U of M grad nabs best doc honors

. May 16, 2012.

Love can be complicated. Just ask Sophia Kruz. Kruz’s documentary about her parents’ love story, “Time Dances On,” earned best documentary feature honors at the fourth annual, “Made in Michigan Film Festival,” held Oct. 21 – 22, in Lapeer .

It wasn’t an ordinary romance.

“It’s about how my parents met and fell in love, despite the fact that my dad was gay,” said Kruz, 22, an Ann Arbor resident and recent University of Michigan grad.

Kruz said notwithstanding her parent’s conflicting sexual orientations, they felt they belonged together and wanted to raise a family.

“He told [my mother] he had an attraction to men but never acted on it,” she said. “Being gay in the 60s and 70s wasn’t really an option. He wanted that traditional normal life.”

Her parents ultimately divorced in 2002.

Kruz describes her film as a story about the need for compassion for gay parents and children.

Her father was raised in a traditional religious Polish Roman Catholic family in Detroit.

“My dad’s family, who he was so afraid of, completely embraced him,” she said. “There’s a lot of love in my family.”

Curiosity about her personal history inspired Kruz’s documentary, which includes interviews with her parents and their friends, archival photos and news clips.
The film served as her senior thesis, earning her a BA in screen arts and cultures from the University of Michigan in 2011.

“When I first started thinking about the project, I wanted to learn more about Michigan gay history,” she said.

While her mom was initially apprehensive when she learned about the subject of Kruz’s documentary, her family and friends ultimately embraced her project.

“There was unbelievable support — no negative feedback,” said Kruz.

Her parents were in the audience when she collected her best documentary award, presented by the Made-In-Michigan Film Society and The Lapeer County Film Office. The festival featured 46 short and feature-length independent films, including Kruz’s efforts.

She took home a framed award, a gift basket with artwork and other made-in-Michigan products.

Kruz hopes to make her film available on the Internet within the next six months.

It is just the beginning of her career.

“I’m working on making DVDs,” she said. “Now that I’ve been bitten by the documentary bug, I’d like to learn from a more experienced
commercial filmmaker.”

Modern technologies like video on demand and lightweight and affordable cameras have broadened the opportunities for documentary filmmakers – and reality TV has expanded the demand and interest in dramas about everyday people’s lives.  “The audience for documentaries is swelling,”
said Kruz.

For more information about Kruz’s  film, visit www.sophiakruzproductions.com/time-dances-on.