Thirty years ago, My Own Private Idaho (MOPI), the groundbreaking film starring River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves, was released and ultimately became a pivotal part of the rise of independent film as a mainstream cultural force.
In celebration of the iconoclastic 1991 film by writer/director Gus Van Sant, the film’s producer Laurie Parker, and Phoenix’s sister Rain Phoenix, announce a new multidimensional, multimedia project. Hosted via LaunchLeft, Phoenix’s podcast & platform for left-of-center artists, the special series will include a podcast episode dedicated to the film’s profound influence, fresh content inspired by MOPI — including soundtrack covers set to video from queer artists Simone Istwa & Caroline Kingsbury featuring cast members, fine art photography, NFTs and more. The NFTs will benefit charities that support queer youth.
The forward-facing celebration is centered on the lasting cultural legacy and the impact MOPI continues to have on representation of queer people in the media. It also aims to connect the film’s legacy with the ongoing struggle for diversity and inclusion in media.
“We are interested in connecting the film to the present, in looking at the film as part of a continuum rather than as nostalgia,” Parker and Phoenix’s statement says.
“We are using this anniversary as an opportunity to take a look back, at how MOPI expanded what was possible in queer representation in American mainstream media,” the statement also emphasized. “What is the legacy of representation that began with early independent films like MOPI. What will the art and media made in 2051 be like for queer identified humans?”
Presented by LaunchLeft…
My Own Private Idaho
30th Anniversary Podcast Special + Original: Music, Art, Videos & More
Premieres: Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, 3 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Where it airs: YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, LaunchLeft
Call For Audio/Visual Content Submissions
Aside from people closely connected to the film, this project also allows MOPI fans to get involved. LaunchLeft is now accepting video or audio from people who were impacted by the film and have something to say about it. All content submissions will be considered for inclusion in LaunchLeft’s MOPI 30th Anniversary podcast episode, which will air September 28 via LaunchLeft.com, Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube.
LaunchLeft provided some ideas for submissions:
What is your coming out story? Do you have a connection to MOPI? Have you seen it? What does it mean to you that this was one of the first independent films directed by an out gay director? Which character did you relate to most? Did the film help you with your own coming out?
Please send your submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Submission Deadline: Saturday, September 4
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.