A couple of years ago I had the absolute pleasure of being invited to join the cast of a transgender rom-com starring Buck Angel. When I agreed to take the role, I had no idea what I was actually signing up for."What If" was a passion project for writer/director, motivational speaker and life coach Francisco Fuertes that turned into so much more for all of us involved than "just another job." Francisco, most regrettably, was taken from us near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. After meeting Francisco in the audition room, he became a dear friend to me and a bright light that touched everyone who met him. While we were filming, the cast and crew became much more of a family, a unit that cared for each other as far more than just coworkers. That was thanks to Francisco. He had a unique style and flair that would make you smile when he walked into a room. He was of a generation that just doesn't exist anymore, that was faced with circumstances in a hard world for minorities of all kinds who looked daily into the face of death, violence and persecution but refused to be brought down, a generation that somehow never lost its spirit and optimism. Francisco embodied this generation: He was always in tune to the world and full of empathy for those suffering but instead of being destroyed, he put on a smile and went searching for a solution.
That spirit in the wake of challenges facing his transgender friends was the inspiration for "What If" after Francisco found himself attracted to a man on a panel at a film festival that he didn't know was transgender. He began wondering "What if I had pursued him, how would I react. What if...?" That gave rise to a short film which has been seen in festivals around the world, garnering some awards along the way. Even if Francisco is no longer with us in body, he is with us in spirit and I am so very happy that I could be a part of this film which will always keep his voice with us.
Below you will find Francisco's film, What If. I have to think that he would poke me in the ribs and correct me if he could read that and say to me "Darling, it's OUR film. This movie doesn't happen with all of you, I'm just the old queen behind the camera." But What If was his baby and as much as each of us feel like it is ours, with anyone other than Francisco at the helm I don't think any of the cast and crew would regard our time spent on set to be quite as special as it was. I know I wouldn't. Below you will also find a clip of Francisco explaining why he wanted to make What If, some behind the scenes video from a vlog that I kept during filming and some thoughts on Francisco that all of us involved with the project wanted to share.
Thank you so much for reading through this introduction and I hope that after seeing his film and hearing his words he will be as dear to you as he was to me.
-David M. Farrington, June 24, 2020
taken from fundraising videos and my behind the scenes vlog filmed on set
Thank you, Debbie, for this fantastic cast photo with Francisco!
Francisco joining our Dance Rehearsal
Francisco caught BTS, Day 1 of filming
Francisco caught BTS, Day 2 of filming
Francisco caught BTS, Day 3 of filming
"What If" is a wrap!
I love you so much, Francisco, and I will miss you for the rest of my days