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Sunday, July 15, 2007

OUTFEST DAY THREE

OY VEY!!!! What a day! 7 Shorts, 1 Documentary, 2 Feature's 2 panels and a afterparty!

BOY'S SHORTS
DGA Theatre 1

I HATE MUSICALS
Directed by Stewart Schill

I am in love with this short. I admit it, I LOVE MUSICALS!!!! There now I have said it. The script and story idea is cute. It's not an original concept.... but! The script is just fine, the lyrics are fun and witty with some really fabulous obnoxious rythmes and the dancing is just perfect. This short is directed with a fantastic eye and has some fantastic shots. It looks slick and you would think it had a huge budget.... however they say the budget is not as big as it looks. I expect to see this short many more times at various festivals if I am lucky!

THE SADDEST BOY IN THE WORLD
Directed by Jamie Travis

Wow! This is my favorite short so far! A heartbreaking story that made me laugh so hard I cried. It walks the wonderful line of horrible things and a laugh riot! The plot, Jamie's 9th birthday and he plans on hanging himself. He is that sad. Benjamin B. Smith plays Jamie like a seasoned pro! Wait he is I IMDB this kid and he has been acting since he was 2 years old. Not kidding. He is amazing. The entire cast is perfect. Special appreciation should be given to the Art Director of this movie. The style in every shot was awe inspiring. What a fantastic idea made into an even more fantastic movie!!!

SOLACE
Directed By Michaline Babich

This was a fairly emotional piece. Well directed and written. Excellent acting by the cast. An online hook up leads a youngf man looking for love to a house in the Hollywood Hills. We think something bad is going to happen to him, however they have lots of sex and wake up the next morning. He leaves upset when he discovers the man is already spoken for. His loneliness will go on. The man opens a door and we see that his lover is very sick and that he was the one that orchestrated this night. It really was a powerful moment.

HEARTLAND
Directed By Mark Christopher

You may not know this but this is the same director that launched Ryan Phillipe's star. this is the director of 54. This is not that movie however. At the Q&A Mark talked about shooting this movie on very cheap cameras. Even his cell phone. The story was very nice. He has said it is part of a bigger script at one time. And it feels like it. Going back home is always hard if you actually leave. And for a gay boy returning to God's country it really is a daunting experience. I thought the acting was great. I would love to see this as a feature.

KALI MA
Directed by Soman Chainani

OK THIS WAS TOO FUNNY! I love the mother in this movie. She gives a star making performance. As a mother hell bent for revenge on the bully abusing her son in school. The fight choreography was excellent. It was well written fabulously shot and well acted. I would love to see this expanded too.

SERENE HUNTER
Directed By Jason Bushman

An American film spoken in French and a first film for the director. A very nice debut!!! This was definitely the most explicit short I have seen at Outfest this year. The director also plays a main role and does a very nice job. This is a short about not being able to be content. None of the characters seem content with their life. they are looking or prowling in some cases for something more. It was shot nicely and with Paris as a background who could ask for more.

This was the best shorts program i have ever seen at OUTFEST. I loved every film in this program. Kimberly Yutani should be commended for programming such a strong program!

ALEXIS ARQUETTE: SHE'S MY BROTHER
Directed By Matthew Barbato

I went into this knowing a little about the movie since we already talked about it at Day 2 of Frameline. However, I wanted to see it for myself. I thought that Alexis was either crazy or very brave for doing this documentary. Chronicling the process of going from male to female, this was a very emotional and personal film. At times to personal for the subject even.... and that is where the film left me wanting. I felt like Alexis ran from the difficulty and hey you agreed to do a documentary. And right when I was feeling this, she admitted it in the film. The person she was when she began the journey is very different (emotionally) than the person she is now. I understood her decisions and truly enjoyed the fact that she allowed me to go on this journey with her. It is not a film about being accepted it is a film about accepting yourself.

After the Doc, they had an afterparty at the Absolut Green room. Last year anyone with a ticket for the film could get in. Now it is passholders only.

THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
Directed By Duncan Roy

This is such a polarizing film. I personally thought it was amazing and the camera work, editing and cinematography was breathtaking. As much art piece or installation as film. The story was well crafted and David Gallagher gave a fantastic performance as Dorian Gray. Far removed from his 7th Heaven character.

The film has been updated into today but holds true to Wilde's style and prose. This film has opened or closed almost all GLBT film festivals in the last few months. I thought that this was a powerful and dramatic piece. Watching Dorian's video prtrait go wrong was an image that was truly disturbing. This film is also playing Philly and Overture is watching it there too. I cannot wait to see what he has to say. I have been in many conversations about this film after the screening. People are talking about it quite alot. Which I believe is a very important thing!

25 CENT PREVIEW
Directed By Cyrus Amini


I have to admit. I am not always a fan of the shaky camera techniques used in Cinema Verite. This entire film is shot with inexpensive handheld video cameras. There was no lighting except what was there naturally (filmed almost entirely at night) and the dialogue was hard to understand at times. The plot was a little convulted and veered onto side roads occasionaly...... Yeah I know.... It sound like a bad movie. It also has rampant drug use, prostitution and at times it is pretty explicit! Sounds Better?

BUT! for what they had to work with this is a truly amazing film. The entire script was improv. The acting is fantastic. Merlin Gaspers will be a big star one day. His performance as a hustler just getting through the night was brilliant. Dorian Brockington as dot com was inspiring. The film is shot exceptionally well with the equipment they used.

This film is not for everyone. I had friends who were not fans, and the shaky camera gave one nasuea. But, I have also heard people talking non-stop about this film. I heard one person say it was the best film they have seen in years. I will not go that far. But I will be keeping my eye on this film. I expect to be hearing about it for quite some time.

MASQUERADE
Directed by Luther Mace

This was a very beautiful piece of filmmaking. Every aspect of this film was just right. The soundtrack was excellent, it was funny, touching and dealt with the fears that every single person has... being alone. Well written and fantastically shot, this was an excellent short. Luther Mace has been in Outfest for the last three years. I will be speaking to him and will post a short interview about the film and his process soon. This short is being distributed by Ariztical Entertainment. Apparently Luther is the reason the DL chronicles exists on HERE TV. I did not stay to see the DL Chronicles since it is a distributed TV show and not an independent film.... OK I Just wanted to go the party.

There were tons of gay celebrities and filmmakers at the Outfest (invite only) house party. The house was beautiful and jam packed with Doogie Howser and Reichen. I had a drink and it was off to bed.

Kristoffer

RB Will be discussing 25 YEARS OF GAY STORYTELLING


25 Years of Gay Film Making
From Outfest’s website: Outfest looks back over its 25-year history through the thoughts, images and eyes of directors who have told our magnificent stories. How has LGBT filmmaking changed in the past quarter century? How are the challenges that pioneering directors faced different from those of directors today? What do directors hope to see change over the next 25 years? Join us for this prestigious DGA-sponsored event as we hear from directors who have forged queer images on the silver screen and who continue to challenge us with provocative and forward-looking perspectives on queer life.
Paris Barclay (“NYPD Blue”, “Lost”) served as moderator for this fascinating discussion. He is currently in his 3rd term as First VP of the DGA, the first openly gay exec and the first African-American to occupy his particular seat at the DGA. On the Panel were: Jane Anderson (THE PRIZE WINNER OF DEFIANCE, OHIO; NORMAL), Robert Cary (SAVE ME, IRA AND ABBY), C. Jay Cox (KISS THE BRIDE, LATTER DAYS), Arthur Hiller (MAKING LOVE, LOVE STORY), Tommy O’Haver (AN AMERICAN CRIME, BILLY’S HOLLYWOOD SCREEN KISS)
It seemed particularly important to attend this panel discussion as the earliest beginnings of OUTFEST began with a presentation by the Gay & Lesbian Media Coalition of the landmark film MAKING LOVE, starring Kate Jackson, Michael Ontkean and Harry Hamlin and directed by Arthur Hiller, one of the panelists.
I loved the endearing quality emanating from the panel. Jane is a veteran at this—I saw her last year on a similar panel; also remember seeing Robert and C. Jay. The honesty, humility and humor coming from these folk are refreshing. Uncensored, unbiased… well, that could be debated, but these people are purely interested in the filmmaking process still after having several projects in the can, they’re still excited about making films and the discovery and the collaboration. I advise anyone who is a true filmmaker or even an interested spectator at Outfest to take in one of these panel discussions. They are very enlightening and bring a sense of—Yeah, maybe I can do this (make a film). They go through the same things and they persevere. And with that I give you a truncated version of the first part of the discussion. Part II and Q&A will be part of a full write up you can find on our homepage in the coming days.
MAKING LOVE started the Outfest festival 25 years ago. It was the first movie shown. Arthur Hiller had gone to Fox to get them to look at making the movie, Sherrie Lansing then took it on and got the ball rolling. As Hiller conveyed, “It’s a story that’s wonderful and has something to say… a human being is a human being.”
The question arose: Has it been hard to get projects going with a gay theme?
Anderson: “It doesn’t matter what sexuality… It’s damn hard to make a film… It’s a brutal, brutal, brutal, brutal business.” The audience erupted in laughter—what she said was funny, and true.
Barclay asked Hiller if it was hard to get stars for MAKING LOVE?
Hiller: “The lead guys were nervous they would not work again…. They had hesitations.” He indicated they were nervous in particular with the dinner scene and that it took several takes to get it.

O’Haver was asked about his experience working with actors on BILLY’S HOLLYWOOD SCRENE KISS.
O’Haver indicated that most everyone who worked on it had never worked before or very little and seemed to be easy going with it.
C. Jay Cox said that a couple of gay actors turned down the roles in his movie because they didn’t want to portray gay characters—they thought it might stigmatize their career.
Cary mentioned that for him it was actually easier working with gay actors on gay subject matter; that it made for a more comfortable experience, because you’re basically on the same page and you don’t have to get them to that place they don’t understand. Gay actors get it and you understand one another.
Barclay directed remarks to both Anderson and Cary regarding their recent films that had a downturn at the end; that some movies like to wrap things up in a nice package at the end, but they chose not to go that route and why.
Cary on SAVE ME: “Sometimes our parents die without ever accepting us.” That’s the reality.
Anderson spoke of setting up scenes so “characters have the maximum growth and the maximum obstacles. They have more to push against because drama is tension… drama’s not pretty!” People go to their death bed with conviction either the bible is right or being gay is right. The conviction is the same—it’s the belief that is different. “This is humanity.”
Cox: One of his mentors taught him that “drama is about finding out what’s painful for your characters… comedy is about finding out what’s painful for your characters and making it more painful.”
CHECK BACK TO PAGE IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS FOR MORE ON THIS PANEL DISCUSSION.
Yours,
RB
And BILL CONDON in Discussion.

A Conversation with Bill Condon

Bill Condon (DREAMGIRLS, KINSEY, CHICAGO, GODS AND MONSTERS) was the recent recipient of the Outfest Achievement Award.

David Ansen (Newsweek Critic)

After a brief introduction, Ansen asked him about his most recent work before taking us on a history ride of Condon’s work, which began in the horror genre, segued into God’s and Monsters and to his most recent hits. Here’s a few highlights:

Condon said that “DREAMGIRLS is a movie that spoke equally to gay people and African-Americans.”

Ansen: Your best known movies are set in the past and show us where we came from to show us where we are.

Condon: “I enjoy a classical approach to film making… I get turned on by the style and period of films.”
Ansen mentioned that Condon had started out in horror films. Ansen said he would like to go back and see them after reading his reviews of them.

Condon on Ansen’s reviews of his films, said with a smile: “You were great. So kind.”

When asked about the difference in making horror films and comedies, Condon said “the basic ways of telling a story in film—they exist in a pure form in horror movies.”

Condon put together some clips of movies that have inspired him, were the early beginnings of gay cinema, or explored other parallels to the gay experience—1958 movie BELL BOOK AND CANDLE, a scene with Lauren Bacall from the Broadway musical APPLAUSE, Patty Duke singing “Lonely Little In Between” from the film BILLIE—perfume or track shoes, what’s a girl to do?; Lucille Ball and Bea Arthur from MAME as they set forth to transform Ms. Agnes Gooch from frump to fox; and others.
From APPLAUSE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71dRwNTN69I&mode=related&search=

Questions from the audience:

Q: What’s your favorite musical?
Condon: “Cabaret”

Q: Are there moments in DREAMGIRLS where you pay tribute to Michael Bennett (director of the original Broadway production)?

Condon said “the whole movie was a tribute to Michael Bennett. I tried to capture the spirit of what Bennett Did… just hope he’d like it more than A CHORUS LINE.”

Q: Musicals used to be filmed more proscenium style. Did you have to make extra efforts in not over cutting the film?

Condon indicated that he worked closely with the cameraman. The movie itself was designed for the camera. The way that you shoot musicals is you try to “duplicate the feeling and excitement of a live audience.”

Q: What was the evolution of the script for DREAMGIRLS?

Condon eluded to it being a one man show—with David Geffen on board he didn’t have to go through the traditional studio bureaucracy.

Q: If the movie went on to say the 90’s, 00’s, where would it go?

Condon said the movie ended in 1975, but maybe there would be “DREAMGIRLS-THE SEQUAL—they all meet up at Deena’s funeral…”

RB

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