirecting," the pair claim they got along swimmingly during the shoot, even while allowing their home to double for the gay couple's in the movie. "Our house looks like some frumpy professor lives there, but it got dressed up for the movie," admits Glatzer. "And I couldn't find my eyeglasses for months."

"We had to hire a guy to make our house look like gay people actually lived there," adds Westmoreland, whose past TV projects include the specials Gay Republicans and Totally Gay! "We tried to keep it the same, but it's going back to how it was, except now we've got boxes full of pink flowers and pink streamers. Lots of pink."

In addition to a street address, the 11-year couple shares something else--they've both moonlighted at gigs with massive gay male appeal. Westmoreland honed his filmmaking chops directing acclaimed gay porn flicks like Naked Highway and The Hole--"I'm proud of the work that I did, but it's not something I'd put in the foreground when I'm talking to teenage actors' mothers," he quips--and Glatzer was one of the original shapers of the hit reality show America's Next Top Model. "I was in charge of storytelling, basically, which informed my sense of how to tell a story in film," explains Glatzer, who was able to score a free clip from the show for a scene in Quinceanera--turns out Magdalena's a Top Model fan, just like her real-life inspiration, Leslie. "One night, Tyra came around to the house after we went to a movie," recalls Glatzer. "We knocked on Leslie's door at midnight, and she was like, 'Oh, my God, it's Tyra!' "

The pair like to think of Quinceanera as a valentine to the "colliding worlds" of the Echo Park neighborhood where they've lived for the last five years. "We saw the area gentrifying, and in a way, we were the spirit of that, even though we never wanted to be," says Glatzer. "Making the film really broke down walls. There was incredible openness from everyone. It would have been so easy to say, 'Why are these white boys making this movie?' but we never got that. We just got 100% support. It was magical."

"When friends come around, we give them the Quinceanera tour, and it's amazing how much has changed even since we shot the movie," adds Westmoreland. "The house that was Magdalena's house is being torn down, and they're putting up condos. It was like a moment in time."

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