In the mid-2000s, the Malaysian-born filmmaker Yen Tan spent many long weekends commuting from Dallas, where he was living at the time, to Houston, where he was editing his first feature, Happy Birthday. He often found himself at rural gas stations and convenience stores between the two cities, wondering about the communities: Did gay men live in these small towns? If so, why would they choose to live in a kind of self-imposed exile?
Tan soon went on gay online chat rooms and reached out to men who lived this way. What he learned made him think he might have the makings of a screenplay.
“Most of these men are married,” explained Tan, who moved to the United States in 1995 to attend Drake University in Iowa, and who is now based in Austin. “Most of them are closeted. A lot of them have