Surviving Friendly Fire


The Making of a Street Kids Theatre Project

Ian McKellen and the cast/makers of
Surviving Friendly Fire
Los Angeles, 1997

Words by Ian McKellen

This unique documentary records some of the amazing therapeutic work which is done by the Los Angeles Lesbian and Gay Center in West Hollywood. Young gay people arrive daily in Los Angeles after being rejected by their families. They face an unknown future and are an obvious prey for the unscrupulous. The Center does its best to befriend these outcasts and settle them into a new life by organising accommodation and employment in their adopted city. If this is done speedily, all may be well. Many, however, miss the safety net and plunge into misery and dependence on drugs and the seedier side of the sex industry.

The stars of Surviving Friendly Fire show what can be done to correct the excesses of homophobia. Using their own lives as a basis for the drama, these street kids discover self-respect through their memories and imagination. This filmed record of their stage production is inspiring and I was honoured to be able to make my own small contribution.

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Ian McKellen narrates
Surviving Friendly Fire

It is ironic that this practical response to the challenge of homophobia should be happening so close to the film industry, some of whose senior members are reluctant to announce their homosexuality. — Ian McKellen, June 2000