Sunday, June 26, 2005

29th SF Intl. LGBT Film Fest - Day 10 (Closing Night)

I skipped the Gay Day Parade and Festival and went to a spectacular brunch at ex-next-door-neighbor-Tim's on Twin Peaks before popping down into the Castro for three more programs. The first was the collection of shorts "Fun In Boys Shorts":

"Billy's Dad is a Fudge-Packer" (dir Jamie Donahue 2004 USA 10 min video) This was unquestionably the best of the group! Styled as an early 60's educational video, we explore the life of little Billy as he tackles a homework assignment in which he needs to think about his future as an adult. His dad is a fudge-packer at the local candy factory. hee hee... The film is one continuous double entendre and features Cady Huffman as his mom and Alex Bornstein as the 'single lady' next door (who we THINK might have a crush on mom!). I want a copy of this! I do!

"The Sadness of Johnson Joe Jangles" (dir Jeffrey St. Jules 2004 Canada 19 min 35mm) Another one that I must get a copy of! This was a gay musical western! Ok? Enuf said? :)

"Deliriously Jen" (dir Angus Oblong 2004 USA 13 min video) A film devoted to a hilariously naive 'fag hag'. The actress wrote and produced the film for herself and she was really quite good! (I think she wants to be in "Hairspray" someday!)

"Taco Chick and Salsa Girl" (dir Kurt Koehler 2005 USA 15 min video) This isn't the first time that T.C. and S.G. has been at the festival. The first pair of videos about 3 years ago were terrible. However, they've improved! There were some genuine laughs produced by these drag queen super heroes! As long as you check your political correctness out at the door, that is...

These three were just ok and not really worth going into at this point: "Ping Pong Love" (dir Bo Mehrad 2004 USA 10 min video); "Feltch Sanders" (dir Abe Sylvia 2004 USA 12 min 16mm) (Note Diane W.: This was a gay private eye 'comedy' that might have bumped YOUR submission?!); "The Homolulu Show" (dir Frank Mosvold 2004 Norway 1 min - apparently an ad - 35mm)

And these two were just terrible! "The Devil's Day" (dir Sean Drakes 2004 USA 9 min video) Subtitled as an "experimental documentary" it was just crap; "Between the Boys" (dir Jake Yuzna 2004 USA 4 min video) What starts off as a fairly sexy little erotic treat, turns spine shivering weird as we find out that they are brothers. ick. However, the next two features cleansed the palate, as it were, starting with:

"Unconscious" (dir JoaquĆ­n Oristrell 2004 Spain 108 min 35mm in Spanish with English subtitles) This is a hysterical mystery/farce about psychoanalysis, set in 1918 in Barcelona. A woman searches for her missing husband, who is a psychoanalyst, using the notes he has made of his patients. It culminates with a visit from Freud, himself! I. Loved. This! The production design is gorgeous! The jokes were GREAT! The leading lady was a hoot! And the score... oh, the score! The main waltz theme and the various tangos were lovely! I. Must. See. Again! After the film, they made everyone exit the theatre (ugh!) before the closing night feature:

"Transamerica" (dir Duncan Tucker 2005 USA 103 min 35mm) Felicity Huffman gives a brilliant (yes, the "B" word!!) performance as a male-to-female transexual, who discovers that she is the father of a son from a dalliance with a girl when she(he) was in college. Huffman is nearly Vanessa-Redgrave-in-"Second Serve"-Brilliant! Her technique is impeccable and she literally disappears in the role. During the Q&A, the director mentioned that the Weinsteins have picked it up for distribution by their new company in December, and are already planning an Oscar campaign for her. The film itself is quite good, though I did find it a bit heavy handed at times. However, it would seem that the audience disagreed with me...

The Closing Night Party was held at the old Federal Reserve Building, across from the Embarcadero. The catering was 'ok' as far as festival parties go, though the cream puffs were fabulous! And the lines were well organized and short. There were a half dozen open bars, which are always appreciated! "Pepperspray" was the band for the night, and they are a HOOT and pretty good, too. (One interesting little occurrence included my catching the eye of this handsome man, then turning to watch the band some more, then turning around and finding that it was my Therapist's date! ack!!) Of course, the main reason we are here is for the announcement of the award winners.

The Levi's Strauss First Feature Award (juried and carrying a $10K check) went to:
"GYPO" dir Jan Dunn 2005 UK 100 min 35mm (I did not see this, as it was filmed under the rules of Lars Van Treir's Dogma95, which is sort of scary under the BEST of conditions...)

The Michael J. Berg Documentary Award (juried and carrying a $10K check) went to:
"ZERO DEGREES OF SEPARATION" dir Elle Flanders 2005 Canada 90 min video in Hebrew & Arabic with English subtitles (I did not see this one either, as it concerned a pair of Israeli-Palestinian couples and the outrageous difficulties that such an arrangement would create. It just sounded too... oh gawd... How political can this get?)

The Audience Award for Best Short Subject (via audience ballot, but no cash prize) went to:
"IN MY SHOES — STORIES OF YOUTH WITH LGBT FAMILIES" dir Jen Gilomen 2005 USA 30 min video (No! I didn't see THIS one, either!! argh! This was part of the "New Youth Films" program, which I wasn't interested in, and actually, sort of afraid of.)

The Audience Award for Best Documentary (no cash here, either) went to:
"BLOOD, SWEAT AND GLITTER" dir Sasha Aicken 2005 USA 80 min video (Finally! Yes, I saw this - see Day 2, dated on June 19 - and LOVED it!! I agree that it was probably my favorite doc in the fest!)

The Audience Award for Best Feature (no cash here, but it'll get pull-quotes on the posters) went to:
"TRANSAMERICA" dir Duncan Tucker 2005 USA 103 min 35mm (I found it oddly suspicious that the balloting for the closing night feature was thorough enough for a win, but it was the only feature I witnessed a 'jump to your feet' standing ovation for. Plus, it is the most 'queer' of any of the features and isn't as much of a downer as "Loggerheads" - see Day 4, dated on June 21 - which would be MY choice for Best Feature. Ah well. At least I saw it!)

After that, Pepperspray started playing some more, but my job was finished and I left...

Next: Perhaps the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, July 8, 9 and 10...? :)

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