Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Coming Out (shorts program 2011)

Joel (Charlie Gustafsson)
in Coming Out. photo:
Alexander Westergårdh
Coming Out” (shorts program 2011)
Sun. 6/19, 1:15p @ Roxie, COUT19R

10,000 Hearts, dir. Lisa Lodico, 2010 USA, 15 min. 
CHANGE, dir. Melissa Osborne, 2010 USA, 24 min. 
Coming Out (Komma Ut), dir. Jerry Carlsson, 2010 Sweden, 5 min., in Swedish with English subtitles 
Henry & Anthony, dir. Spencer W. Richards, 2010 USA, 20 min. (not reviewed)
James Dean, dir. Lucy Asten Elliott, 2010 UK, 8 min. 
Loop Planes, dir. Robin Wilby, 2010 USA, 12 min. 
One on One, dir. Luís Fernando Midence, 2010 USA, 10 min. 

[Henry & Anthony was not available for review. James Dean and Loop Planes will also screen in the “Transtastic!” shorts program, Wed. 6/22, 7:00p @ Roxie, TRAN22V.]

Nate (Miles Derwick) in 10,000 Hearts
In 10,000 Hearts, the high school is holding a competition to choose the theme for the homecoming dance. Sophomore Nate (Miles Derwick) is working for his wicked half-sister Heahter (Cassie Keet) on her “board games” theme, but he decides to work with Sara (Kristen Barkuloo) on her “over the rainbow” theme, in part hoping to get closer to his crush Logan (Jesse Damiani), the can-do-no-wrong golden boy of the school. At times painfully amateurish, but several tremendously funny and/or insightful lines make it worth watching. Highly recommended. [watch the trailer]

Jamie (Sean McClam) contemplates
Barack Obama and California Prop 8
in Change.
In CHANGE, kids of various ethnic backgrounds in a Los Angeles high school are discussing the upcoming 2008 election, with the possibility of electing the first black President but also banning same-sex marriage. Jamie (Sean McClam) is torn between his homo­phobic black friends and family and his boyfriend Ivan (Jesse James Rice), the class white-boy fag. It’s a moving portrayal of being at the intersection of a dream come true and a nightmare made real. Highly recommended.

[Note: many in the LGBT community unfairly blamed the black community, and particularly black churches, for the passage of Prop 8, amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, but the black vote was not a decisive factor, and this film demonstrates the perils of viewing it as monolithic.]

In Coming Out (Komma Ut) (photo above), Joel (Charlie Gustafsson) is agonizing over the decision to tell his parents that he’s gay. Will they hate him? Maybe they already know. Why has he waited so long to say it? He’s chickened out several times before, and is now trying desperately to muster the courage. He’s going to tell them ... now! Well, maybe not quite yet. He completely overthinks it, second-guesses himself, worries it, and chases his own shadow. We hear the entire debate inside Joel’s head in voiceover, with the shallow depth of field and muted colors enhancing the visceral feel of his inward focus. Brilliant and immersive, definitely a Must See.
Alex (Lauren Dempsie, foreground)
in James Dean. photo: George Geddes

In James Dean, a family is getting ready for a road trip. Daughter Alex is sporting a fresh black eye, having been in a fight at school. Her sister Morvern tells her that the whole school heard her classmates calling her a tranny, and reminds her that their mum is friends with the mother of the girl Alex fought with, so Alex decides she needs to talk to the parents before they hear it through the grapevine. Alex pops back into the house, reappearing dressed as James Dean, upsetting Mum, but Dad just laughs. The thick Scottish accent may be a bit difficult for an American audience, but James Dean is a cute snapshot of a family on the brink of a coming-out experience. Highly recom­mended. [also in the “Transtastic!” shorts program]
Nick (Chloe Levine) and Katie
ride on the Loop Planes

In Loop Planes, thirteen-year-old Nick is enjoying spending the summer helping his dad fix amusement park rides, but his mom insists on taking him away, even though he was supposed to stay for the whole summer. Nick meets the boss’s niece Katie, who has pink hair. She takes a while to warm up to Nick, but they finally have a first kiss, just as Mom shows up to ruin everything, calling her Nicole instead of Nick. Cute, sweet, Highly recommended. [also in the “Transtastic!” shorts program]
Trevor (Timothy Paul Brown) and
Alex (Braulio Cruz-Ortiz) go One on One.

In One on One, Trevor and Alex are playing a little pickup two-on-two basketball, but after the game we see that there’s much more to their relationship. On the way out of the gym, Alex sees a waltz class and tries to get Trevor to be his dance partner. Trevor resists, unwilling to “make a social statement” lest his masculine image suffer, but Alex doesn’t give up easily. The execution is a little clumsy, but clearly heartfelt. Cute, sweet, and upbeat; Recommended.

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