Filmmaker Michael Witkes: 'We Must Celebrate Queer Joy Every Chance We Get'

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As he began work on the new season of “Interested In,” Michael Witkes hoped to offer a “healing and entertaining” experience for viewers amid a challenging time for both the LGBTQ community and the world as a whole.

“I think we all really need good laughs right now,” said Witkes, a New York-based actor and filmmaker, “and we must celebrate queer joy every chance we get.”

HuffPost caught a sneak peek at Season 2 of “Interested In” via the trailer below. The new episodes of the coming-of-age comedy will debut on YouTube Sept. 15, and pick up with Philadelphia college student Parker (played by Witkes) as he continues to embrace his truth as a gay man.

With his quest for true love still unfulfilled, Parker seeks validation through a plethora of messy hookups. Fortunately, his childhood best friend, Anya (Ava Sofia Mattox), is there to help him keep his emotions and hormones in check.

Watch the Season 2 trailer for “Interested In” below. 

“I’m excited to open up conversations about consent between gay men, explore a character coming into his femininity and continue to highlight unapologetic queer sexuality,” Witkes told HuffPost of the new season. “It’s a more nuanced portrayal of a young [queer] person’s experiences.”

“Interested In” debuted on the streaming network Dekkoo (also an Amazon channel) and on YouTube in 2019. The first season was also warmly received at San Francisco’s Frameline Film Festival and San Antonio’s QFest, among other festivals across the country.

Since then, the queer community has had to grapple with an alarming surge of anti-LGBTQ legislation in many states. After the Supreme Court issued a number of ultra-conservative rulings in June, many Americans are justifiably concerned about a prospective rollback of LGBTQ rights, including same-sex marriage.

Witkes was, of course, conscious of the political climate when he began work on Season 2 of “Interested In.” Hence, he’s made a distinct effort to diversify the show’s narrative.

"I’m excited to open up conversations about consent between gay men, explore a character coming into his femininity and continue to highlight unapologetic queer sexuality," Michael Witkes said.  (Photo: Michael Witkes)

“Everything happening inspired me to lean more into darker moments, while still keeping it comedic,” he said. “Rights are being stripped away. Republicans are coming for drag queen story hour, and it often feels like we’re going backwards in time. So, showing a character learning to love himself after coming out feels empowering.”

“Interested In” is being released during an impressively robust time for LGBTQ-inclusive programming, thanks to shows like Netflix’s “Heartstopper” and Peacock’s “Queer as Folk.” This fall, Billy Eichner’s big-screen comedy “Bros” will feature a cast made up entirely of LGBTQ actors, who will play both queer and heterosexual characters.

Though Witkes said he finds the success of the series and films “so inspiring,” he believes “Interested In” offers content that diverts from its mainstream counterparts in positive ways.

“Seeing queer people in the media tells the world that we’re here,” he said, “and we’re not going anywhere.”

Season 2 of “Interested In” hits YouTube on Sept. 15. 

"Interested In" Season 2 (Photo: Andrea Fremiotti)

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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