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Deep Blue Sea + Walking on the Moon & Mars Visit: Docs Set in Extraordinary Places

Deep blue Sea visit by Howard Hall
Deep blue sea explored in Howard Hall’s documentary Deep Sea 3D.

Deep Sea 3D, Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D, and Roving Mars will be screened as part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 26th annual “Contemporary Documentaries” series on Wednesday, November 28, at 7 p.m. at the California Science Center’s IMAX Theatre in Los Angeles. Admission is free.

Directed by Howard Hall and produced by Toni Myers and Michele Hall, Deep Sea 3D showcases marine biodiversity, which, thanks to overfishing, is becoming less diverse by the minute. The documentary explains how sea species interact within their highly complex – and fragile – marine communities. If those go, the planet will likely follow. Myers and Hall will be present to answer audience questions.

Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D by Mark Cowen

Directed by Mark Cowen, and produced by Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman, and Cowen, Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D depicts the development of American space exploration, especially of the 12 Apollo astronauts. The documentary uses a combination of newly revealed photographs, previously unreleased NASA footage, and CGI reconstructions of the lunar landscape. Cowen will be on hand to take part in a discussion with audience members.

Directed by George Butler, and produced by Frank Marshall and Butler, Roving Mars documents the mission that sent two robot explorers – Spirit and Opportunity – to Mars. Associate producer Tara Grace will be on hand to answer questions about the film.

The IMAX screenings conclude the first part of the “Contemporary Documentaries” series which presented several of the 2006 Academy Award-nominated films as well as other documentaries considered by the Academy that year. The series will resume in March 2008 and continue through June.

The California Science Center’s IMAX Theatre is located at 700 State Drive in Exposition Park, near downtown Los Angeles. All seating is unreserved. For IMAX information, visit www.californiasciencecenter.org. For additional information, visit www.oscars.org or call (310) 247-3600.

Photos: Courtesy of IMAX/Warner Bros. (Deep Sea 3D), JPL/NASA/CalTech (Roving Mars), IMAX/Playtone (Magnificent Desolation)

Fusion

>Fusion 2007: The 5th Los Angeles LGBT People of Color Film Festival is a three-day event, Nov. 30 – Dec. 2 at the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Blvd., showcasing motion pictures centered on non-heterosexual “people of color.” The absurdity of that very concept notwithstanding – last time I looked, white was a color – Fusion provides a chance for Los Angeles audiences to check out several hard-to-find movies from different parts of the globe. And if the synopses below – from Outfest itself – make some of the films sound less than appetizing, that’s not the filmmakers’ fault.

Vera (1987), Sergio Toledo’s straightforward, unsentimental, and quite touching look (from a novel by Sandra Mara Herzer) at gender identity and gender roles. Ana Beatriz Nogueira, who is remarkably good as Bauer (née Vera), won the best actress award at the 1987 Berlin Film Festival.

Fusion also includes workshops, panel discussions, and parties. See schedule below.

Friday, November 30

8:00pm
OPENING NIGHT GALA

THE MATCHMAKER Dir. Cinzia
Things aren’t always what they seem when a beautiful woman in a bookstore leads Darren to believe he’s about to embark on a romantic journey.

MAKE A WISH Dir. Cherien Dabis
A young Palestinian girl will do whatever it takes to buy a birthday cake.

EL PRIMO Dir. Nick Oceano
A sheltered teenager visits his tough, older cousin in Laredo, Texas and learns a lesson about what it means to be a man.

KALI MA Dir. Soman Chainani
A suburban Indian mother delivers her own brand of vigilante justice when she finds out her son is being bullied.

PARIAH Dir. Dee Rees
A Bronx teen unsuccessfully juggles multiple identities to please her friends and family.

Plus: SPECIAL TRIBUTE to Cheryl Dunye

10:00pm
GALA AFTER-PARTY

An electric party with music that will make you move, delicious food from hot LA restaurants, and a hosted Absolut bar.

Saturday, December 1

12:00pm
ROME AND JULIET
Rigler Theatre
Dir. Connie S.A. Macatuno, 2007, Phillippines, 135 min.

Juliet, a conservative young preschool teacher from a modest family, is soon to be married to Marc, a handsome and successful man from a prominent family. Overwhelmed by her many commitments, Juliet hires Rome, a beautiful and independent businesswoman, as her wedding planner. A special and deep friendship develops between the two women, evolving into something that neither of them has previously experienced or can even explain. As Juliet’s wedding day approaches, they confront their feelings for each other and consider the potential consequences of their situation, which holds the possibility of alienating them from their families, their friends, their entire culture. Director Connie S.A. Macatuno and her cast deliver a heartfelt and powerful story about a love so strong that neither family, social mores, fear nor even the lovers’ own inexperience can dampen it.

3:00pm
IN THE FIRE (EN EL FUEGO) / DAUGHTERS OF CHIQUITA
Dir. Dante Alencastre, 2007, USA/Peru, 35 min.
Dir. Priscilla Brasil, 2006, Brasil, 52 min.

In IN THE FIRE (EN EL FUEGO), Peruvian trans women are literally thrown to the dogs by police in a “Roman circus” of violence. Despite the danger of living openly in a conservative, corrupt country, these Peruvians prosper and persevere. They earn advanced degrees, work with children and stand up for themselves, effecting a change in the status quo for their LGBT community. In DAUGHTERS OF CHIQUITA, On the second Sunday of October, over two million Catholics descend on Belem for the procession of Our Lady of Nazareth. Following the procession, tens of thousands of queers, drag queens and transsexuals camp it up at Chiquita’s Party in celebration of gay pride. Attacked by other religious groups since 2004, Chiquita’s Party struggles to stay alive and crown their Chiquita drag superstar at each year’s festivities. A colorful look at an undocumented queer movement, it also explores the complex relationship between religion and homosexuality in contemporary Brazil.

4:00pm
QUEER WOMEN OF COLOR SHORTS
Spielberg Theater

At once graceful and rude, these films are lyrical portraits of the kaleidoscopic experiences, fantasies, and provocations of queer women of color who take hold of their freedom and create poetry for the future.

SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN, Dir. Charlotte Young Bowens
This raw short captures the chance laundromat encounter between a woman and the son she was forced to abandon years ago.

SLANG IT LIKE YOU OWN IT, Dir. Letesa Bruce
Shades of meaning challenge a Black lesbian from the suburbs in this laugh-out-loud comedy.

THE SAINT, Dir. Erin Wood
Darkly humorous, the picture of a Mammy is more than black and white.

WALLOW, Dir. Sarah Beth Harris
Sometimes serious, sometimes silly, a confused new filmmaker struggles to find a story amongst her many ideas.

60 YEARS OF THE SAME, Dir. Jolie Harris
The legacy of racism in Higher Education is told through the stories of early Black educators and the voices of current students.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE…, Dir. Kiki Zerrudo
This compelling documentary examines the challenges of a queer single mum raising a male child.

PRAY TING AI FLY, Dir. Vanessa Huang
This experimental short is a meditation on migration, memory and survival; a love poem for family, earth, wind, and water; a prayer call for flight and transformation.

ESCRITO, Dir. Monica Enriquez
A lyrical film about the contradictions of being a queer immigrant in the U.S.

FASHION RESISTANCE TO MILITARISM, Dir. Kim Alvarenga
A fresh and provocative look at the military’s influence on fashion and popular culture.

6:30pm
DON’T GO
Dir. Amber Sharp, 2007, USA, 60 min.
Rigler Theatre

A self-described “Melrose Place” meets “The L Word” meets “227”, DON’T GO is a refreshing take on the ensemble cast dramedy. Written and directed by Amber Sharp, the highly entertaining pilot episode of DON’T GO introduces a cast of sexy, multicultural characters living in a Los Angeles fourplex. Pansexual drama abounds in the complicated lives of a beautiful lawyer, a hot African American butch woman and her sex shop owner girlfriend (Guinevere Turner), an Indian woman escaping her traditional family (Nisha Ganatra, CHUTNEY POPCORN), and a gorgeous gay (or possibly bisexual) interior designer. With all its unexpected soap operatic twists and turns, DON’T GO beautifully balances intrigue and romance with humor and pathos, all the while challenging stereotypes and mainstream representations of people of color with fierce authenticity.

Plus shorts: THE PRETTY BOY KING OF HOLLYWOOD, Dir: Maurice Lopez and GAY BASH, Dir. Camrin Pitts

7:00pm
OUTFEST LEGACY PROJECT COLLECTION SCREENING
VERA
Dir/Scr: Sergio Toledo, 1987, Brazil, 85 min.
Spielberg Theatre

A special screening, VERA is a remarkable moving story ahead of its time. Before ‘gender queer’ or ‘transgender’ entered our vocabulary, there was Bauer, born as Vera. An orphan and poet, eighteen-year-old Bauer has left the isolated world of an orphanage for a professional job at a research facility. Challenged at work and at home to conform to conventional gender norms and conflicted with feelings for Clara, a striking woman who tests Bauer’s sexuality, Bauer must grapple with issues of masculinity and gender expression. Weaving flashbacks from Bauer’s days in the orphanage with an eclectic score, Toledo crafts a beautifully surreal story of isolation, love and identity.

* This print originated from the Outfest Legacy Collection at UCLA. The Outfest Legacy Project for LGBT Film Preservation is a partnership between Outfest and the UCLA Film & Television Archive. For more information, visit outfest.org/legacy.

9:00pm
SABOR CON FUSION

Fusion’s annual celebration of poetry, dance, music and hip-hop from a diverse array of artists.

9:30pm
STARRBOOTY
Q Rating – Explicit Sex
Dir. Mike Ruiz, 2007, USA, 83 min.
Rigler Theatre

Legendary drag glamazon RuPaul kicks butt as Starrbooty – supermodel/secret agent/vixen extraordinaire – in this gut-busting exploitation film that would make John Waters proud. When Starrbooty learns her niece has been kidnapped by her archrival, Annaka Manners, a villainous body-parts broker, Starrbooty’s only option is to go undercover as a street hooker to rescue her. The one big snag in our heroine’s plan? In order to infiltrate the prostitution underworld she has to gain street cred by going “all the way” with the johns. That’s just how dedicated Starrbooty is. Audacious, salacious, popping with scandalous full-frontal nudity and chock-full of delectably insane characters, costumes and gratuitous hair, STARRBOOTY features a supporting cast of gay porn studs (Michael Lucas, Gus Mattox, Owen Hawk) drag queens (The Lady Bunny, Candis Cayne) and a special appearance by queer pop star Ari Gold.

Plus short: DISCOPEDIA, Dir. Ho Tam
A night in AsianXpress at the Club 5ive in Toronto.

Sunday, December 2nd

12:00pm
LOVE MY LIFE
Rigler Theatre
Dir: Koji Kawano, 2006, Japan, 96 min.

Based on the popular comic by Ebine Yamaji, LOVE MY LIFE is a highly entertaining Japanese romantic comedy that captures the beauty, the joys, the drama and everything in between when you fall in love for the first time. Ichiko, an eighteen-year-old college student, wants to tell her father about her girlfriend, Eri. When Ichiko does, her father has the bigger bombshell…Ichiko’s parents are both gay! As Ichiko navigates through the terrain of early adulthood, she has to learn how to deal with homophobia, temptations and external pressures that threaten to tear Eri away from her. How will Ichiko cope with the pains of…growing up?
Plus short: SHRIMP & COOKIES, Dir. Michael Wormser
A Mooney Starr music video.

3:00pm
THE WATERMELON WOMAN
Spielberg Theatre
Dir. Cheryl Dunye, 1996, USA, 92 min.
Fusion celebrates the 10th anniversary of Cheryl Dunye’s groundbreaking first feature, THE WATERMELON WOMAN. Cheryl, a twenty-something black lesbian struggles to make her documentary about a beautiful and elusive 1930s film actress, credited in each film simply and cryptically as “The Watermelon Woman.” Yet each new discovery about this mysterious woman leads to a more intriguing personal insight for Cheryl, and even interferes with her budding love affair with the beautiful Diana (Guinevere Turner). Told through a lively film-within-a-film structure and loaded with spunky insight and humor, Dunye’s freewheeling film ultimately contemplates the subtle complexities of race, gender and romance.

3:00pm
THE DL CHRONICLES
Rigler Theatre
Dir. Deondray Gossett & Quincy LeNear, 2007, USA, 80 min.
Two of the most recent episodes of the smart, funny and provocative series THE DL CHRONICLES introduce a pair of gorgeous men living secret sexual lives. Boo is an ex-convict who can’t – much to the frustration of his girlfriend – change his lying and cheating ways as he continues to hook up with various sexual partners. When Boo suffers some sobering consequences to his actions, he’s finally forced to take a serious look at his life. In another episode, Mark faces the absurd reality of living on the DL in his own home when he asks his boyfriend to pretend to be his roommate when his cousin comes to stay. Boldly dealing with the complex issue of men on the downlow, these new episodes inspire discussion while providing unadulterated, joyous entertainment.

5:30pm
CROSSCURRENT: FUSION SHORTS
Rigler Theatre

In this program of some of the finest Fusion shorts this year, we meet a tough lady boxer, a conflicted doorman, two men on a hook-up, and a charming budding lesbian.

A TWO WOMAN ONE ACT, Dir. Vanessa Libertad Garcia
Two women face the forbidden lust between them in this musical set in the mortuary of a Los Angeles barrio.

JUST, Dir. David Maurice Gil
Two strangers acquaint themselves after meeting each other online and a passionate hook-up, for better (or worse).

FIGHTER, Dir. Sharon Barnes
AJ, a rebellious oil wrestler, uses her prize money to enter herself into an anti-gay Christian conversion program in order to break her girlfriend out of the institution.

DOORMAN, Dir. Etienne Kallos
A deeply closeted Latino doorman of a New York apartment building begins to emotionally unravel when he is seduced and dumped by a privileged college kid.

SHOOTING GERONIMO, Dir. Kent Monkman
A Cree twist on the old Western starring Miss Chief Eagle Testickle.

I’M JIN-YOUNG, Dir. Sung-eun Lee
An irrepressible little girl falls in love for the first time.

5:30pm
MUXES – AUTHENTIC INTREPID SEEKERS OF DANGER
(MUXES – AUTÉNTICAS INTRÉPIDAS BUSCADORES DE PELIGRO)
Spielberg Theatre
Dir. Alejandra Islas, 2006, Mexico, 102 min.

Out, proud and undeniably inspiring, the muxes are gay Zapotec Indians from Juchitán, Mexico, a queer paradise with a fearless community of gender transgressors who thrive amongst their straight brothers and sisters. Bravely rebelling against centuries of machismo culture these intrepid warriors in skirts have pushed gender boundaries while boldly embracing their unique status in society. Muxes have traditionally fulfilled a variety of roles in their community including providing a sexual outlet for straight men before marriage. While they are mostly fun-loving, upbeat and hopeful, the Muxes are also candid about the discrimination and rejection they often face in their culture and the pride they take in banding together to educate their community about HIV and AIDS. Heartfelt, colorful and entertaining, MUXES provides an exquisite portrait of a distinctive place where the bonds of sexual and gender identity know no bounds.

8:00pm
CLOSING NIGHT GALA
WATER FLOWING TOGETHER
Rigler Theatre
Dir. Gwendolen Cates, 2007, USA, 77 min.

This stunning documentary is a compelling, intimate portrait of Jock Soto, a gay Navajo Indian and Puerto Rican modern ballet dancer, and one of the most recognized and influential artists of his time. Raised on a remote Arizona reservation, Soto was barely 16 when he was selected by George Balanchine to join the company where he became a force of the prestigious New York City Ballet. His relationship to his heritage is one of both inherent connection and uncomfortable disconnection that defies stereotypes in the same way that his dancing transcends the expected. The film climaxes with his emotional retirement from ballet at age 40, ending his illustrious 24 year career of physically demanding excellence with the company.
IN PERSON: Jock Soto

9:30pm
CLOSING NIGHT AFTER-PARTY

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