Surviving that night

He was a boy. Only 17. It was the night of his birthday and he was out celebrating. And then a nearly unspeakable thing happened. Life went on but Erick, the protagonist of the new documentary “One Taxi Ride” (“Un Viaje en Taxi”), never stopped being haunted by the event. In fact, the tagline is “He took a taxi one night… and arrived home 10 years later.”

The documentary follows Erick, an openly gay man living in present day Mexico City, who works with his mom in their modest food business. He’s close to his family and dating, but things are often difficult for Erick and he’s a bit of a recluse. When Erick finally opens up about the night of his attack, the story branches out into an exploration of family love and healing.

“For the first time in my career, the cause is bigger than the film,” Mak CK, the film’s director, told GLAAD. Mak was shocked by how many survivors would come speak to him and Erick and his family after screenings. "One said ‘how do I find help’ and I was sorry to say, "I don’t know how you can find help.”' To that end, the team is now trying to collect support group information, so that no matter what city they show the documentary in, they can have information to give survivors. The team has also created a campaign to build understanding of the problem.

“People are starting to understand that men can be survivors and victims. But then someone like Jeffrey Epstein comes along and it feels as if men are the perpetrators. Men are still largely the perpetrators and women the victims,” he says, “But a lot of men desperately need to talk about what has happened to them."

The Singaporean director’s other work include the documentaries “Little People Big Dreams” and “The World’s Most Fashionable Prison.” He met Erick while backpacking in Mexico, through his Airbnb host. They went for a drink and to watch a televised tennis match but a rain delay of four hours gave them time to talk and Erick told Mak his story. “He shared about the attack with me. And I soon realized that I was the first person whom he shared his past with. I was a stranger who was leaving Mexico soon so it made it easier for him to be open about it,” Mak recalls. “So what was supposed to be a month-long stay became over 3 years, just to shoot the film!”

While the attack itself may confirm your worst suspicions about humanity, Erick’s courage and the way he’s embraced by his wonderful family may cause you to feel at least some hope and to shed more than a few tears.

“One Taxi Ride” has played film festivals including Frameline and the Guadalajara International Film Festival where it won the Premio Maguey Best Film Award Winner. It will screen in Los Angeles Sept. 21 at the TCL Chinese Theatre and at various other venues in the U.S. and abroad including Seattle and New York. For more information visit: onetaxiride.com For the Los Angeles screening: TCL Chinese Theatre on Sept. 21 at 4 p.m. Tickets are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ficg-in-la-presents-one-taxi-drive-tickets-...

Issues: