by Nevin Jefferson -
SGN Contributing Writer
Patricia Bateira, 2007, Portugal, 8 minutes with subtitles.
Frequent Traveler is a human comedy of errors that just keeps getting worse as the actions become hilarious. A man is at airport security waiting to get checked through. A hot security guard is on duty with wand in hand. The traveler sets off the alarm and has a big grin on his face. The hot guard asks him to step to the side, which he does, all smiles and cooperation. The smiles become a frown when an ugly guard takes over for the hot one. But not for long, as the traveler enjoys the frisking all over his body and up and down his legs. He looks at the object of his affection as he goes through the motions. He ends up getting strip-searched and has to bend over and assume the position for a cavity search, all while smiling in the mirror where the hot guard is standing, watching everything. After going through the horrors of it all with a dog of a guard, he's released. The hot guard apologizes for making the traveler miss his plane. The traveler stomps off in a huff. On hearing the alarm go off, the handsome guard looks over and sees that it's his friend all over again. If first you don't succeed&. A great short that's very entertaining, and humor at its funniest.
Erik Gernand, 2009, USA, 8 minutes
On the last day of summer before heading off to college, two 18-year-old best friends attempt to connect as adults, and, for the first time in their lives, share a "final" moment. In a digital world, one kid still uses his Polaroid camera to take pictures of the beach and his best friend (who he has it bad for). College is around the corner and the two won't see each other until Thanksgiving. In a world of voice messaging and CDs, the smitten one tells his bud that he recorded a tape for him on his tape recorder. He wants him to listen to it while he's away at college then he ducks and dodges questions about it, only to say that it's not a love song. Their moment is interrupted by two girls, who are friends of the two. His object of affection asks him to take a picture of him with the girls. The hurt look on his face says it all. He makes the moment by pulling the tape labeled "Not A Love Song" in his backpack. The end. In my arts class, we were asked to come up with a summary on what happened to the characters. My guess? After listening to the non-love song, he returns home and lays his friend on his back and stuffs him like a turkey on Thanksgiving Day.
Trevor Anderson, 2008, Canada, 5 minutes
The premise of this film takes on the homophobic comment, "all the faggots should be shipped off to an island somewhere where they could give each other AIDS and die." Trevor Anderson from Alberta, Canada ponders on this as he walks through the snow. As he elaborates on this topic, his ideas come to life in animation that's creative graphics at its best. A tropical "homo utopia" doesn't sound like a bad idea as he lays it out in his fantasies. The animation transforms his snowy surroundings into a colorful paradise of sand, sun, and palm trees, where ape masseurs are always on call and anyone who dies gets his body chucked into a volcano and is worshiped as a god. The "homo utopia" has super-fancy tree huts, AIDS cocktails served in coconut shells with pineapple wedges, and gets more and more elegant and upscale. The bananas growing on the trees look like cocks and the coconuts like balls? What an imagination! Sign me up! This is five minutes of pure entertainment that makes a negative into a positive. Right on!
After All That
Michael Culpepper, 2009, USA, 17 minutes.
After All That takes place in the Mississippi Gulf Coast, three years after Katrina. The TV frenzy is over with; the media packed up and moved on to the next tornado, earthquake, and next tragedy. The damage is still done and the opening frames show a tiny, ruined house that is still standing with a sign, "Do Not Demolish." This screenplay is firsthand accounts from hurricane survivors still struggling and trying to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. Michael Culpepper creates a simple, powerful story of three men in a small Mississippi town. Deacon (Tom Thon) lost almost everything to the hurricane, including his house and his business. His heavy drinking costs him his driver's license, and he spends his days prowling the town on an ATV. Mike (Dale Basescu), Deacon's nephew, is coming out of the shadows of his old life. Deputy Burnett (David Chattam) is also one of the lucky ones. Mike and Deputy Burnett are in a relationship that's a well-guarded secret. Deputy Burnett cuts Deacon some slack for disturbing the peace. Life is still in ruins, and it can't be rebuilt like the house in the opening. No light has been cast on the darkness from the storm. Very moving! I talked to Michael Culpepper, who confirmed that things aren't any better, and a sense of abandonment still permeates the area.
Nathaniel Atcheson, 2008, USA, 12 minutes
Sombrero won the 2008 Palm Springs International ShortFest and "Best of the Fest." It should win the favorite awards at this years Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. James and Raymond meet for a blind date in a Mexican restaurant. They're both hoping for a connection and hope that things take off for them. James is nervous and falls apart while Raymond remains calm, cool, and collected. James ends up wearing the pink drink that Raymond ordered for him when a man bumps into their table. The evening takes on the spin of a date from hell, with everything that could go wrong going even worse. Just as everything is about to go over the waterfall, James and Raymond find out that neither one is the person whom they thought they were meeting. Especially after the birthday cake arrives with the waiters serenading happy birthday to James. It isn't his birthday! The mystery is solved in a very weird and extremely strange way. Loved it! This should ace the prize.
David Quantic, 2009, USA, 12 minutes
Two couples, one straight and one Gay, on either side of the Atlantic, share a mysterious connection. There's music, full frontal male nudity, straight sex and Gay sex! I have yet to figure out the connection, nor did the moviegoers who I asked for their opinions and comments. I didn't get it!
Todd Holland, 2009, USA, 21 minutes
Kent (Tim Bagley) tells his therapist Michele (Judy Greer) about how his rock of a partner Jax (Scotch Ellis Loring) has fallen apart after the death of his mother. Jax steals his mother's favorite wig, leaving her bald as a plum for the funeral in three days. To make matters crazier, he's wearing it and refuses to take it off. Jax is shown wearing the wig in his underwear and running his fingers through the wig. Jax's actions push his sister Cacey (Kim Coles) further apart and scares the hell out of her husband, and has alarms sounding for their caring group of friends that support them, including their best friend Duffy (Jason Dudey). They hear Jax out and help him get through this tragic loss in his life. How they do it is pure comedy at its best. Great movie! Scotch Ellis Loring spoke after the film and thanked his lover of nine years for doing the movie for him from a screenplay. His next venture is with HBO and his other half is working on a replacement show for Fox.
These shorts made a long, enjoyable feature at this year's Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Three Dollar Bill Cinema is member-generated organization that needs members to flourish its continued success. Support the Arts, become a member, and enter to win a trip to London. The reception was held at Table 219, where I enjoyed the barbeque pork sandwiches and sweet-potato fries. Please support the sponsors of The Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.
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