Other Side of the Camera: Jill Eikenberry & Michael Tucker

We asked BroadwayWorld.com's Eugene Lovendusky, who's based in San Francisco, former stomping grounds of actors Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker, to talk with them about some upcoming excitement with their new film (as producers) and other things going on in their busy lives.

Jill Eikenberry and husband, Michael Tucker, have had their share of experience on-stage and screen, most recognized as the multiple award-winning stars of TV's "L.A. Law."  But as of late, they have embarked on a new chapter in their life...

Together they have produced an already-acclaimed new documentary Emile Norman: By His Own Design about the extraordinary life of one man, his partner, and his art.  The film won the Audience Award for Best Documentary, sponsored by HBO, at the 9th Annual Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in April and will play at the NewFest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in New York this Friday, June 8.

The documentary, directed by Will Parrinello, introduces "the genius of a brilliant artist, a hidden treasure in the pantheon of openly gay artists. From his humble beginnings on a ranch in the San Gabriel Valley, Emile Norman quickly progressed into designing window displays for department stores and creating headdresses for movie musicals," states press notes, "Along the way, he met Brooks Clement, his repairman, and fell passionately in love. They shared their lives for 30 years thereafter, living together as an openly gay couple in the 1940's and 50's in the picturesque town of Big Sur."

In anticipation of Friday's Film Festival, Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker took a moment to chat with me and share a little more about their new film...

Eugene Lovendusky: Thank you taking time out of your evening to speak with BroadwayWorld.com! Your documentary, Emile Norman: By His Own Design is set to play this Friday at the NewFest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival… what do you hope audiences will experience?

Michael Tucker: I think there are a number of things it can give.  I think it gives a wonderful sense of history because the film really tracks a gay man in a gay relationship from 1919 to the present day.  It tracks through what it was like to be a gay man in a relationship in all of these different eras.  But the reason we made the film is that Emile Norman was so incredibly inspiring artist to us.  I think people in the gay and straight worlds can get a sense of what it means to be an artist.

Jill Eikenberry: The title of the film is Emile Norman: By His Own Design that doesn't just mean his art; it means his life. He really designed his life from the very beginning.  He was born on a ranch to a family that was not sympathetic to the fact that he was an artist or that he was gay.  But he created his own life, he created his world, he found a partner, and he ended up in Big Sur and lives an extraordinary life… great freedom and creativity, and parties, and fun, and from a time when it wasn't safe to be gay in this country.  He had painted everywhere.  I think anyone who is a creative person will be inspired by that.

Eugene: That's excellent! If you were to sum up this very inspiring and unique man, what would you say?

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Eugene Lovendusky Eugene Lovendusky graduated summa cum laude from SFSU with a BA in Writing for Electronic Media and a minor in Drama. Raised in the SF Bay Area, his love for the arts bloomed at an early-age; a passion that has flourished in NYC, where Eugene now lives and works. He is a proud member of the New York City Gay Mens' Chorus.