I’d seen the image posted on social media of a Texan holding his homemade sign outside the Islamic Community Center in Irving Texas. Unlike much of the clickbait social media frenzies I've become inured to, I was struck by the compassion and the generosity in this simple gesture. I wanted to know who this man was and why he was compelled to do what he did. Forty eight hours later my wife and I found ourselves on a flight to Texas, guests for a weekend in the home of Justin Normand, the man in the image.
Justin’s private gesture for a marginalized group of his fellow Americans wasn’t meant to ‘go viral’ and I think it’s because of that, that what he did resonated with so many people around the world. I know thats why it resonated with me.
That long weekend we spent with Justin, and his husband of 25 years Gary Cathey, changed my life. I don’t say those words lightly. Every day since has been informed by the lessons both small and large I took from our time together. I hope that this short piece captures even just a glimpse of Justin’s humble nature and the love in his soul. And I hope that this short piece reminds viewers that we are all human beings, and that this inspires and provides hope to those who are hurting.
Director - Rod Blackhurst Editors - Adam Murphy & Ida Rodríguez Joglar Composer - Eric D. Johnson http://www.fruitbatsmusic.com/ Post Sound Supervisor - Jamey Scott Colorist - Samuel Gursky @ Irving Harvey http://irvingharvey.com/ Titles - Trevor Eiler
Thank you: Alyona Minkovski, Noah Lang, Pat Buckley, Sam Kretchmar, Eric Becker, Harrison Nalevansky, Matt McLaughlin, Christian Silberbauer
All of these artists and collaborators donated their time and resources to make this project possible.