Copenhagen Gay & Lesbian Film Festival: ‘Dream Boy,’ ‘Dostana’
The 2009 edition of the Copenhagen Gay & Lesbian Film Festival runs Oct. 16-25.
Among the festival’s “themes” this year are “Documenting Denmark,” “Daddy Cool,” “Cry for Me Argentina,” and “Bollywood Goes Gay.”
Screening films include Jan Krüger’s Rückenwind, which follows a young couple (Sebastian Schlecht, Eric Golub) on a bike trip in the woods that turns nightmarish after they meet with a lone mother and her shy teenage son; Iben Haahr Andersen and Minna Grooss’ documentary Hello My Name Is Lesbian, in which several lesbians talk about their outlook in life; Mette Aakerholm’s Norwegian documentary Min stolte far/ Daddy’s Love, about a Norwegian man who travels to the US to meet the surrogate mother of his recently born son; and Saskia Bisp’s Nobody Passes Perfectly, composed of a series of tableaus featuring two different individuals so as to show “how it is possible to have a free and intense romantic relationship while defining your own gender.”
Also, Markku Hieikkinen’s Finnish-made All Boys, a look into the gay erotica industry; Lucía Puenzo’s love story A Fish Child, in which an upper-class Buenos Aires teenager dreams of escaping to Paraguay to begin a new life with her maid; Pascal-Alex Vincent’s road movie Donne-moi la main / Give Me Your Hand, about a pair of twin brothers (Alexandre and Victor Carril) traveling to their mother’s funeral; and Christophe Honoré’s musical Les chansons d’amour / Love Songs, featuring a happy threesome (two girls and a guy) that is disrupted following a tragic accident – though the male third (Louis Garrel) finds a new lease of love thanks to a Shakespeare-inspired young man (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet).
And Tarun Mansukhani’s Bollywood comedy Dostana, about two close friends (John Abraham, Abhishek Bachchan) who pretend to be gay in order to rent a penthouse in Miami; James Bolton’s Dream Boy, a portrait of two young men (Stephan Bender, Maximillian Roeg) who develop a romantic relationship in 1970s rural Louisiana; and Richard Oswald’s 1919 drama Anders als die Andern / Different from the Others, described as “the first sympathetic depiction of homosexuality in the history of film,” in which Conrad Veidt plays a violinist who falls in love with one of his pupils. (According to the Copenhagen gay festival’s notes, Different from the Others was made “in collaboration with Magnus Hirschfeld, progressive sex researcher at the time [and who plays a doctor in the film], as a protest against the infamous [anti-gay] Section 175.”)
Sonia Sebastian’s Girl Seeks Girl (top); Glenn Gaylord’s Eating Out 3: All You Can Eat (middle); Jochen Hick’s The Good American (bottom)
Gay Documentary Banned + ‘Baby Jane’ at Chicago LGBT Film Festival
Thunska Pansittivorakul’s Thai-made experimental documentary This Area Is Under Quarantine, which discusses the difficulties faced by both gays and Muslims in Thailand, has been banned by that country’s Ministry of Culture from showing at next month’s World Film Festival of Bangkok.
According to a report in the Bangkok Post, the problem has less to do with an outright ban of the film’s themes – which includes mention of the Tak Bai Incident of 2004, a case of police/army brutality that left nearly 100 Muslim protesters dead in the southern Thai province – than with labyrinthine new laws involving ratings committees and subcommittees that are supposed to classify films shown at special screenings or festivals.
On his Facebook page, Pansittivorakul states the following about This Area Is Under Quarantine and the current state of censorship in Thailand:
“In these past few years, there is growing unrest in Thailand. For me, the root of our problems which have never been reviewed is ‘Thainess.’ We are taught to believe that Thai people should have good morals since our country is Buddhist country. That makes our Ministry of Culture spends most of their time in working on media censorship. Hatred of Muslim occurs in some people’s heart but they have to hide their true feeling under ‘Thai smile.’ My film is still in the same style as I did before. It was made to observe a small life in Bangkok, the city of conflicts, the town that we’re trying to pretend that we’re civilized. This film will lead you to be trapped in a small hotel room in the middle of Bangkok (The hotel is now demolished and moved) in order to listen to an opinion from the output of the development of the metropolis which is called in Thai ‘Krung Thep’ or ‘City of Angels.'”
The World Film Festival of Bangkok takes place from Nov. 6-15.
Chicago Lesbian & Gay Film Festival: ‘Baby Jane’ & Loving Hollywood
Reeling 2009 (website), this year’s edition of the Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival, kicked off on Thu., Nov. 5, with a screening of Casper Andreas’ The Big Gay Musical.
Upcoming feature films include:
- Billy Clift’s Baby Jane, a recreation of What Ever Happened with Baby Jane? starring real drag queens playing the two female leads – as opposed to Joan Crawford and Bette Davis playing drag queens playing the two female leads.
- Florencia Manovil’s romantic drama Fiona’s Script, about an insecure bisexual woman who reluctantly enters into a relationship with a ladies’ tomboy.
- Rob Williams’ Make the Yuletide Gay, a family Christmas comedy about a young gay man who returns to the closet while at his parents’ home, but whose holiday bliss is threatened by the appearance of his fey boyfriend. The drama in this one doesn’t work all that well while the romance feels more than a bit off-kilter, but some of the comedic moments – especially the ones involving Mom (Kelly Keaton), Mom’s Rival Neighbor (Alison Arngrim), and Rival Neighbor’s Deceptively Straitlaced Daughter (Hallee Hirsh), are quite funny. As a plus, Keith Jordan delivers a likable, unaffected performance as the closet case.
- Jason Bushman’s perceptive, funny, and quite touching Hollywood, je t’aime, featuring remarkable performances by Eric Debets, Chad Allen, Diarra Kilpatrick, and Michael Airington.
- Susan and Wayne Boyer’s Not Fade Away, in which a lesbian (Liz Jahren) must resolve lingering issues with her mother (two-time Oscar nominee Shirley Knight), who’ll soon be lost to Alzheimer’s disease.
- Described as a “gay parody of Lifetime Channel movies,” Paul Hart’s Homewrecker stars Dylan Vox (of The Lair) as an ex-con intent on ruining the lives of the two male lovers who zapped his up-and-coming career as a sitcom actor.
Reeling, which comes to a close on Nov. 15, will present 59 different screenings, including 33 narrative feature films, 10 programs of documentary features and featurettes, and 16 programs of shorts, in addition to 7 after-parties and a panel discussion.
Festival screening venues include Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema (2828 N. Clark St.), Film Row Cinema (Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash Ave.), Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport Ave.), and the Festival’s home base at Chicago Filmmakers (5243 N. Clark St.).
Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
The 2009 edition of the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (website) runs from Oct. 16-25.
Among the screening films are:
Bette Gordon’s Handsome Harry, starring Jamey Sheridan as a 52-year-old, divorced ex-Navy man who, following an encounter with an old – and dying – Navy buddy (Steve Buscemi), decides to face an uncomfortable issue from his past. Also in the cast: Campbell Scott, Aidan Quinn, Titus Welliver, and John Savage.
Two documentaries on transvestites/transsexuals: Fernanda Tornaghi and Ricardo Bruno’s Queen of Brazil, about the 32-year-old Miss Gay Brasil beauty pageant, and Queens at Heart, about pre-Stonewall transsexuals. According to the festival’s website, “the only remaining print of [Queens at Heart] had been neglected and was badly faded, but thanks to the Outfest Legacy Project, the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival is the first festival to show a newly restored 35mm print!”
Ellen Seidler and Megan Siler’s And Then Came Lola, inspired by the German hit Run, Lola, Run. In this San Francisco-set, lesbian version of the story – or rather, stories – Lola (Ashleigh Sumner) is a photographer who has to deliver some prints to her girlfriend (Jill Bennett) way across town. Lola must get there quick, else an alluring seductress may end up getting the girl. Among the “what if?” possibilities are a threesome, meter maid bondage, and anonymous alley sex, which makes this version sound much more interesting than the German original.
Adapted by Tore Renberg from his own novel and directed by Stian Kristiansen, the coming-of-age comedy-drama The Man Who Loved Yngve follows a small-town Norwegian (male) teen who becomes fascinated with a new (male) student at his school. According to the festival’s site, The Man Who Loved Yngve was a major box office hit in Norway upon its release. Additionally, the film won five Amandas – Norway’s Oscars: best film, best children’s/youth film, best director, and best editing.
Richard Laxton’s An Englishman in New York stars John Hurt as the über-flamboyant Quentin Crisp, described by the festival’s site as “arguably the most colorful, witty, and nonconformist gay figures [sic] of the 20th century.” Whether you agree wholeheartedly with that statement or you find it total b.s., John Hurt should make An Englishman in New York – the festival’s opening-night gala event – well worth a look. Hurt, by the way, can also be seen in The Naked Civil Servant, a 1975 movie in which he plays a younger version of Quentin Crisp.
There will also be a West Side Story sing-along for those who are into that sort of stuff. Dunno if that’ll include a dance-along as well.
Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival Awards
Oct. 26 update:2009 Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival: Oct. 16-25.
BEST FEATURE FILM: The Man Who Loved Yngve, directed by Stian Kristiansen
FEATURE FILM HONORABLE MENTION: I Can’t Think Straight, directed by Shamim Sarif
BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM: Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement, directed by Gréta Olafsdóttir and Susan Muska
BEST SHORT FILM: Diana, directed by Aleem Khan
SHORT FILM HONOURABLE MENTION: Claiming the Title, directed by Jonathan Joiner and Robert H. Martin
MOST INNOVATIVE SHORT: The Apple, directed by Emilie Jouvet
Best Narrative Feature: PRAYERS FOR BOBBY, directed by Russell Mulcahy
Best Documentary: EDIE & THEA: A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT, directed by Gréta Olafsdóttir and Susan Muska
Best Local Film: WAXIE MOON, directed by Wes Hurley
Best Short: CLAIMING THE TITLE, directed by Jonathan Joiner and Robert H. Martin
Best Boys Short: DIRTY MAGAZINES, directed by Jay J. Levy
Best Girls Short: ONE NIGHT, directed by Laura Jean Cronin
Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival website
Austin Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
The 2009 edition of the Austin Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, billed as the oldest and largest gay film festival in the American Southwest, will take place from Sept. 8-13
Among the screening films are:
Writer-director Caspar Andreas’ Between Love & Goodbye, in which two lovers, Marcel (Justin Tensen) and Kyle (Simon Miller), find their happiness seriously threatened once Kyle’s former prostitute transgender sister (Rob Harmon) moves in with them.
Fred M. Caruso’s The Big Gay Musical, the story of two actors, Paul (Daniel Robinson) and Eddie (Joey Dudding), whose private lives mirror their stage roles in a play called “Adam and Steve, Just the Way God Made ’em”: while Paul searches for True Love, Eddie struggles with his reactionary parents. Adult-film superstar Brent Corrigan has a cameo.
Jim Verburg’s five-minute short For a Relationship, which uses photographs to chronicle the filmmaker’s two-year relationship with another man.
Shamim Sarif’s I Can’t Think Straight, about a Jordanian woman (Lisa Ray) and an Indian woman (Sheetal Sheth) who fall in love, but must first find a way out of their stifling cultures. Curiously, that same year – 2007 – both Ray and Sheth (two of the most stunning-looking actresses around) starred in another forbidden lesbian love drama directed by Sarif, The World Unseen, set in Apartheid-plagued South Africa.
In Tracy D. Smith’s short On the Bus, an insecure young man manages to talk to the man of his dreams – but only in his head.
Directed by Ron Daniels and written by Bruce McLeod and Naomi Wallace, The War Boys focuses on three childhood friends, David (Benjamin Walker), George (Brian J. Smith), and Greg (Victor Rasuk), who, while hunting illegal border-crossers, realize that both their mutual relationship and their own individual lives have more shady layers and dark corners than the Rio Grande.
Out on Film, Atlanta’s gay & lesbian film festival (website), kicked off last night with a screening of Casper Andreas’ The Big Gay Musical. The festival runs until Oct. 8.
Among the screening films are:
Glenn Gaylord’s Eating Out 3: All You Can Eat, featuring hunky guys, some identity mix-ups, a three-way sex scene, and Mink Stole.
John G. Young’s Rivers Wash Over Me, about a gay teen New Yorker who is forced to move in with his family in the rural South.
Ellen Siedler and Megan Siler’s And Then Came Lola, a lesbian-themed version of the German hit Run, Lola, Run.
Doug Sebastian’s A Cross Burning in Willacoochee, a documentary about the filmmaker and his lover’s victimization in a bigoted small Georgia town in 1993.
Todd Verow’s The Boy with the Sun in His Eyes, in which a young man finds himself involved with a B-movie actress and her bizarre companions.
Wendy Jo Carlton’s Hannah Free, starring Sharon Gless in a portrait of “the lifelong love affair between an independent spirit and the woman she calls home.”
Jason Bushman’s Hollywood, je t’aime, a pleasant, touching, beautifully acted comedy-drama about a Frenchman who travels to Los Angeles, where he meets up with a group of assorted misfits. In the cast: Eric Debets, Chad Allen, Michael Airington, Diarra Kilpatrick.
James Bolton’s Dream Boy, the story of a shy teenager who falls in love with another teen in the rural American South. In the cast: Stephan Bender, Maximillian Roeg, and Academy Award nominee Diana Scarwid (for Inside Moves back in 1980), who played Joan Crawford’s daughter in Mommie Dearest.
Simon Pearce’s Shank, a British drama revolving around the life and love of a rough young thug. Written by Darren Flaxstone and Christian Martin. (Shank caused a furor of sorts after it was rejected by the BFI’s London Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.)
The mid-1960s Andy Warhol flicks Blow Job and My Hustler. The former is about you-know-what (but the focus is all on the receiver’s face, not his genital area); the latter features an effeminate type and his hustler, played by Paul America (above), whom apparently everyone on Fire Island wants to fuck.
Southwest Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
Among the highlights at the 2009 Southwest Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (website), which runs Oct. 9-15 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, are:
Tom Murray’s Amancio: Two Faces on a Tombstone, about the brutal murder of Yuma-based drag performer Amancio Corrales, whose body was found floating in the Colorado River. The local police didn’t seem all that interested in solving the case, but Yuma resident Michael Baughman became determined to keep the hate crime in the public eye.
Chaim Elbaum’s Israeli short And Thou Shalt Love tells the story of a young man studying in the special “Hesder” program for orthodox soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces. Much to his chagrin, said young man eventually comes to realization that he must answer some thorny questions to both himself and his god.
Sonia Sebastian’s Girl Seeks Girl is a romantic comedy set in Madrid featuring several gorgeous lesbians. The film is an amalgam of the first episodes of a Spanish television series à la The L Word.
In Bohdan Sláma’s Czech drama The Country Teacher, a Prague teacher finds refuge from his personal problems at an elementary school in a Czech village. Once there, he becomes attached to both an older woman and her 17-year-old son. Things become complicated when the teacher’s boyfriend arrives from the big city.
Richard Laxton’s An Englishman in New York, starring John Hurt as Queen of Queens Quentin Crisp.
Directed by Paul Morrison and written by Philippa Goslett, Little Ashes stars teen idol Robert Pattinson as (gasp!) Salvador Dali, Javier Beltran as Federico Garcia Lorca, and Matthew McNulty as Luis Buñuel. In the film, Dali develops feelings for Garcia Lorca, but can’t quite handle them. Garcia Lorca, for his part, is the victim of an internal war between his sexual desires and his strict Catholic upbringing. And then comes the Spanish Civil War to mess things up even more.
In Simon Pearce’s Shank, a British thug discovers love of a kind he wasn’t quite expecting.
Ron Daniels’ The War Boys follows three former high-school friends-turned-border vigilantes whose lives – after several deep, dark secrets come to the surface – become more difficult than those of desperate Mexicans trying to cross the U.S. border.