First, here is a listing of the Grand Jury prizes and audience award winners from this year's Outfest Film Festival:
Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Documentary Short Film:
THANK YOU FOR YOUR CALL, Directed by Shawn Nee
Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Short Film:
I DON'T WANT TO GO BACK ALONE, Directed by Daniel Ribeiro
Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Documentary Feature Film: HABANA MUDA, Directed by Eric Brach
Grand Jury Award for Outstanding International Dramatic Feature Film
WEEKEND, Directed by Andrew Haigh
Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film: Nikohl Boosheri, CIRCUMSTANCE
Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Actor in a Feature Film:The Cast of PRIVATE ROMEO
Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Screenwriting: Stephen Cone, THE WISE KIDS
Grand Jury Award for Outstanding U.S. Dramatic Feature Film:THE WISE KIDS, Directed by Stephen Cone
Special Programming Award for Freedom: NO LOOK PASS, Directed by Melissa Johnson
For its unflinching look at the life of a young lesbian basketball star facing the hardships of coming out and a relationship challenged by "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" the Outfest Special Programming Award for Freedom goes to NO LOOK PASS.
Special Programming Award for Artistic Achievement: THE BALLAD OF GENESIS AND LADY JAYE, Directed by Marie Losier
For matching the conceptual daring and aesthetic bravado of its subjects' lives with an equally powerful film making style and for never losing sight of the love story that flourished in an atmosphere of gender experimentation and conceptual music, the Outfest Special Programming Award for Artistic Achievement goes to Marie Losier, director of THE BALLAD OF GENESIS AND LADY JAYE
Special Programming Award for Emerging Talent:Madeleine Olnek, Writer/Director of CODEPENDENT LESBIAN SPACE ALIEN SEEKS SAME
For her witty and creative vision, her skill at eliciting memorable performances, for deftly blending old school science fiction and deadpan comedy, and for believing that true love exists even if it means going to another planet to find it, the Outfest Special Programming Award for Emerging Talent goes to Madeleine Olnek, the writer/director of CODEPENDENT LESBIAN SPACE ALIEN SEEKS SAME.
Audience Award for Outstanding Documentary Short Film:SAME DIFFERENCE, Directed by Catherine Opie & Lisa Udelson
Audience Award for Outstanding Dramatic Short Film:TSUYAKO, Directed by Mitsuyo Miyazaki
Audience Award for Outstanding Documentary Feature Film:
WE WERE HERE, Directed by David Weissman & Bill Weber
Audience Award for Outstanding Dramatic Feature Film:3, Directed by Tom Tykwer
Audience Award for Outstanding First U.S. Dramatic Feature Film:CIRCUMSTANCE, Directed by Maryam Keshavarz
Now, here are reviews of a few of the films I saw during the festival:
July 8, 2011
"SHOTS IN THE DARK"
This is a collection of seven short films that are shocking and unusual and the stand-outs for me were "Yearbook" by Carter Smith which features high-school students interviewed and talking about their sexual experiences and the strange consequences of that and "Fourplay:Tampa", which is one of a collection of four short films involving sexual intimacy, which is my favorite mainly because the film is so disturbing and very funny. The story is about a man who is looking for a quickie in a public restroom during his lunch hour but he's having difficulty finding someone so he uses his imagination that involves a wide range of people with a few that might offend some of the audience.
July 10, 2011
A young woman (Joslyn Jensen) takes on the job, on a remote wooded island, as a care-giver to an elderly, wheelchair bound man (Ronald Carrier) who is almost in a vegetative state as his family has gone on vacation. With poor phone service, no Internet or anyone to talk to in the house, she slowly starts to unravel by the isolation as she is haunted by memories of her ex-girlfriend and begins to question whether the old man is actually an invalid as her cellphone mysteriously seems to keep being moved.
"Without" by writer/director Mark Jackson feels like a modern variation on Polanski's "Repulsion" and while the film is an admirable and confident debut as well as featuring a strong performance from Ms Jensen but there were just a few too many questions left unanswered (like the moving phone, for one) that left me feeling a little bit frustrated.
WITHOUT from right on red films on Vimeo.
A spoof of the sex comedies of the 1980's, Kevin (Jacob Newton) is a closeted college student in the heart of Texas who falls for the out and proud Cesar (Derek Villanueva) but Kevin is struggling to keep his new friend a secret from his (allegedly) straight, horn-dog buddies (Dylan Vox, Kevin Held and Stephen Matzke).
Although the audience at the screening seemed to thoroughly enjoy the film as there's plenty of sex and full-frontal nudity from all of the male cast members but I can't say that I did as I thought that it's not nearly enough to make this tired and very unfunny film worth seeing.
July 11, 2011
"Woman's Picture" features three segments of complex, complicated and lonely women: Ingrid (Calpernia Addams), a transgendered female, has returned home to visit her estranged mother after ten years but the true reason for her coming back is a mystery; Loretta (Amy Lavere), a shy, quiet hotel maid with a dark secret, is having difficulty telling the difference between fact and fantasy and Miriam (Ann Magnuson) is a home shopping host who is struggling to maintain her professional and personal life.
Brian Pera, the writer and director, was inspired by the female-driven films of the 40's and 50's and he has successfully captured the essence of those wonderful films. The best of the three parts features Ann Magnuson in a very welcome return to the screen. It is solid, well-written scene of a woman near her breaking point with Ms Magnuson skillfully bringing this character to life. Ms Addams, lovely and vulnerable, delivers a touching performance. The only true weak link is the segment involving the maid. Although this actually feels like a homage to David Lynch but it's overlong, rambling and out of place with the rest of the film.
Woman's Picture Trailer from brian pera on Vimeo.
Marshall (Houston Rhines) is not only frustrated at his job and about to turn thirty but his seven year relationship with Gabe (Noah Shuffman) is beginning to feel boring and routine. While surfing the web, Marshall stumbles upon a mysterious application called, ECupid that offers to find him true love. He downloads the app and his life is turned upside down as all types of sexy guys that he has dreamed of comes after him but he soon discovers that it may not be at all what he bargained for.
Writer/director, J.C. Calciano brings a gay romantic-comedy in the age of the Internet that is lightweight and predictable but there is still a small amount of charm to be found. Look for the well-preserved, Morgan Fairchild as the voice of the ECupid app and she makes an appearance as the wise waitress.
eCUPIDthemovie trailer from JC Calciano on Vimeo.