"The Happy Sad," the new film from director Rodney Evans, is being billed as a timely narrative that "explores issues of sexuality, fidelity and race in contemporary America."
But for Evans, a veteran director whose work includes 2004's acclaimed "Brother to Brother," the movie presented a more personal opportunity.
"A lot of my early motivation as a filmmaker came from a lack of any kind of film and TV representation that reflected any aspect of my experience as a gay person of color in a realistic or truthful way," Evans told The Huffington Post in an email. "It was important to me that the film had a multicultural cast and that there were characters from the entire spectrum of sexual identity -- straight, gay, bisexual and questioning."
"The Happy Sad," which is set to make its New York debut Aug. 16, follows the lives of four characters -- a black, gay couple and a white heterosexual pair -- who suddenly find their personal lives intertwined. In the meantime, each of the four characters explores their sexual identities, and find themselves questioning whether or not they are meant to be in monogamous relationships. The end result is what Hollywood Reporter critic Stephen Farber described as "a tantalizing picture of some contemporary conundrums."
In this exclusive clip which Evans and his team have shared with The Huffington Post, gay characters Marcus (played by Leroy McClain) and Aaron (Charlie Barnett) share an intimate phone call.
Despite his film's poignant nature, Evans insists that "The Happy Sad" does not have a specific message per se, instead saying his aim was "to make something raw and intimate where the audience is able to live inside the experiences" of the characters.
"I think life is complex and I want to make films that do justice to that complexity," he added.
"The Happy Sad" opens Aug. 16 at New York's IFC Center. For more information, click here.