Saturday, June 25, 2005

29th SF Intl. LGBT Film Fest - Day 8

15 hours... well, there was a 2 hour break, but still... Starting at 11:00 a.m.:

"Healing Sex" (dir Shar Rednour 2004 USA 120 min video) This isn't so much a documentary as it is a self-help video for victims of sexual abuse. It is an exceptionally well done 'course' led by Staci Haines, a therapist and somatic practitioner. The participants were particularly great, as we found out that they were not actual patients, but actors! I really couldn't tell. In fact, it was starting to worry me that these patients were being videotaped during their therapy. In actuality, they were re-enacting cases. It was a bit of a crash course at 2 hours length, however it is produced for home video and to be used, like a book, where you should stop and work on some of the exercises. It's available at: It is a video that the directors of the next short and feature should watch before continuing on their careers.

"The Last Night" (dir Matthieu Guez 2004 Canada 19 min video in English and French with English subtitles) Basically, bisexual porn from Montreal. It reminded me of Jennifer's French porn flick from "Valley of the Dolls." The two guys and the girl have a three-way, which makes all three of them depressed. Oh joy. Apparently, this program was the "B" in LGBT, as the next feature continued the theme of unpleasant and depressing bisexual relations.

"Race You to the Bottom" (dir Russell Brown 2004 USA 75 min 35mm) A guy and a girl both leave their boyfriends to have an affair for a weekend in Napa. The guy is a self-loathing ass hole. The girl, to her credit, does fight back. The dialogue is extremely unpleasant and quite forced. The actors (Cole Williams and Amber Benson) are too young to be able to handle the "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" type of confrontations. Overall, I found it quite unpleasant, even if it had some killer snarky lines. There were a couple of boos at the end credits. However, during the Q&A with the director and Amber Benson, people were fawning over it! The best quality of the film was, to paraphrase one of our great social commentators of our day, "It was film for me... to poop on!" Yes, it was lovely to be able to run to the restroom during the film and not regret missing a frame. This only helped prepare me to watch EVERY frame of the next program of a trio of short subjects called "Rugger Buggers".

"Gay Volleyball Saved My Life" (dir David Thorpe 2004 USA 8 min video) This was a quirky, humorous and autobiographical story of how a big nelly guy found some love playing gay volleyball in NYC. It was quirky as one of his issues has to do with the suicide rate in his family. It was a terribly uncomfortable moment for the audience as the short was bouncing along in a totally campy way (gay volleyball?!) and then hit a wall as he expressed his concern about committing suicide if he did not pull his life together in NYC. The director/writer/actor was present and has a charming screen presence, also.

"No Ordinary Joe" (dir Jules Nurrish 2005 UK 13 min video) A gay soccer player has a crush on another player and 'channels' the spirit of Joe Orton to get the guts to make a pass at him. Firstly, the accents were so thick and the sound distorted enough that I couldn't understand most of the dialogue. Secondly, it was sort of... dull and humor less.

"Rugger Buggers" (dir Mark Loughlin 2005 UK 45 min video) This was cosponsored by the San Francisco Fog Gay Rugby Team. Which means that they had 5 rows reserved for them in the theatre. Which means, that every time they saw themselves or other teams they liked or disliked, they began shouting, as if they were watching the live matches. The director introduced the film by putting off a percentage of the audience by explaining he wanted to show 'images of gay men who weren't old depressed aging queens, or sissies.' There were a few hisses at that one! To quote markosf , "Well, thank god hyper masculinity is not a gay stereotype, huh?" The documentary itself was about the 2004 Mark Bingham Rugby Tournament in London. And actually, what I could hear of it, it was quite funny and comprehensive. It even built some suspense and tension during the actual matches. (You would have thought that since the Fog had BEEN there, that they didn't need to scream during those sequences?) Anyway, it was all hunky and funny and cute, in a 'straight acting, straight appearing' way, of course.

At this point, it was after 6:00 pm and as neither Mark or I were interested in the next program, we decided to try some Happy Hour! Friday night. Before Gay Day. We were able to get down one drink at The Edge, aka Castro's 'bear bar,' which was PACKED with large men who have boundary invasion issues. In other words, stop shoving! We left there and I took Mark to a somewhat surprise Birthday Dinner at Ma Tante Sumi! YUMMMMM!!!! After that, Mark wanted to do some more wandering and I HAD to get back to the theater to sit down and digest during the 8:45 screening:

"The Journey" (dir Ligy J. Pullappally 2004 India 107 min 35mm in Malayalam with English subtitles) It is the story of two teenage lesbians in love, in India. It opens with a sweeping crane shot over a cliff of waterfalls, in which we are led to believe that a girl is about to jump off of. And you know how I am a sucker for a good sweeping crane shot! Especially after 8 days of hand held video. The photography was gorgeous!! The script was sweet and sincere. The performances were quite lovely, too. Considering that the director/writer created this in response to the suicide rate of lesbians in India, I really enjoyed this much more than I expected. In fact, I had not planned on seeing it all! However, it did give me a chance to grab GOOD seats for the scheduled 11:00 pm screening of:

"Trannyshack" (dir Sean Mullens 2005 USA 90 min video) It took forever to get the sold out crowd (50 percent in drag) seated and settled. And then, of course, there was the director introductions. In other words, it didn't start until nearly midnight, aka 'Drag Queen Time.' The audience was filled with drag celebs: Heklina, Chi Chi LaRue, Peaches Christ, Squeaky Blonde, etc. I was half expecting Varla Jean Merman to be there, as she is in town this weekend. Anyway, the documentary, which celebrates 10 years of Trannyshack performances at The Stud on Tuesday nights, is a pure delight!! Yes, the queens were yelling as loud as the rugby players did earlier in the day, and made it all that harder to hear what was going on. But, it is Trannyshack, where the visual transcends the verbal! I had a great time watching the highlights of the acts and some of the snarky reminisces of the interviews. I may also be in love with The Lady Steve. ;) But he wasn't present, that I am aware of.

There was an after-screening party at Heklina's house that Mark seemed quite anxious to go to, BUT it was 1:45 a.m. when we got out! I have to start the day again at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow... which includes, live and in person, Tammy Faye!! woo hoo!!

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