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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Outfest, Part Deux

Outfest has once again come and gone, and I found myself feeling slightly nostalgic on closing night as I realized it's been over a year since RED DOORS had its coming-out - er, debut - at the festival. This year, I had the pleasure of serving on the festival jury for U.S. Narrative Features - the first-time I have ever (or will ever) be happy about being assigned to jury duty. My two fellow jurors were actor-director Craig Chester ("Adam and Steve") and film critic Ernest Hardy. We had 15 films to watch in little over a week - with my first-hand knowledge of how important awards can be to independent filmmakers, I took my responsibility very seriously. In addition to screening each of the films at least once, I spent hours writing meticulous notes on an Excel spreadsheet I created with such categories as "characterizations", "visual style", and "queer factor". And yes, that last one did include some illustrations.

On the last day of the festival, all of the juries met with our respective Outfest jury coordinators for deliberations - I was expecting a reenactment of "Twelve Angry Men", but it was more like "Two Boys and a Half-Asian Chick Sipping Lattes on Melrose". We did actually engage in some lively discussions, as there were a number of strong contenders for each category, and we ultimately awarded the Best Feature prize to a wonderful film called "The Gymnast". It is the feature debut of writer-director Ned Farr, and it stars Dreya Weber as a former world champion athlete questioning her marriage, her sexuality, and her purpose in life. Gorgeous performances, stunning cinematography, hot lesbians, aerial gymnastics - really, it's all you could ever want in a movie. The other award winners in our category were Q. Allan Brocka and Philip Pierce for Best Screenwriting ("Boy Culture"), Diane Gaidry for Best Actress ("Loving Annabelle"), and Michael Carbonaro for Best Actor ("Another Gay Movie").

Despite our hefty workload, I definitely found some time to play at the festival - I'm pretty sure there's incriminating footage of me at the infamous Outfest pool party. I'd be more specific, but as I've said before..."What happens at Outfest, stays at Outfest!"

Song du jour: "Now at Last" by Feist. If Billie Holiday and Sarah McLachlan had a baby - well, that would be weird, for a number of reasons...but I bet she'd sound a lot like this!


Mia and her "beard" - Outfest
programmer David Courier.

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