Saturday, June 12, 2010

Frameline 34 (SF Intl. LGBT Film Festival) Shorts Programs Preview - Pt. 1, Comedies

This year’s internationally renowned showcase for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) cinema runs June 17-27, with San Francisco screenings at the historic Castro Theatre (429 Castro Street), Roxie Theater (3117 16th Street) and the Victoria Theatre (2961 16th Street), and in Berkeley at Rialto Cinemas Elmwood (2966 College Avenue).Tickets for Frameline34 are on sale  through

Two of the most popular short subject programs Frameline presents every year are "Fun in Boys Shorts" and "Fun in Girls Shorts" - collections of short comedies for the guys and the girls - which screen, back to back on the first Saturday morning of the festival. "Dyke Delights" has quickly become a program of hysterical shorts, that rivals "Fun in Girls Shorts".

Fun in Boys Shorts, 8 films:

Gayby (dir. Jonathan Lisecki, USA , 2010 , 12 min.) Well, the program doesn't exactly start off with a bang, as this little tale of (who I found to be) an exceptionally unhappy woman turns to her best gay buddy to impregnate her.  Mind you, once we get to the act, it's all awkward and some comedy ensues. However, the majority of the film seems to spend time on how lonely she is, which raises flags, to me, as to whether she should have a baby to begin with. (This short is repeated in a later program: 'Gayby'.)

The New Tenants (dir. Joachim Back, USA , 2009 , 21 min.)  This year's Oscar-winning short subject features a recognizable cast (i.e. Vincent D'Onofrio), who seem bent on terrorizing the gay couple who just moved in. Oh, not because their gay, but because it is just one of those creepy, David Lynchesque buildings where people just seem to be consistently killing each other.  Not pretty to look at, as you can feel the grime, but in it's weird, surreal way, it is a hoot.
The Queen (dir. Christina Choe, USA , 2009 , 8 min.) "A Korean-American teenage outcast, is stuck working at his parents’ dry cleaners on prom weekend, but he creates his own night to remember."  This was an all so pleasant, little musical fantasy.

Go Go Reject (dir. Michael Saul, USA , 2010 , 20 min.) Apparently, life is hard if you're thin and have abs and want to be a male go go dancer.  Regardless of the perky charm of the lead character's performance, the premise to this is more annoying than honest.  I don't know of any club that would turn him away, other than the bear bars, but it's his fantasy, I guess.

UPDATE:  After some feedback about this recaplet, I do agree that I sound sort of bitter and have offered an exceptionally backhanded compliment to performer/writer/producer Heath Daniels. It would seem that this is an autobiographical, first film, about his attempts to find work at clubs.  All I can say to that, is he must have been going to the wrong clubs!  He can come up here to San Francisco and dance for ME anytime!  His unusually bright demeanor would be probably better showcased in a more highly stylized production that would balance against his energetic performance style.

Gay Baby (dir. Kevin Kelly, USA , 2009 , 9 min.) An interesting premise, in that genetic testing reveals that a couple's unborn son will be gay.  The father's gay panic is assuaged by an exceptionally eager store clerk at a store specializing in gay babies.  I think the device of the store sort of short changed what could have been a very unique story within the couple. However, this is painless enough.

Rubdown (dir. Dennis Hensley, USA , 2010 , 12 min.)  A "secret shopper" is enlisted in a sting operation in order to check on the legitimacy of a massage therapist.  Fantasy segments and some light sexual innuendo ensue.  Cute and the cast is pleasantly hunky to watch.

Unavailable for preview: Professor Godoy (dir. Gui Ashcar, Brazil , 2009 , 14 min.) Professor Godoy is a high school math teacher with a dull existence, but his life gets much more interesting when his cute student toys with the teacher’s fantasies. And Queer Pet Adventures Episode #1 (dir. Andrew Kaiko, USA , 2010 , 1 min.) A queer adventure… with pets… and so much more!

Fun in Girls Shorts, 8 films

The Best is Yet to Come (dir. Eunice Wu, USA , 2009 , 16 min.) Definitely one of the more 'sober' entries in this year's program of "Fun", as "a young lesbian couple celebrates a birthday on election night in 2008, but the result of Prop 8 puts a damper on the evening."  Though engagingly performed and proficiently shot and edited, it did take me back a bit as far as how serious it is and its inclusion in a "comedy" program.

Dyke Dollar (dir. Laura Terruso, USA , 2009 , 11 min.) This brings the "wacky" back into the 'Fun in Girls Shorts' program!  In sort of a tooth-fairy moment, an actual 'Dyke Dollar' appears in an American suburb to create a bit of havoc from those who would want to pass her on. 

Door Prize (dir. Zsa Zsa Gerschick, USA , 2009 , 7 min.)  A beautifully performed by Zsa Zsa Gerschick and Beth Grant, this gentle farce about gender identity and public restrooms and how it challenges 'the rules' was particularly moving, in an odd way.  Beth Grant is particularly effective in the role of the 'establishment' whose perspective is challenged and eventually won over.  A lovely job for all concerned.

Peasants (dir. Benjamin Feuer, USA , 2009 , 13 min.) Though it is described as "a rollicking comedy", I can not say that I was that taken away by the fantasy of "Jersey girl Jo fantasizing about romancing her straight best friend in the bucolic English countryside."  I think that the reality sequence was underplayed enough that I wasn't as transported into the fantasy as much as slightly confused.  But this may have been as much my problem from viewing it as part of an afternoon of short subjects.

25 Random Things I Did During My Big Fat Lesbian Depression (dir Chirs J. Russo, USA , 2009 , 11 min.)  I loved every annoying and exasperating moment of this little comic gem, as I have been there and done that! A young woman goes through the process of recovering from a break up. Unfortunately, it does take a village, as unwittingly as it may want to be involved.  It just struck the right note with me, in an underplayed "Woody Allen-like" way.  It's one of my faves.

Public Relations (dir. Gianna Sobol, USA , 2009 , 17 min.) Wendi Mclendon-Covey ("Reno 911") drives this farce about a pair of personal assistants who eventually fall in love, in spite of the demands of their bosses (which Mclendon-Covey is one!). 

Unavailable for preview:  Birthday (dir. Jenifer Malmqvist, Sweden , 2010 , 18 min.) ("Sara’s preparing a surprise for her wife Katrina’s birthday in this Swedish short, but Katrina may have some surprises of her own.")  and  Queer Pet Adventures Episode #2 (dir. Veronique Courtois, USA , 2010 , 1 min.) ("Another animated adventure with the Queer Pet Adventures crew!")

Of the 12 films included in Dyke Delights, these seven struck chords with me:

Chained! (dir. Betsy Kalin, USA , 2010 , 14 min.) "Chained! explores the intimate relationship between dykes and their wallet chains."  A simple enough synopsis of a more than involving little documentary about the butch factor behind wallet chains.

Dyke Pussy (dir. Allyson Mitchell, Canada , 2008 , 1 min.) "Minimalism at its best, a miniature cat goes for a spin." A simple enough synopsis of something that I just didn't 'get'.  Though it is so short that it is a painless little diversion in the middle of the program.

G.I.M.P. Boot Camp (dirs. Melisa Brittain, Danielle Peers, Canada , 2008 , 8 min.)  "A dramatic “CRIP Awards” ceremony, an infomercial-style guide to survival and a testimonial from a recovering inspiration addict, G.I.M.P Boot Camp uses humor to deconstruct stereotypes of disability."  A great little farce, in the style of the Mickee Faust Club's work, this "infomercial" goes out of its way to attack and destroy any preconceived notions of what it is to be "disabled".

The Girl Bunnies: HOCKEY (dir. Francoise Doherty, Canada , 2009 , 6 min.) Apparently, this is part of a series of lesbian bunny videos (they're animated) by filmmaker/songwriter Francoise Doherty.  It's sort of cute if not so surreal as to nearly escape me, not unlike DYKE PUSSY, which is also in this program. It's odd enough to be sort of intriguing, but then again, I sort of didn't "get it"...

My Lesbian Friend (dir. Sarah Rotella, Canada, 2009, 5 min.) This was a very clever farce in which a young girl makes a new 'friend'!  I don't want to give away any spoilers, as the situation is so ridiculous that it is farcical magic to watch how Sarah Rotella actually pulls it off!   Definitely, one of the most clever scripts in the festival!

T4-2 (dirs. Shellie CItron, Allegra Hirschman, USA , 2009 , 4 min.) I simply love and adore this musical carousel of genders within "a picture-perfect heterosexual marriage".  The four performers, the direction, design and editing are executed with such joy, it is simply infections!  I've watched this over a half dozen times and it does appear in the "Transtatic!" program as well.  A fabulous four minutes...!

Tech Support (dir. Erik Gernand, USA , 2009 , 9 min.) This nifty little comedy starts off as a typical "Dilbert" nightmare of reaching tech support for a laptop and ends in a romantic comedy. The pair of women and exceptionally appealing and the timing is appropriately brisk when it needs to be and paced out lovingly to the end.  A definite "keeper"!

Maxxxxx says re T4-2: "Dooby doobie-doooo-oooo!"

You can contact Maxxxxx or myself here: JayCBird@AOL.COM


Anonymous said...

the new tenants is just awful!

Anonymous said...

These reviews make you sound like a mean spirited person who doesn't understand film unless it's obvious or simplistic.

Jay, aka The Angry Little Man said...

Well, we can engage in further dialogue, if you wish. I realize my recaplet reviews are "pithy", but that's what happens when one tries to give notice to over 80 short subjects in just a few days notice. However, enough of MY excuses.

To call "THE NEW TENANTS" just awful and then say I am "mean spirited" and "doesn't understand film..." etc. is sort of ironic. TENANTS is a delightfully dark and moody piece. Admittedly, one of its twists is not as cleverly disguised by its script. However, the near parade of creepy characters that it populates its universe is unmatched in a film of such brevity.

Now, if this is a reaction to how I briefly expressed my opinion about GAYBY (the Google search which led you here), we can discuss that, too.

Respectfully, replied... ;)

Anonymous said...

it was a response to the whole page of reviews. the gogo reject one struck me first. but some of the films you like are ones that i don't like at all. to each his or her own. i don't know about the google search thing. that seems a little stalky of you.

Jay, aka The Angry Little Man said...

Yes, to each his own.

I get curious as to where the Anonymous comments come from, so I check in with my site meter for the "click throughs" and a whole load of information (re: IP, location, referencing link, etc.) comes up, including the search terms used in the Google link that sends people here. Not stalking. Just curious.

Have a great Pride Week!

Maya said...

Whether "pithy" or not, your survey of shorts is commendable for being so comprehensive. I don't know where you find the patience and it's a welcome contribution to Frameline coverage. I didn't see a single one of these, though I had wanted to see Gayby; Lisecki's last short was quite clever, IMHO.

As for online sniping from anonymous posters: what a cliche.

Jay, aka The Angry Little Man said...

Thank you, Michael!