This is an exciting time to create your own film festival at home. Many fest favorites are coming to DVD and VOD in the new month – some even will have a quick theatrical run prior.
I love film festivals so I can discover little gems that won’t ever play a multiplex. It’s fun to find a movie and share it with your friends and then see how it find its own audience, and sometimes become a breakout award winning hit.
So I am so happy to share some great titles that are finally reaching a larger audience.
One of my festival favorites, “That’s Not Us,” has just been released. I immediately feel like I made friends with the cast members when we met at San Francisco’s Frameline Film Festival. I related to their story of a fun weekend getaway. This is truly a relatable film for everyone as there’s a gay couple, lesbian couple and straight couple – all at different crossroads in their relationships. The acting is honest and refreshing. It certainly isn’t one to miss and you can see their chemistry in our interview: www.tinyurl.com/ThatsNotUs. It was released April 18 and you can order it at https://itun.es/us/L_J8ab
“52 Tuesdays” is already out on DVD (available from many sources) and was in festivals a few years ago. Yet, with its recent home release and long time making it’s way through the worldwide festival circuit, it qualified this year for a GLAAD Media Award for Best Film (Limited Release). The way this was filmed is actually cinematic genius. This is the tale of a woman transitioning into a man and the story takes place every Tuesday and was literally filmed every Tuesday for a year. We not only watch the transformation but we see the changing relationship with the daughter who happens to spend every Tuesday at home.
“Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson” actually didn’t jump out to me as a movie I’d like. Well, I was wrong. I completely embraced this documentary from filmmaker Jane Anderson who feels a bond with her late great aunt and takes a journey to learn more about her. The two seem spiritually connected as they both are lesbian artists. Yet poor Edith Lake Wilkinson was locked into an asylum because in her day, it wasn’t accepting to be gay. Anderson not only uncovers some truths about the wrong doings of her great aunt, but she discovers – as the title says – in a family attic some of the master work of this undiscovered artist. A not to be missed movie and available at www.wolfevideo.com.
“Proxy” has never been seen in the San Francisco Bay Area and also didn’t make it to LA’s Outfest. Thank goodness for Palm Springs’ Cinema Diverse and other worldwide festivals, where I discovered this wonderful film that comes out April 26. Like “That’s Not Us,” this deals with a bunch of closely knit people – but this time, it’s more fun to watch the movie and see how they are inter-related, when in “Us” the relationships were clear. It’s also an amazing movie that deals and discusses the HIV virus, but never mentioning the word. Writer/director/co-star Brandon Deyette shows great promise in front and behind the camera and draws out also wonderful performances from Charlie Harding, who proves he’s ready to move away from gay porn, and Sadako Pointer, who is luminous in every shot, and is a surprisingly talented actress from a family known for singing (The Pointer Sisters).
There’s several movies out there called “Proxy” so get the right one at www.proxythefilm.com.
May starts off with the DVD release of “Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party,” out May 3. Henry’s afternoon party seems picture perfect for it’s all free of sin and desire, especially with Henry’s ultra religious family and their connection with the church. But Henry doesn’t know where to turn to share his gay feelings, afraid of being condemned by the church and his family. We learn secrets have a way of coming out and it’s not just Henry’s. This is a true sleeper that kind of played under the radar but shouldn’t be missed. Get it through www.wolfevideo.com.
Before its June DVD release, the wonderful “Those People” will screen in New York and Los Angeles beginning May 5. This was definitely one of my favorite film festival titles. Not only is it a beautiful tale of unrequited love with our lead Jonathan Gordon aching for the attention of his best friend played by Jason Ralph. The film shows how Ralph uses this to his advantage and then further delves into Ralph’s character’s life of isolation as, while he is a rich kid from New York’s Upper East Side, every time he goes in public, he seems to have to pay for the professional sins of his father. Check out our interview at www.tinyurl.com/ThosePeopleMovie
Another festival success, “Beautiful Something” screens beginning May 6 in New York and Los Angeles and then available for home viewing May 17. Like many of these titles, this too has several story lines – and perhaps these connect like the others – and perhaps they don’t. Yet each story is one of men in a desperate search for sex, understanding and/or compassion. Each learns and evolves and not all of the outcomes are rewarding. Yet it’s compelling to watch and should be noted to keep an eye on one of its stars, Colman Domingo. He keeps amassing a great resume and soon will be a household name – even though he’s already very well known on the stage including a Tony and Olivier Award nominee.
Brian Sheppard is also worth noting and projects a lot of his intensity through his eyes, making us feel we can see his thoughts. Check out our chat with the director and Sheppard: http://tinyurl.com/BeautifulSomethingInterview
“Dressed as a Girl” is definitely a drag-approved documentary as even RuPaul is singing the praises of this British film that gives insight to some popular British drag performers. An interesting take on this film, is that not all of these performers try to “pass” as woman – they simply love the glitter, glam and attention. It’s available May 7 (and will also debut that day at RuPaul’s DragCon in Los Angeles).
After a brief theatrical run, “Eisenstein in Guanajuato” comes to home video May 10. Based
on the true story of Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein (“Battleship Potemkin”) who goes to Mexico to make a movie after being ejected from the United States. His endless days of shooting film and shocking the town with his provocative personality is only a mask for his growing sexual interest in his chaperone. The film has one of the most sexually frank scenes from any film from a mainstream director. In fact, the first time I saw it, lesbians walked out. But like anything from director Peter Greenaway, whether you like the content or not, his filmmaking is nothing short of breathtaking and the movie should be seen even just for the visual feast that Greenway puts on display. Not only with angles and use of split screen (the real people along side the actors) but he finds beauty even in a hotel room floor. One of the most visually striking films in years and it’s sad you may not have had a chance to see it on the big screen. But fortunately, a home viewing is better than nothing.