Director’s permit granted

Although Christopher Ludgate was wearing a pair of sunglasses, he was instantly recognizable as he sat in one corner of the quaint coffee shop.

A local New York filmmaker who has been garnering praise all across the country for his short film, The Love Permit (TLP), a fan even offered his praise shortly after spotting him.

"The Love Permit" official poster for the Queens World Film Festival

His film had just opened last weekend’s First Annual Queens World Film Festival, which awarded him Honorable Mention for Short Narrative Filmmaking. This was no small feat, considering that, according to Festival Director Katha Cato, QWFF screened 121 independent films from several hundred that were submitted.

A seasoned storyteller, Ludgate grew up writing and directing in his youth. But his credits also include modeling and acting, which he said happened unexpectedly. He has since starred in a the critically acclaimed short film Door of the Law, several Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway plays and print ads. (By the way, if you’re like me and you’ve ever wondered who it is on the cover of that guilty pleasure, romance novel, it may just be him.)

Though Ludgate enjoys writing and directing the most of his crafts. Likewise, he had originally written TLP as a play and directed it on stage before easily transferring to the screen. It has since been shown at nearly a dozen state festivals where the short has earned several nominations and wins for the top awards.

A political satire, TLP shows naive Mr. Young struggling to receive a “love and sex” permit from a government agent. In barely thirteen minutes, the screen pans out on this crucial moment in Mr. Young’s life to demonstrate a microcosm of a world severely controlled by the political powers that be that infringe upon the most innate of human desires to obtain and maintain order.

The agent once says, “We’re not about fair here. We’re about law and protocol, for the good of the state, which cannot afford passionate romantics like you aborting reason and rationale.” But rebellion is imminent.

Ludgate, who believes, “A good film is only good if it has heart,” said that the heart of this one shows that, “Even in the most corrupt organization, there is hope.”

TLP’s script clearly makes political commentary with undertones of dry humor so beneath the surface, it’s easily difficult to detect. And Ludgate’s subtle shots effectively demonstrate this as they follow Mr. Young and the agent in sweeping landscape angles and close up profile scenes that are at times both chilling and comical.

Actor Russell Saylor, who plays the agent, said that being in this film and working with Ludgate was a very rewarding experience.

“As a director, Chris was very open to collaboration. […]  He is a selfless director who encouraged our unique take on the project.”

Director Christopher Ludgate with actor Russel Saylor at opening night of the Queens World Film Festival.

Though it’s his first short film, I wondered whether Ludgate preferred political themes but he said he’s open to anything that compels thought.

“I’ve always gravitated toward […] things that are provocative, and to human nature and relationships, and really getting to experience the grit of what it’s like when someone is really going through an obstacle, […] and people are relentlessly just putting wall after wall after wall up in front of them,” Ludgate explained.

This particular film resonated with the gay community who perceived it as advocating same sex marriage. According to, it even earned second place in’s Onlline Short Film Contest. Ludgate, however, said he intended TLP to have a wider meaning.

“It’s actually in a broader spectrum, a more universal message, which is the absurdity and the juxtaposition of government or anybody, any organization, trying to control innate and intrinsic needs of humanity,” he said.

Ludgate’s work shows his dedication to speak on behalf of social causes. He modestly revealed that he has an altruistic nature.

Saylor told me more about that. “[Chris]  is involved in making the world a better place through his work in the community. He is a true artist who is determined to make a positive impact.”

Ludgate’s newest project serves that purpose. He is working on a documentary about the non-sectarian organization, God’s Love We Deliver, which provides meals with the strong belief of “food as medicine,” to those with life threatening illnesses. A member of the organization, Ludgate felt it would be a great subject for film.

Soon off for the premiere of TLP in Europe, it’ll be interesting to see the documentary and what else Christopher Ludgate will show the world next. Brimming with great potential, talent and a genuine kindness, I can only expect the best.

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