Funny Boy Films to bring ‘Southern Baptist Sissies’ to the big screen


Writer, Director, Producer, Del Shores (Sordid Lives, Queer As Folk, Dharma & Greg) and his Del Shores Productions have partnered with Funny Boy Films to transform his GLAAD Award-winning stage production of SOUTHERN BAPTIST SISSIES to the big screen.

Kirkland Tibbels of FUNNY BOY FILMS, and both Del Shores and Jason Dottley of Del Shores Productions will produce the feature film SOUTHERN BAPTIST SISSIES. Tibbels and Shores first began working together developing the upcoming half-hour television series based on Shores’ play turned movie SORDID LIVES for MTV’s LOGO channel.

SOUTHERN BAPTIST SISSIES is a dramatic portrayal of four boys’ experiences growing up gay in the Baptist Church. The critically acclaimed play has won the hearts of audiences nationwide, most recently touring with Emmy Award-winner Leslie Jordan (Will & Grace, Sordid Lives) and Delta Burke (Designing Women, Boston Legal, Sordid Lives), both of whom will star in the film. Beth Grant (Sordid Lives, Donnie Darko, Jericho) is also attached to the project, as are play cast members: Dale Dickey (My Name is Earl, The Closer, Domino), Rosemary Alexander (Sordid Lives, The Trip, Madhouse), Scott Presley (America’s Next Top Model), Rich Delia (American Dreams, Emily’s Reasons Why Not) and Newell Alexander (Sordid Lives, Big Love). Shores and casting director Ferne Cassel (Sordid Lives, Monster) are currently meeting with A-List talent for the lead role of "Mark."

The film version of SOUTHERN BAPTIST SISSIES will begin pre-production in late February, with principal photography slated for the Spring. Shores will direct.

The play premiered at Los Angeles’ Zephyr Theatre in 2000 and enjoyed a ten-month sold-out run before moving to the McKinney Avenue Contemporary Theatre in Dallas, where it sold out its entire run in a single week. In April 2002 the play was revived in Los Angeles where it enjoyed another six month sold-out run before opening at the Bailiwick Theatre in Chicago – becoming the theatre’s biggest hit during their Pride Summer Series, which garnered two After Dark Awards for Best Direction and Best Ensemble. SOUTHERN BAPTIST SISSIES has also been produced in San Francisco, Lexington, Birmingham, Buffalo, Sacramento, Denver, Indianapolis and Ft. Lauderdale. The original production received 20 Los Angeles Theatre Awards, with Shores receiving the LA Weekly Theater Award for Best Direction (nominated for writing) and the Backstage West Garland Award for Best Writing. The play was also awarded the prestigious GLAAD Award for Outstanding Production of the Year. Its most recent Los Angeles run in 2006 broke all attendance records at the 50-year-old L.A.-based Zephyr Theatre; with Dale Dickey winning the 2006 Ovation Award for Best Supporting Actress (Leslie Jordan won the Ovation Award for Best Supporting Actor for the original production).

"This is my most personal piece, my story," Shores said. "Because of the play, so many people have written me, telling me it’s their story too and how deeply they were affected by it. So I’m very excited that the film is going to finally happen and will reach an even wider audience. It’s been a long time coming, but teaming up with Funny Boy Films was the key that unlocked getting SOUTHERN BAPTIST SISSIES to film. Kirkland Tibbels and his team are stand-up people and I’ve admired their work for years. And to direct my favorite actors again is beyond thrilling."

Tibbels added, "Del’s stories, their themes, their message of hope and courage are life affirming, inspiring stories that touch people deeply. Our mission is to tell these kinds of stories – to make movies with filmmakers like Del. And on a much more personal level, this story is my story. I grew up in a small West Texas town. I know these people. These were my friends, my family… my community – that’s why I have to make this movie."

SOUTHERN BAPTIST SISSIES marks Shores’ third theater production to be made into a feature film. His first, DADDY’S DYIN’… WHO’S GOT THE WILL (MGM), stars Beau Bridges, Beverly D’Angelo, Tess Harper, and Judge Reinhold. The black comedy made its theatrical debut in 1990 with the DVD released in 2006. His second theatrical, SORDID LIVES (Regent Entertainment), his directorial debut, stars Olivia Newton-John, Beau Bridges, Delta Burke, Leslie Jordan, Beth Grant and Bonnie Bedelia. The film was one of the most successful gay-themed releases of 2002, winning many festival awards, including 13 audience awards. The DVD, released by 20th Century Fox, continues to be one of the top selling gay-themed DVDs. Shores has also written and directed the Showtime feature film THE WILDE GIRLS, starring Olivia Newton-John, her daughter Chloe Lattanzi, Swoosie Kurtz, and Robert Lewis Stephenson. The remainder of his six plays include: CHEATIN’, DAUGHTERS OF THE LONE STAR STATE, and the NAACP Award winning THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF A TRAILER TRASH HOUSEWIFE.

Funny Boy Films, the world’s first gay and lesbian production company was founded in 2002 to independently develop, produce, and finance gay and lesbian entertainment. The company produced the award-winning features LATTER DAYS (2004), starring Steve Sandvoss, Wesley Ramsey, Jacqueline Bisset, and Mary Kay Place, and ADAM & STEVE (2006), starring Craig Chester, Malcolm Gets, Parker Posey, and Chris Kattan. Both films were released theatrically and on DVD by TLA Releasing and picked up for television on MTV’s LOGO channel. The company just completed principal photography of the film version of the hit play NAKED BOYS SINGING with Tibbels producing. Also in development is the feature film ELLIOT LOVES, which Tibbels is producing with Robert Gant and Chad Allen.

Del Shores Productions is a partnership between Del Shores and theatre producer/actor Jason Dottley (Actor: Sordid Lives the play, Los Angeles and National Tour, Producer: The Official Tour, Season of Shores). In 2006 the company produced SEASON OF SHORES, an eight month revival of the stage productions SORDID LIVES, SOUTHERN BAPTIST SISSIES, and THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF A TRAILER TRASH HOUSEWIFE in repertory, as well as THE OFFICIAL TOUR, a national tour of SORDID LIVES and SOUTHERN BAPTIST SISSIES.