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Monday, December 31, 2007

NEW YORK UNITED FILM FEST DAY 2

NY United Festival- Day Two

Shorts:

Bitch
Lilah Vandenburgh

Bitch (Keira Leverton), an antisocial record store clerk falls for a rebel (Juan Garcia) and puts herself through the paces to impress him. Along the way, we come to appreciate Bitch’s loathing towards shallow youth culture- exemplified by an MTV-style beach show, angsty hipsters and how anything nostalgic is all the rage now among young people.
Surrounded by by-products of a society that attempts to corral young people into a homogenous way of thinking, Bitch is rather irritated by the world around her, to say the least. Her deadpan expression- holding just the slightest shade of contempt- is priceless, as she lashes out towards the pop culture clich├ęs she encounters. A hilarious opening sequence involving Bitch and a hotshot roller boy straight out of an American Apparel ad alone makes the film a gem. She’s something of an anti-heroine, a champion of individualism, which makes it all the more heart-breaking when she herself one day finds herself deeply desiring acceptance, and changes who she is to gain it.
Leverton and Garcia play off each other well as the unlikely couple, and it’s intriguing to learn just what sort of circumstances must unfold to bring two such abrasive personalities together.

Puppet
Patrick Smith

Puppet, a hand-drawn animated short tells the bizarre tale of a young man whose sock puppet morphs into an instrument of his own fear and masochism.
“The masochist will create a separate entity to accomplish a repulsive level of self-abuse” – Freud. The quote opens up the film, aptly summing up its central theme. Beginning innocently enough with a smiling man admiring his cute little bit of handiwork, the film quickly descends into a nightmarish chain of events in which the puppet turns on the young man, who is unable to escape his creation’s ill-treatment. A dark and lighthearted feel coexist- the sweet-faced look of the main character, and the fact that his enemy is merely cartoonishly menacing in appearance make the graphic and seemingly unending violence all the more unsettling. Complemented by a superb musical score, Puppet comes off as something of a character study, incorporating issues of identity, the creative process and self-loathing as it progresses through one increasingly hard-hitting image after another in rapid succession.

OM
Fredric Reshew

Set during a New York heat wave, OM cuts between a group of yoga students and a bike messenger, two radically different settings in which a serene and focused state vs. an anxious and distracted one are juxtaposed.
It would be expected that the former state of mind would more likely be found among the students. But though outwardly they appear to be at peace, as we are allowed to observe their personal thoughts- all of which are rather oppressive and put on display in intense, concentrated scenes- this proves not necessarily to be the case. On the flip side, though the messenger is understandably showing signs of great stress, nevertheless there is a certain sense of calm to his swift trek through the streets of Manhattan as he deftly dodges one obstruction after another.
As the film ties the two stories together, the reality of the human condition- of which various aspects are touched on throughout- comes at us full force in the end.

Press Play
Michael Stanmore

Press Play is set in the near future in a Big Brother-esque society in which art and music have been banned by the government. Alan Osborne (Michael Gerard) has become involved with an underground group that gathers at night to secretly enjoy what recordings are left, and after a raid, wrestles with his dilemma as to whether to make a stand.
With minimal dialogue, the film often communicates more through action (an opening scene of a violin being smashed to bits is gut-wrenching) than it does through words. A facial expression or a gesture can say it all, and though the entire cast clearly has a hold on this approach (without a doubt largely in part to excellent direction) Michael Gerard is particularly adept at utilizing these means to convey Osborne’s inner life and struggles. Moreover, Press Play’s transition from a reserved tone to that of navigating through the extreme emotional highs and lows experienced by the characters is guaranteed to hold the viewer’s attention right to what is a decidedly inspiring end.

PPL B TXT’N 2MUCH
Nick Puga

In their hip-hop music video debut, “The Sock Puppets” speak the truth on the epidemic of text messaging that has grabbed a hold of society.
Hysterical and spot-on, PPL calls us all to the carpet for our newly acquired bad habit- even acknowledging that they themselves are guilty of it. In a variety of ridiculous scenarios (some of the funniest being completely irrelevant to the matter at hand and obviously only included for their own amusement) the high-energy duo poke fun of the laziness and insecurity often behind the urge to fall back on non-verbal communication, as well as give their own two cents on when it’s ok to resort to it. What’s more, they’re actually pretty damn good rappers to boot.
PPL gets us to laugh at ourselves and admit that we all go overboard with the T9 sometimes. And though it can’t possibly be eliminated, nonetheless it may actually be a good way to at least get people to keep the tendency a little bit more in check in the future. That being said, I myself am so all about this video, I’m sending a mass email about it to everyone I know ASAP.

Hollow
Paul Bickel

The short thriller weaves through the mental impressions of a young boy (Joshua Israel), centered on his fear of an ominous red door. Starting with a scene out of an ideal childhood, the film abruptly plunges into darker territory, revealing one truly messed up family and packing a punch in a mere 9 minutes.
The plot here is not plainly laid out and relies heavily on the terrifying portraits it paints based on reflections of the boy to suggest what exactly has happened to him. Close attention has been paid to composition here- ghostly lighting (the disparity between the high- and low-key illumination of the door and all that surrounds it is downright spine-chilling) and some sharp camera work contribute to its sinister quality. This, compounded with believable performances, especially that of Joshua Israel, effectively do the job in leaving the viewer thoroughly rattled.

Feature:

Strictly Background
Jason Connell

What makes a good documentary? There appears to be universal agreement on four points: 1) subject matter the general public normally does not have access to 2) interesting people to expound on the topic with first-hand knowledge 3) a degree of tension and 4) most importantly, storyline, storyline, storyline. Strictly Background, which takes a closer look at background actors, hits the mark on all four necessary components.
The people that make up the crowd in a movie, appear behind the lead actors as they bond over lattes in restaurant scenes- these are the background actors, or “extras”. They’re crucial in providing a greater sense of authenticity, and yet due to their high numbers (estimated to be around 40,000) and the nature of the work (for the most part, their job is to blend in, not stand out), they are unknown in the world of film. The ten actors who appear In Strictly Background- all seasoned professionals- are finally given a chance to speak about life on set from their standpoint.
From the get-go, it’s clear that Connell has assembled a lively and varied bunch, all of whom enthusiastically offer their angle on the profession. It would be easy to exploit these personalities, but the film shows nothing but tremendous respect for its subjects. After being taken through the obligatory introductions and ins and outs of the business (casting agent Jeff Olan’s straightforward, man-behind-the-curtain outside perspective about the realities of background acting is a nice touch), we quickly become acquainted with the group through their anecdotes and inside scoops on career highs and lows. Each individual is distinctive from the next and all are extremely likable- naturally we become invested in them and are touched by their achievements and disappointments.
On account of these engaging personalities and the dashes of humor, the film gets off to a light-hearted start. But as it progresses and we are drawn deeper into the world of the extras, one truth becomes evident- the very fact that they’ve all been at it for years serves as a reminder that they haven’t quite gotten that break that allows for the opportunity to really shine as an actor. Therein lies the conflict; the tension manifests in the actors’ discouragement- be it by the fact that they are barely scraping by, not treated well on set, or not feeling creatively fulfilled. Of course, the more we see what wonderful people they are, the more we want them to succeed, and we hope for a sign that their conflict will be resolved.
And so the question becomes: is continuing to do background work really the best way to move up? Is the work helping them or hindering them? There’s no argument that starting with extra work is a good way to get on a set in order to better understand the process of making a film. But it only takes a few jobs to get a handle on that, and this group has been on countless sets. Yet there is very little mention of acting classes, taking on more prominent roles in independent films, or other such means actors use to develop their craft, get more performance time, and ultimately, get noticed. I was baffled on this point: it’s one thing if an actor is content with the excitement of just being on a big set (though one would think it would lose its novelty after awhile) and sees it as a lifestyle and way to make a little cash on the side. In some instances, this looks to be the case. But it’s quite another if they long to boost their income in their chosen field or to further demonstrate their ability. And if part of the job is generally to not be conspicuous, how likely is it that their unique qualities and abilities will be showcased- a must in order for them to move up to the next level?
Seeing these incredible people we’ve come to care about and believe in make little headway with no visible light at the end of the tunnel becomes discouraging- and positively heartbreaking when we see the extreme toll it takes on a few. Even if they are content where they are at, after witnessing the grind and recognizing their potential, we still want more for them. They are in no doubt some of the hardest working people in show business- but one can work hard on a treadmill too, never moving ahead. There’s that longing for them to sprint out onto the open road and consider other lines of attack to achieve their goals. However, when no evidence of this happening any time soon is offered, the film starts to sag somewhat.
Fortunately, this low point doesn’t last for too long; passion and optimism carry the group through. With heads held high they are willing to take on the next challenge, and we are left feeling confident that no matter what road they take, they will go on to live rich and fulfilling lives. And the fact of the matter is, these actors all shook up their career game plan by participating in the project. So as far as that big break? It could very well be this film.

Marleah Martin

AUSTIN ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL

2007 Asian Film Festival

The Asian Film Festival (www.cinemaasiaaustin.org) screened at several locations in Austin: UT, Coldtowne Theatre, Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC), and the Carver Museum, among others. I attended several screenings at the MACC, which is located in downtown Austin, by Lady Bird Lake (Town Lake). The MACC is a beautiful cultural facility for Latino artists, with a spacious multi-purpose space inside and a distinct landscape outside. It was perfect for the outdoor film screening. The atmosphere was ideal for the festival: intimate, spacious, and full of culture.

The Impetuous Angel (Chinese) (Narrative Feature) (2007)
Director: Guo Hua

A new college graduate (Xia) moves to a remote town in hopes of acquiring a teaching position at an elementary school. While finding her place in these new surroundings, Xia meets and befriends an orphan (Lin Lin) with AIDS. While the town members have shunned Lin Lin from the community, Xia boldly tutors the young boy and takes him under her wing. In the process, she too gets the cold shoulder from the town, which tests her values, beliefs, and integrity.

The story’s compelling, endearing, and unfortunately still relevant in today’s times. AIDS is a social issue that individuals fear, challenge, and judge. Envisioning a child living with AIDS, the film challenges the audience’s own beliefs and values, pushing people out of their comfort zone. It’s a film worth viewing.

Generational Threads Short Films:

Tailor Made (Documentary Short) (2007)
Director: Len Lee & Marsha Newberry

Two aging brothers, tailors their entire lives in Vancouver, struggle to decide what to do with their family tailoring business. Over the years, custom tailors have become insignificant and unneeded in today’s world of factory suit-making and clothing lines. The last year of their business is shown in this touching documentary.

Mosuo Song Journey (Documentary Short) (2007)
Director: Diedie Weng

Traditional Chinese Mosuo folk songs have been disappearing from the cultural landscape, with the continuing modernization and commercialism of rural townships and isolated villages. Part of this commercialism resulted from demand of tourists, however, villages benefit from the revenue by supporting their families and businesses. Originally, Mosuo folk songs were sung in the mountains as individuals worked the land and traveled by foot across the mountainside. Mothers would sing to their daughters about love and family, while husbands would sing to their wives about partnership and company. As traditions fade, unfortunately, so do culture and history.

Chestnut Tree (Animated Short) (2007)
Director: Hyun-min Lee

Showing a lifelong relationship between a daughter and mother, this animated short is beautiful, emotional, and flawless. The story accounts the memories and moments the mother and daughter shared by the magnificent chestnut tree as the daughter matured through childhood.

by Krista Anderson

Friday, December 28, 2007

NY UNITED FILM FEST DAY 1


The New York United Film Festival kicked off at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City on December 15, 2007. NYUFF, an offshoot of the Tulsa United Film Festival, incorporated an eclectic group of shorts and features that ran the gamut from animation to horror to dark comedy. Although there was perhaps no readily apparent common ground between the films, festival director Jason Connell stressed his belief that what united the diverse selections was their potential to strike a nerve and resonate with the public- thereby warranting them the additional exposure and attention the festival could offer.

John F. O’Donnell and Matt Zaller hosted. The two had a great rapport and got things rolling with an off-the-cuff opening that mixed funny anecdotes, details on the fest and schwag giveaways. A small but keyed up audience was ready to check out what was looking to be a great program.

SHORT FILMS

The Seed
Directed By Joe Hahn

Half action film, half psychological drama, the Seed depicts the agonizing plight of a homeless veteran who is followed by unseen forces. Staggering by the banks of the L.A. River, Sung (Will Yun Lee) grapples with the mystery of what are seemingly his own inner demons.
Unexpected, disturbing images cut in to provide plenty of jumps and accentuate the torment Sung endures. The reasons behind Sung’s predicament are not entirely understandable- a shadowy character appears here and there with cryptic clues but for the most part, there is little to lay out exactly what’s going on here. If you can settle for getting the general gist of the plot (hint: it’s a bit Matrix-y), and take in the film for its strong points (visual effects, Lee’s convincing portrayal of the tortured main character and an especially striking climatic scene) The Seed is enjoyable. And undoubtedly, it makes the viewer reexamine the idea of the parameters of reality being necessarily determined by whether the majority of people can see it.

I Met the Walrus
Directed By Josh Raskin

In 1969, 14-year-old Jerry Lavitan managed to sneak into John Lennon’s hotel room for a chat, reel-to-reel in tow. Using the original interview recording as a soundtrack, Josh Raskin has crafted an enchanting animated film that is a must-see (and not just for the die-hard Lennon fans).
Though at first I attempted to jot down impressions, it wasn’t long before it became evident there was no way to fully take this piece in without being glued to the screen the entire time. One is left spellbound by the spectacle that is this continuous, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it flow of florid illustration which narrates Lennon’s responses to Lavitan’s questions (impressive inquiries at that, especially for a young man barely into his teens). At times laughter-inducing, and at times rather sobering, the film’s captivating imagery underscores Lennon’s viewpoints on social change that are still relevant in this day and age.

Validation
Directed By Kurt Kuenne

Even the most self-assured individuals look for outside approval to measure their worth at one time or another, and Validation explores this aspect of the human psyche in a fable about a parking lot attendant who validates customers- both literally and figuratively- with free parking and free compliments.
T.J. Thyne is delightful as Hugh New man, a man who is changing lives through his kindness. We can’t help but chuckle at his wide-eyed optimism and how it translates into positive reinforcement towards everyone he meets- especially since nearly every individual, no matter how world-weary, proves in the end to be a sucker for a compliment (comically represented by long lines of motley groups anxious to receive Hugh’s validation, who even burst into a musical number lauding Hugh!). His ability to dish out a sincere and eloquent compliment for anyone gains him notoriety, shown in amusing mock old-timey news reels (one bit has Hugh cut into a clip where he appears to be receiving a congratulatory handshake from George W. Bush). But just when it seems nothing can go wrong, he faces the hurdle of his magic having no effect on a woman he is strongly drawn to (at which point the film brilliantly sets the action at the DMV as a metaphor for utter joylessness). The upbeat feel takes a nosedive as the protagonist persistently, but unsuccessfully, strives to win over the object of his affection. Yet this is a fable, and so all is well in the end, with a somewhat schmaltzy but sweet plot twist that tugs at the heartstrings while tying up the loose ends. It’s what you might call a “feel good” film- perhaps not altogether realistic, but fun and uplifting. The smiling, happy world Hugh creates in which the defense mechanism of detachment is dropped, appreciation is shown and the good in others acknowledged seems like a nice place to be- and if there was a moral to this story, certainly the old adage of being able to capture more flies with honey than vinegar would tie in. Validated possesses the kind of message that’s needed to balance out the ever-increasing cynicism and self-absorption in our society- the message being of the mutual gain of simply showing appreciation and seeing the good in others. And of course, that it doesn’t hurt to smile now and then.

Grand Luncheonette
Directed By Peter Sillen

Telling the story of the last days of a 42nd Street hot dog lunch counter, Grand Luncheonette is testimony to the complete gentrification of the Times Square area.
The film illustrates one of these cases that is directly affected by the changing landscape of Manhattan, and follows what’s become something of a format when exposing the ills of “urban renewal”. You have your local mom-and-pop establishment that, through the years, has retained its individuality and distinct style. You’ve got your colorful cast of characters that keep things up and running, and we see them in action. Invariably, there’s always one eccentric standout that provides the requisite dose of comedy. We’re given the history of said small business- no doubt a business being steeped in tradition does something for its credibility- and there’s a little pathos thrown in there to gain our empathy for the doomed small business-owner.
Films like Grand Luncheonette need to be out there to remind the public of the effects of gentrification. It’s not that we don’t know it’s out there. We can’t help but notice the increasing McWalbucksization of metropolitan areas. But too often, in succumbing to its benefits (the major one being convenience), the public looks the other way and becomes desensitized to the very real consequences of the gentrification process- one being skyrocketing rental costs, which result in small businesses that give a neighborhood diversity and a local flavor (as well as being, in a sense, historical landmarks) being pushed out.
However, in following that standard recipe for gentrification awareness, Grand Luncheonette does not appear to contribute anything new to the subject matter. “Hey- gentrification- it’s happening! And here’s another example” will not suffice. To really hit home, we need a little more.
I longed for something to jump out, something new, something different to grab me by the collar and powerfully convey the consequences of this trend- a character that’s completely absorbing, an exceptional story, a twist on the editing- something . Instead, it seemed to blend in with so many others on the issue; and the concern is that if these types of films start blurring together as a well-intended but mushy portrait of rooting for the underdog, the public reaction could eventually end up being that same attitude of “we’ve gotten used to it” as the widespread problem they’re trying to address. Grand Luncheonette is utterly realistic and dignified in its understated tone- there’s no especially compelling personality, no overt emphasis on the tragic elements- maybe that’s how it really is. The owner merely accepts the reality of the situation and moves on. Unfortunately, this style may not be as effective in getting the point across. The film would perhaps work better if included in a feature made up of a series of vignettes focusing on the topic, rather than standing on its own. Nonetheless, the fact still is that it’s covering an important topic, which in itself makes the film one not to be dismissed and worth watching.

Mola Ser Malo (It’s Cool to Be Bad)
Directed By Alam Raja Verges

Mola Ser Malo is the narration of a young man (Fernando Ramallo) as he struggles with his vices and overcomes the obstacles that stand in the way of him attaining his dream girl and finding real fulfillment.
It almost sounds like your standard coming-of-age film of rebellious youth. And yet, it doesn’t make the obvious choices. For one, there’s an offbeat central theme of chicken, and the fact that at one point, the protagonist too easily gives up on the chase, reverting to his old ways and leaving us stumped as to how this will all pan out. The young man’s path has plenty of twists and turns; and this, with the narrator’s clever wit, vibrant cast (a mix of eccentric oddballs and extraordinarily attractive young people) and lightning fast pace amount to a highly entertaining watch.

Blow: A Public Service Announcement
Directed By Dick Thompson

Ever seen that show on Comedy Central, Robot Chicken? Like Robot Chicken? Then you’ll like Blow. Featuring a Barbie doll hooked on the yayo, Blow exposes the dangers of cocaine addiction to the tune of White Lines (of course) in a mock public service announcement (that- did I mention this?- looks a lot like Robot Chicken). Barbie gets progressively worse as her little dog (of course) looks on, making more and more of an embarrassment of herself right up to the cringe-worthy gross-out ending. It’s silly. It’s predictable. It’s juvenile. But it just goes to show that there will possibly always be something innately funny about taking a symbol of smug wholesomeness and altogether corrupting it. Barbie- she’s just like us!

Rest Stop for the Rare Individual
Directed By Roberto Bentivegna

Paul (A.J. Handegard) is having a hell of a time in acting class. George (Barnet Senegal) on the other hand, is doing wonderfully. The two get together after class, at which point George makes the suggestion of Paul temporarily taking his place for his side job. Paul is hesitant, but agrees- and finds himself on his way to the Chelsea Hotel to meet an older man. It goes without saying that he gets more life experience than he bargained for.
A tribute to the hotel? A jab at method acting? Unfortunately, the film’s objective is not altogether clear. However, the acting is solid (particularly Bill Weeden as the creepy older man who has George completely dumbfounded from the start), as is its unique art direction.

FEATURE FILM

Chasing Ghosts
Directed By Lincoln Ruchti

Retro culture- for whatever reason, we’re fascinated by that which helps to define a particular era and what it was to live in it - whether we were actually there to see it or not- though the draw is probably that much stronger when one can remember being there and what it was like. Now imagine how much more you might gravitate to specific aspects of that era if they represented not only some of the greatest moments in your life, but also overwhelming, first-time success. Then for some, if the rest of life never quite lived up those glorious moments- you can presume that the tendency to “go back” is significantly magnified, almost akin to a gravitational pull. This is the psychological experience Chasing Ghosts delves into. That’s not to say that it isn’t a fascinating account of the rise and fall of the 1980s arcade craze as well- the focus being on a select group of young men who were the stars of this subculture.





The film takes us back to 1982, to the small town of Ottumwa, Iowa- dubbed the “Video Game Capital of the World”. It was here that the arcade fad took off (due in no small part to the inception of official scorekeeping led by Ottumwa video-game aficionado Walter Day), elevating the young people who were the best of the best at games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Berzerk to celebrity status. And just rapidly as the fad blew up, it was over. The former whiz kids who dominated the arcades (most of whom appeared in a group photo on a now iconic Life magazine cover), are tracked down and interviewed on their perceptions and recollections of that time. Memories, grudges (to this day!), humorous accounts, and even confessions surface and- as already stated- though we learn a lot of fun facts about the history of retrogaming, what’s more interesting is the effects the whole phenomenon had- and still has- on these ex-superstars.
The one thing all these men have in common is their respect for and love of the games they played in their brief careers as professional gamers. It’s something of a brotherhood that they’ve formed. Those years were a strong influence on them and shaped who they are today. As far as to what degree they were affected by being built up, then having the rug yanked out from underneath them when they were- well- on top of their game- it varies depending on the courses of their lives. On one end of the spectrum, there are those who have a fulfilling existence, and time to time look back fondly on their 15 minutes. Somewhere in the middle there are the ones whose main focus shifted to the priorities acquired in adulthood, but who still have something of a fanatical passion for video games factoring prominently into their lives. Then there are those who never seemed to move on and find replacement aspirations as strong as the ones they had 25 years ago. But in most cases the title Chasing Ghosts is pertinent on some level- wanting something in 1982, not getting it, and always having that wistful side enticed by the pursuit of the elusive dream of fame and fortune.Chasing Ghosts is a walk down memory lane for those who grew up on the classic games, a history lesson for those who did not. But it’s the characters that make the film. At times the goofy oddball stereotype is played up, but as we get to know them for the engaging, even charismatic personalities they are, it’s impossible not to become completely absorbed in the story of their glory days.

Following the first night was the afterparty at Barcade, a Brooklyn bar where the walls are lined with nearly every popular 80's arcade game you can think of. A couple of the guys from Chasing Ghosts were there, intently honed in on whichever game was their area of expertise. Me, I have an appreciation for- but alas, do not share- those gaming skills. And so, with a few friends in tow, I took advantage of the two-for-one instead, as well as the opportunity to chat with Mr. Connell a little more and a few of the filmmakers. Great party at a great venue- always a festival bonus.

Marleah Martin

Sunday, December 2, 2007

OUTFEST FUSION 1

I love the Egyptian Theatre. It is such an amazing venue and LA is blessed to have such a historical theatre still operating in the city. Thank you American Cinematheque!! This is the theatre that first premiered the amazing A Star Is Born (The Judy Garland version) and so many other classic films.

I also love Outfest. They truly know how to throw an amzing party. And the films they program are almost always top rate. They are the oldest contigous festival in Los Angeles and this is Fusions 5th anniversary. It is also the only festival of it's kind in the world. From the opening announcement it is clear that this is a strong festival. "We're here, we're queer... and we intend to be recognized!

Before the opening night films were shown, Outfest gave a tribute award to a significant LGBT filmmaker. Cheryl Dunye, has had her work screened all over the world. She writes, directs, produces and stars in her work. She created a name for her style of work, "dunyementaries" because she is the subject in her early work. Her first feature "Watermelon Woman" was like most of her work as much social commentary as love story, comedy, drama! She is an amazing artist and I was pleased that Outfest recognized such an important director.
Now onto the films!!

The opening night shorts collection is a fantastic group of extremely well made films.

THE MATCHMAKER
Directed By Cinzia Puspita Rini

What am adorable film. A beautiful young lady seems to be admiring the cute male owner of a bookstore. He seems to be falling for her and she seems to be falling for him.... BUT wait for it.....She just wants to hook him up with her best gay pal. Highlarious!! A funny, cute, quirky, well acted film.

MAKE A WISH
Directed By Cherien Dabis

A young girl wants to buy a birthday cake. She does everything she can to get the money and by the end your heart is broken. A sweet inspirational film from war torn Palenstine about love loss and rememberance.

EL PRIMO
Directed By Nick Oceano

A bookish teenager goes to visit family and falls for his older and more mature cousin. A wonderfully acted and directed film. This is a story that most everyone has lived (maybe not with a cousin but hey..). Nick Oceano truly captures what it means to feel out of place. This was a world premiere and I truly loved it. Great performances from everyone in this short.

KALI MA
Directed By Soman Chainani

What can you say about a film you just love to watch, except bravo! This campy classy funny film is just a perfect piece of celluloid. A star making turn from the mother (Kamini Khanna) makes this film a joy from start to finish. Brendan Bradley is delicously evil as the foil that awakes protective Kali in the mother. I LOVE THIS FILM!

PARIAH
Directed By Dee Rees

This is a film that will launch the career of the filmmaker. It is amazing. The story, character and style of this film sets it as one of the best films of the year. this is the third tiome I have seen this movie. It won awards at LA Film Festival and Outfest this year. I really hope to see it on the nomination list for an Oscar. The performances by Adepero Oduye and Pernell Walker are extrordinary. Dee Rees is my pick for filmmaker to watch!! An extremely well crafted and mature film that makes you feel every ounce of pain and confusion.

The after party was hosted by Absolut as always at an Outfest party. It was jam packed with DJ's spinning and people spawled all throughout the Egyptian inside and out. In attendance were alot of GLBT stars.

Kristoffer