From a young age, Stewart Wade knew he wanted to tell stories. He performed skits in the backyard for his captive parents and friends, and attempted his first novel at age ten. A bit later, Stewart tried his hand at poetry, short stories, and playwriting, ultimately getting a Master’s degree in Theater, Film, and Television from UCLA. He started his first screenplay while still in grad school, and had it optioned by producer Joanna Lancaster (Ruthless People). At one point, half the financing was lined up and Ricki Lake (Hairspray) was attached as the lead. But as often happens in the business of show, the other half of the financing couldn’t be found and the option expired.
Only slightly embittered, Stewart kept writing and finally sold a script – to ProSieben (the German equivalent of HBO). The script was translated into German and a beautiful (and popular) television movie was made. But ProSieben decided not to release it in the U.S. and Stewart learned that being a hit in Germany meant very little in Hollywood.
After having a ton of fun directing a successful dinner theater production of James Kirkwood’s P.S. Your Cat Is Dead, Stewart decided to go back to school and learn about film directing. His class project was Coffee Date. This short was a hit on the festival circuit, playing over 35 festivals worldwide and winning numerous awards.
Stewart expanded Coffee Date and was able to attract amazing talent to the feature version: Jonathan Silverman, Wilson Cruz, Sally Kirkland, Elaine Hendrix, Jason Stuart, and Debbie Gibson. The movie played at over 30 film festivals worldwide and won Audience Awards at the Sedona International Film Festival, Salem Film Festival, and Breckenridge Film Festival (the first gay-themed film to do so). After a brief theatrical run, Coffee Date played in rotation for a year on MTV’s LOGO channel.
Stewart was named one of Outfest 2006’s “Five in Focus,” filmmakers chosen as “the next wave of hot new talent.” This perhaps helped him attract a stellar cast for his next feature. Tru Loved starred Najarra Townsend and Jake Abel, and featured Jasmine Guy, Alexandra Paul, Alec Mapa, Cynda Williams, Bruce Vilanch, Nichelle Nichols, Vernon Wells, and Jane Lynch. It was the opening night film at the 20th anniversary of NewFest, and the closing night film of Outfest. It won numerous jury and audience awards and lead actress Najarra Townsend won Best Actress at both the Santa Cruz and Breckenridge Film Festivals. During production, PFLAG National (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) honored the film with its Focus on Equality Award.
Next up, Stewart directed and co-produced Such Good People, a screwball comedy written by David Michael Barrett and starring Michael Urie, Randy Harrison, and James Urbaniak, with supporting roles by Scott Wolf, Ana Ortiz, Lance Bass, Alec Mapa, Tom Lenk, Drew Droege, and Rick Overton.
At about this same time, Stewart created Coffee House Chronicles. This web series is an ongoing passion, as each episode is self-contained and can be produced when time and money allow.
Most recently, Stewart wrote and directed his first drama, Say Yes, starring Leah McKendrick, Patrick Zeller, and Matt Pascua, with Shari Belafonte and Alexandra Paul. Leah won a Best Actor award for the role at the OutFilm (the San Diego Gay & Lesbian Film Festival). The response to this movie has been very gratifying, and Stewart is now working on a sequel.