Marco Werman: Let's talk about the language of love, shall we? Actually, that's the title of a short film about an Australian boy. Seventeen-year-old Charlie is in the middle of taking a French exam and he's having a dialog with himself contemplating typical teenage stuff when he suddenly realizes something big. He's in love with is best friend, another boy, named Sam. Charlie then contemplates what to do about that.
[MOVIE CLIP: I Googled how to tell a guy you like him but all the results were about how much makeup to use. I wouldn't dare say a word to him. I mean how would I even start. Hey, Sam, hope your parents haven't murdered each other yet. I'm gay. Are you gay? Do you want to cuddle or something?]
Werman: Seventeen-year-old Kim Ho wrote and starred in The Language of Love. He lives in Sydney, Australia. He says he based his nine minute film on a monologue he'd written for a competition.
Kim Ho: I thought, "Wouldn't it be interesting to look at how love can sometimes can be more powerful when it's not traditional or when it's not normal."
Werman: You say a love or a relationship that's not normal. I assume you mean a kind of love that some might find somewhat unexpected.
Ho: Yeah. I think the monologue makes the point that no love should be normal. Love is love and it doesn't discriminate.
Werman: It's amazing how in your film this young gay man raises emotions in people and myself that reminded me of my own first crush at school, for anybody gay or straight, and it doesn't seem to matter that Charlie is gay. What emotional reserves did you have to tap for those scenes?
Ho: I had to look at a lot of my relationships. A lot of it was about determining what is a crush and what is love and what makes it different between just thinking someone is attractive and thinking you really, really want to be with someone. I tapped into my experiences with that trying to find a common denominator with all kinds of love, heterosexual and homosexual.
Werman: You're still in school, right, Kim?
Ho: Yes. I'm in the last year of school.
Werman: And what's been the reaction at school the The Language of Love?
Ho: I was a bit worried because there can be instances of school bullying. I think it's still actually legal for private schools to expel homosexual students based on their sexuality. But I've been really, really overwhelmed because everyone's just been so supportive.
Werman: I'm curious to know just what the context is of gay and lesbian politics in Australia right now. Is your video part of a debate on gay rights and same sex marriage in Australia?
Ho: I never actually envisioned it to be political and I think it's being taken as a story designed to be moving and touching. Marriage equality still hasn't been passed in Parliament. New Zealand has, France has, and I think it's time for Australia to too.
Werman: So, was there a moment of hesitation where after you got the idea, you had this monologue going, you thought twice about tackling the issue?
Ho: I did but that was mainly about whether I could do the subject justice. I really wanted to write something that was candid that was respectful and truthful.
Werman: What kind of support have you gotten from the gay and lesbian community?
Ho: I've been overwhelmed by the amount of positive feedback, not only from Australia but all around the world. A lot of comments on YouTube have been from LGBT youth saying that that kind of thing happened to them which is extraordinary because I'd done a little bit of research beforehand but I didn't realize how common and widespread it was.
Werman: Kim, put your finger on the pulse there. Why do you think this story resonates with so many people?
Ho: The whole point of the monologue is that being in love with someone who or may not love you back is something that most of us find ourselves in. Sometimes when we're really, really luck we'll find that the love is (0:03:55.6 unclear) but until we are brave enough to I guess ask it becomes something that is really deeply felt but also deeply hidden that everyone can relate to.
Werman: I know you're involved in theater in school but this is a very promising little piece of cinema. Any future films in the works?
Ho: At the moment my priority is to finish my final exams which is a bit…
Werman: Ah, petty details.
Ho: I know. I know. I really just want to get them over and done with so I can start writing stuff.
Werman: Kim Ho wrote and starred in the short film The Language of Love. Kim, great to meet you. Thanks.