Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Film by Marc Horowitz

I guess they can make commercials into art film shorts now. Blond mop head Marc Horowitz has several versions of his test drive, a couple of which have him dousing his beefcake presence with icewater. He puts on the shades, spins and skids the obstacle road test course (with his Barbie, his gnome, and his toast), and shows us that his CD's didn't move, soft drinks didn't splash, and only his slippery silk tie fell. "Not too shabby." (Or maybe he should say, "not too spiffy.") The car to be sold is a fire engine red Nissan Sentra. I guess the character Max from Days of our Lives could drive it, and it is the fake-Shawn's design. There are other versions of this film ("I win" the gas price war, and one where he lathers himself as part of proving that he could live a week in the car if he had to for a hazing ritual.) Whaterver, always a one minute indie film. Show it with Stella Artois (with Verdi opera -- The Force of Destiny --, and snow in Provence, in the background) at the art houses.

Horowitz has a website "7 Days in a Sentra" here. He also gives his link to his Myspace page there.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Brick -- what kind of hero is Brendan?

Brick (2005, Focus Features, dir. Rian Johnson) was a sensational indie flick, that presents a high school student Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) "working undercover" with the half-approval of the school, to infiltrate a drug ring. The film is fast-paced, and he outfoxes his adversaries with simple mechanical means, like by extending a leg when hiding.

A couple things here. There have been some debates about what was in the "brick." It doesn't matter, because the story works in any case.

There was controversy about the focus (pun intended with the movie company) of the character. Brendan, who seems geeky but turns into a kind of practical superman, is focused upon the disappearance of his ex girl friend. The film fans out from an opening or early scene at the opening of a sewer drainage tunnel, and it stays at that simple visual level.

Nevertheless, Brendan falls in line with other teen or young adult heros in current television series (ranging from Clark in Smallville, Ephram in Everwood, Sam and Dean in Supernatural, or even Holden in Kids in America. The film keeps a tight visual and narrative focus in order to keep the audience hooked, and it stayed within a budget of less than a half million dollars.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a young actor to watch. This "film noir" is now available on DVD.

Hollywoodland, Superman Returns (or does he)?

Hollywoodland is one of those independent films that is intended to be seen in all major theaters. Universal Focus is the US theatrical distributor, and Disney's new Miramax is one of the production companies, in this film noir by Allen Coulter and Paul Bernbaum. We see a haggard Ben Affleck as George Reeves, whose mysterious death is investigated by a wiry Louis Simo (Adrien Brody) who looks a lot more man here than in King Kong. Affleck, on the other hand, far from the "beautiful Ben" of the 90s tabloids or in the gay bar scene with Sandra Bullock in Forces of Nature, here looks chubby and deteriorating, even as he dons a grey Superman suit, and impresses the kids in the 50s.

Superman Returns (2006, Warner Bros., dir Bryan Singer) does put a little more drama into the comic book hero series than the original series in the 70s and 80s with Christopher Reeve. Iowan Brandon Routh plays the young hero, and the most engaging shot of all might be of the surface of planet Kyrpton, with its condo-cities and decaying environment, turning into a Venus with a runaway greenhouse effect. Lex Luthor's model railroad world is intriguing.

But I still think that the most compelling treatment of the Superman legend is TheWB/CW series Smallville, now in its sixth season, with Tom Welling as the teenage Clark. The first two seasons were by far the most effective, starting when Clark is supposed to be a freshman in high school, and has to deal with keeping his extraterrestrial origins a secret and is pilloried by others for being "different" to the point that he is nailed on the Scarecrow cross. The opening episode, in which Smallville (AKA Lawrence, KS) is partially destroyed by a meteor shower, was filmed shortly before 9/11 actually happened. The nearby city is Metropolis, which is a code name for KCMO (Kansas City), though it is filmed in Vancouver, BC.

Clark is supposed to be "19" now, and normally should be a sophomore in college. Instead he is home on the farm looking after his state senator mother after his adoptive father is sacrificed by Jor-El. But I think there is an opportunity here for an independent film about the younger Clark. Put him in college, and have the military approach him (for ROTC) and sports teams (especially baseball -- imagine the home runs or the fastball) approach him and see if he can keep his "secret." This would be an arthouse kind of film, something more in the line of Warner Independent Pictures, with the same production team (Tollin/Robbins). Has this idea been considered?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Prestige; Marie Antoinette; Little Children: What is an independent movie?

This weekend we saw three major releases in the DC area that make one wonder how the industry defines "independent film".

"The Prestige" is a variation of the story for "The Illusionist" earlier this year (the new company the Yari Group, with Ed Norton and Paul Giamatti). Michael Caine, as Cutter, is wonderful as the omniscient observer who explains that a magic trick comprises "The Pledge" "The Turn" and "The Prestige" with the latter being the payoff for the enormous plot of Christopher Nolan's latest film. Here he tells the story of the rivalry of the two magicians (played by Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman) with David Bowie as the gayish turn-of-the-century mad scientist with real majic worthy of Clive Barker's Imajica, and some plot tricks that resembled David Lynch. Here, as in Memento, Nolan likes to tell his stories out of sequence, and let the auteur of his direction come through. But the most interesting thing about this film is the distribution. The theatrical end credits said "Buena Vista" -- Disney's company, and that is logical, since Touchstone as well as Warner Brothers helped make it. But according to imdb and Nolan's own NewMarketFilms, New Market is the official theatrical distributor. I don't know if Disney has assumed NewMarket, but it is, like Miramax, intended for ambititous indie films. It had made a killing on Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. The arthouses are listing this as an indie film, but it is playing in major area theaters and came out #1 opening weekend. And $40Million is a lot for indie film, but maybe no longer.

Columbia (Sony) helped American Zoetrope make and distribute Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, which explores the idea of heterosexual marriage and procreation as politically mandatory for the stability of a monarchy and the right political alliances. In a sense, the film mocks heterosexual marriage (with the scenes where Marie (Kristen Dunst) and Louis XVI (Jason Schawartzman) are placed into a canopied bed together. Is it a political argument against all the anti-gay-marriage amendments? It was a hit at Cannes in May 2006 and the indie guides contain it.

The New Line Cinema made Little Children, Todd Feild's pensive and hypnotic followup to In the Bedroom (Miramax). The film establishes its mood with the opening Doppler train horn, that plays during New Line's trademark. The subject matter is disturbing, so much so that New Line is putting this into a platform release in art houses; in the DC area Landmark's E-Street and Bethesda Row had an exclusive run, with some sellouts over the weekend. The film cost $14 million, which is typical of a larger art film. The film is narrated by the man who speaks on PBS Frontline.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Summer camp movies in contrast: Jesus Camp, Camp Out

Landmark Theaters has been presenting a chilling digital video documentary "Jesus Camp," distributed by Magnolia Pictures, dir. Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. The film is only in 4:3 aspect ratio, but has a lot of on location scenery around Kansas City, and then at Devils Lake, ND where the summer camp is. Becky Fischer plays herself as the Evangelical determined to bring up kids to believe that they will be saved only by literal belief in and obedience to the Bible. The camp scenes show a lot of singing and community bonding that I would have found intimidating as a kid.

A very different kind of film for contrast is Camp Out, produced by Evolution Film and Tape, directed by Larry Grimaldi and Kirk Marcolina. The film follows ten teenagers at a Minnesota Bible camp ("Bay Lake Camp") for gay teens. This was screened free in the DC Film Festival Reel Affirmations on Tuesday, Oct 17, 2006, and I was unable to make it because of an emergency. The details are on the Reel Affirmations site at this link. I am told that the film will be shown on the Logo network, which is unfortunately still not available through Comcast in Arlington, although reportedly this availability is being worked on. I will review it as soon as I can locate a DVD copy or find it on Cable or theatrical release.

The filmmaker has indicated to me (email late today) that a DVD should be available soon through normal channels, and there will be educational screenings in 2007.

The picture here is from the campus of Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Zach Braff: from Garden State to The Last Kiss

The October 2006 issue of Paste features a feature story on Zach Braff. He is described as the “quadruple threat” who writes, directs, acts, and plays head doctor. There are some becoming photos, as there were in the February 2006 issue of Giant, that showed him in good clothes being gradually tugged apart.

No matter when he plays the gentle doctor on Scrubs that there are real issues facing doctors in the future (infection control) that could impact how they look, even in the movies.

But Braff has made documenting his own “coming of age” as an artist into a public museum. Artists can be successful at everything (especially selling their own work); he proves it. His own directed entry was Garden State two years ago (Fox Searchlight), but the current comedy The Last Kiss (Dreamworks, dir. Tony Goldwyn, screenplay by Paul Haggis, based on the Italian film “L’ultimo bacio”) has a thirty year old architect not quite ready to commit himself to one girl, to getting married, to the family bed, and then having a temptation that he can’t quite escape. He will do anything to get her back. I wouldn’t.

Of course, we can all imagine what the conservative mags will write about this. All of this hesitation about marriage and family. It’s always a stumbling block.

Is any film from Zach Braff by definition an "independent movie"? I think so.

The picture is the famous New Jersey quarry rock, viewed from an Amtrak train, about eight miles from Penn Station New York City. It has been mowed down by "mountaintop removal" as in strip mining. "Garden State" was filmed near here. I think that the quarry appeared in the film, as I recall.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Josh Hartnett: from "Faculty" to "The Black Dahlia"; also, the indie film "Regarding Billy" for comparison on filial responsibility

The October 2006 issue of Gentleman’s Quarterly features a handsome headshot of 28 year old Minnesota actor Josh Hartnett, with the story on p. 306 by Alex Pappademas (photos by Terry Richardson), “Josh Harnett’s Arrested Development,” with again, a wholesome police lineup shot (fictitious, of course), an oxymoron to be sure.

Since I lived in Minneapolis from 1997-2003, I remember the St. Paul Pioneer Press story about “the 20 year old actor” (who graduated from South High School in Minneapolis in 1996) when Dimension Films released its reprise “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later” (dir. Steve Miner), as well as the spoofy if “prophetic” “The Faculty” (dir. Robert Rodriquez), which has kids looking for teachers “infected” by aliens. Actually, Hartnett was born in San Francisco, according to imdb, but for practical purposes, he is one of a long series of major Hollywood and indie film/television series personalities supplied by Minnesota. (Others include Patrick Flueger, Sean William Scott, Chris Pratt, Jeff Gilson, and Breckin Meyer; Ashton Kutcher comes from nearby Iowa and essentially the same northern European farm culture). The next important film from Hartnett would be the better known film “The Virgin Suicides.” (Paramount Classics, American Zoetrope, dir. Sofia Coppola). Dimension has since become known for “Sin City” and its support of “Project Greenlight” (another blog entry) after Weinstein Brothers gave up Miramax.

I actually saw the Halloween film in the old Plitt theaters on Hennepin (pretty close to the Gay 90s and similar places); now a handsome Regal cinemas complex has replaced it, in a downtown highrise shopping center, although the gay businesses along Hennepin thrive (and would make unusually good live film locations for drag shows and disco scenes because of their physical layouts). About that time, I also saw Breckin Meyer perform in “54” about the infamous jetset party disco in New York.

Hartnett’s fame would explode in May 2001 with his role in Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Pearl Harbor” (Touchstone), and later as a kind medical sergeant in “Black Hawk Down,” about the kindly sergeant who tended the wounded in the abortive 1993 mission in Somalia.

The GQ article goes on to describe Hartnett’s life in Minneapolis, buying a house (real estate money goes farther there than on either coast, even though Minneapolis is not “cheap” by any means), before moving to New York in 2003. He would hide in plain sight in the Uptown section of Minneapolis (home of the Landmark Uptown and Lagoon Theaters for mostly independent releases, and Bryant Lake Bowl, where IFP held its free local filmmaker indie film screenings), often “disguised” by something as simple as a two-dollar stocking cap. In 2002 he would speak at a battered women’s shelter benefit at the Riverside Theater (south Minneapolis) at a festival screening of “Blue Car” (Miramax, in which he does not appear, but where Agnes Bruckner gave quite a performance).

Over the next few years, Hartnett would make a number of films, and the best, I think, are "Hollywood Homicide" (which was previewed at his 2002 speech) and "Lucky Number Sleven."

That brings us to his latest film, Brian de Palma’s “The Black Dahlia,” a two hour 40s period piece about the LAPD befuddled by a brutal murder of a starlet. The film is said to be overly complicated, descriptive and reflexive. Hartnett plays a young police sergeant, consorting with enough women, and he always seems a bit too wholesome for the part in a movie about police corruption. He (his character, that is) will survive. But the most curious episode in this film occurs early, when he does a couple of prize fights. Now you don’t visualize Hartnett as exposing his brain to concussions of boxing; he is not Cinderella Man, and the reason for his fights (one of them is against his police partner played by a hirsute Aaron Eckhart) is apparently to pay for his aging father’s rest home care. In one scene, the father is making a model the way a child would. But the movie makes a curious social point about filial responsibility, an issue that is likely to explode soon as a public policy debate issue. It is almost as if de Palma (and maybe Hartnett himself, who reportedly campaigned for liberal Senator Paul Wellstone before his tragic plane crash in 2002) want to make a sly social policy statement.

Universal and Millennium Films spent about $50 million to make de Palma’s feature, but there is a 2005 $20 K DVD feature made by Jeff London (Guardian Films) making the same point. It does not include Hartnett. The film is called “Regarding Billy,” and it has a young man returning home upon his parent’s death to take care of a retarded young adult brother. The caretaking may be a “dead hand” probate requirement, but it is genuine. There is only a third character, a boyhood male best friend returning from military service in Iraq, and Billy and the serviceman will discover their love. With less than .1 percent of de Palma’s budget, London manages to dig deep into so many cutting edge social issues.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Latter Days (and God's Army) raises an interesting question

In 2003, the LGBT film festival in Washington DC (see blog entry for reelaffirmations below) presented Latter Days, from TLA Releasing and Funnyboy Pictures, directed and written by C. Jay Cox, as a closing night event. We got to question the director from the audience.

The story of the film, about a Mormon missionary Aaron (Steve Sandvoss) who finds that he is gay while on a mandatory, self-paid mission, then gets ex-communicated when found out (but not before attempted aversion therapy) is well known. About three fourths through the film, Aaron has a confrontation with his mother (Mary Kay Place) in their Idaho home. The mother clearly resents the fact that he would abandon his family. The film expresses the Mormon point of view that the boy owes his family and church loyalty for bringing him up, and that he must pay back a social debt before going out on his own.

The Mormon missionary program is shown in even more detail by a Mormon-produced film itself, God's Army (2000, Excel/Zion Films, dir. Richard Dutcher), from the church's point of view. It is very clear that the Church believes that this debt exists, as in one scene where Elder Allen (Richard Brown) is told by a church elder that he must spend two years doing things for other people (but he will proselytize).

Coming back to Latter Days, I wonder what kind of issues a sequel (a "Latter Days 2") could explore if it were made. If Aaron does well in LA on his own, it's easy to imagine him setting up a website or even making an indepedent film that embarasses his church and his family. Could that lead to legal consequences for Aaron? I wonder, and at least the question poses a good question for a screenwriter. (I add that someone would have to acquire permission to sell a script based on an existing "franchise.")

Some people feel "defamed" when another family member announces that he is gay. They may feel that the person has "rejected" his own blood. Can one person's voluntarily revealing personal facts about himself (as on a social networking site, personal site, or even book or movie) become the target of legal action if another family member feels that his or her "privacy" is invaded? That sounds like a good one for the lawyers. My guess is that it is not, that a person's right to present himself trumps the indirect effect on others, unless he goes beyond what is reasonably necessary to present himself or herself the way he or she chooses. The question seems potentially confounded by several factors, such as the deep sense of insult people with some religious convictions feel when psychologically trampled, and moreover the ease with which people under "free entry" can promote themselves (or, as Ashton Kutcher says -- next blog entry -- "their work" on the Internet). From looking up legal websites, though, it does not seem that these things matter -- yet. The law, however, is likely to change as the problems posed by the Internet become better known. Here is a typical legal reference from a reputable source, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ashton Kutcher interviewed by Ryan Seacrest; The Guardian; The Butterfly Effect

Ashton Kutcher has always been one of the “quickest on his feet” celebrities when doing interviews, and the session with Ryan Seacrest subbing for Larry King on CNN Sept 28, 2006 proved to be no exception. Yeah, he bragged than his favorite coined work, “punked” had made the dictionary. It means, “having put something over on somebody.”
I can remember sessions with Jay Leno, where every sentence started with “hypothetically…”

Kutcher tells his family story, and he might well have become a medical researcher or a physician. His fraternal twin brother had a heart transplant because of viral cardiomyopathy, probably caused by the common Coxsackie B enterovirus that for most people is harmless but that occasionally causes catastrophic organ damage to heart, liver, brain, or pancreas (leading to Type 1 diabetes). There is still no vaccine (why is not clear); people normally become immune or resistant naturally through repeated mild infection, but occasionally it causes severe autoimmune disease. There are various accounts, such as here

Kutcher talked about his production company, Katalyst Films. I checked that as a URL and found a website under construction. A good site with info is TimeWarner’s: Ashton made an interesting comment, the center of this blog review, that the Internet was changing the way people promote their own work. He said that the right thing to do is to “promote your work” rather than “promote yourself.” Since I do that, I hope he finds this blog. Although he did not say so specifically, his comment could be partially motivated by all the controversy over social networking sites and personal blogs, and the way employers are checking them now. (Kids like "self-promotion") and the observation (and concerns) would apply also to Youtube (and similar) videos.

Actually, however, one’s own personal story, whatever it is, has a large effect on a person’s ideas and the credibility of what one says in one’s work. That’s why you have to use your own story to enter the market, however controversial, and even if that can affect other people. It’s interesting to ponder the meaning of the word (spelled with a K) naming his company, since in chemistry it is a substance that facilitates a reaction.

If you read the AOL story about Katalyst, it appears that a lot of the work is for the web, especially AOL. (Katalyst does have a filmography of several major features, including the sci-fi The Butterfly Effect, from New Line, 2004. At least four films are in production.) And even though it appears that he works mainly with major studios, the direction of filmmaking seems to be moving more from the control of studios, to independent partnerships with financing from hedge funds. Technology, DVD’s, broadband, etc are the major reason, and it is right to be concerned about all of the legal controversies (piracy, copyright, the DMCA, fair use) because they can affect both freedom and profitability in different ways.

(Note: IMDB shows a franchise sequel "The Butterfly Effect 2" from New Line Cinema, 2006, dir. John R. Leonetti. Kutcher does not appear to be involved with the film, according to IMDB, and user comments seem to be unfavorable, compared to the original film. The DVD is appearing in Oct. 2006.)

Of course, the motivation for Kutcher’s interview was the new film from Touchstone, The Guardian (dir. Andrew Davis), where Ashton plays a rescue swimmer in training, with Kevin Costner playing the “drill instructor.” Both characters have demons in their past to exorcise or to atone for. A military career in saving lives (rather than combat, as with the Navy) is the character’s way to make amends. But he will have to learn that he cannot save everybody. And so much of our moral debate in today’s culture wars is about that: trying to save everybody, when we can’t and remain free. The movie has a Disney-like, but straightforward, if long, story, and a gripping conclusion. To be in a movie about swimming, actors have to go through some transformations, to be sure.

There is a brief story about Ashton Kutcher in the Sept. 2006 issue of Details ("Ashton Kutcher may just be the best husband in the world") motivated in part by his marriage to Demi Moore. (The story,by Abdrew Goldman, with photo by Tom Munro, is hard to find, it starts on p. 282, way to the back.) There is a handsome photo on the cover. Details has a reputation among reporters as "metrosexual hetero" but on p. 160 of this issue, there is a story on heterophobia. ("Straight me are sort of ... clueless.") If this magazine is straight, it is interesting that the fashion photos emphasize the "beauty" of the male, very much as that occurs in the avian world (where the males have the brightly colored plummage, with some species).

The picture comes from Boca Raton, FL, not likely to need a rescue swimmer—but exposed to hurricanes.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Screenwriting software, and a Secret Window

The motion picture industry has a well-known format for writing scripts. The formats are slightly different for motion pictures than for television.

Normally, new writers would sell scripts by submitting them through agents, who serve as third party intermediaries with production companies and sources of money. Studios tend to be strict about this “third party” rule to protect themselves from possible copyright infringement or trade secret claims after buying a project or using any material. In practice, writers are often able to network privately to find out who may be interested in a particular kind of script and where to submit it. Often, it is desirable to get a “coverage” report on the script before submitting it.

Another major way to “submit” scripts is screenwriting contests, of which one of the better known is Project Greenlight (on this blog). In all cases, writers must follow the industry accepted format. More contests recently have been accepting electronic submission, usually in PDF format. (It used to be an all paper and print world.)

It is possible, but difficult, to set up the proper format with tabs in word processing software like Microsoft Word. Generally, writers will want to purchase screenwriting software, which easily and properly formats their scripts as they write (with the proper tabs or indentations, Courier font, the proper font size, etc, and the desired "white space" in the manuscript).

The two best known packages are:

Final Draft: http://www.finaldraft.com

Write Brothers Movie Magic: http://www.write-bros.com
With a direct link.

Shortly after buying my iMac in early 2002, I bought Movie Magic, which had been recommended by Project Greenlight. I found it easy to use on the Mac and difficult in a PC environment. So for the Microsoft Windows PC I bought Final Draft.

However, that was several years ago. Software companies can innovate a lot in four years.

Both packages offer a variety of formats, index cards, collaboration features, voice playback, and conversion to PDF (even HTML). Write Brothers offers a comparison chart, which is not necessarily up to date, at this link.

I have used the Final Draft conversion to PDF since mid 2004, and I can say that now the file sizes are reasonable. Occasionally I have trouble with overprinting of character continuation elements (after page breaks) in Final Draft pdf conversions.

Write Brothers offers a smaller “Hollywood Screenwriter”, and offers other tools for writers, such as StoryView, which would help an author pull together loose plot threads in a novel. The company explains some of these products at Dramatica.com. (I put my plots, for both novel drafts and screenplays, into outlines formatted by a database, Microsoft Access, so that I can sort or parse by any element, like date, character, chapter, etc. These packages would offer similar capabilities. It’s easy to imagine a storyboard database being put onto a webserver with Visual Studio .NET for display to possible investors.)

One item of controversy would be posting of one’s scripts on the Internet on a personal site for others to view. This would sound like it contradicts the third party rule, since studios usually go through agents. (Along those lines, studios (like CW) that run message boards always have disclaimers that they “own” any content – which could include story suggestions – that visitors post.) Some ideas indeed should be kept quiet until presented. But other ideas may be so personal or unusual that they could not be “stolen” without the help of the writer. (Remember the film “Secret Window” [2004, Columbia, dir. David Koepp, based on Stephen King’s story, with the line, “You stole my story!”) I think that in some cases personal postings of scripts (in PDF format) can spread word-of-mouth buzz about what a writer could do. I know there is some buzz about my “69 Minutes to Titan”. (Visit this link.)

One has to be careful for another reason, though, when putting one’s own fiction online. The publishing industry (as are movies and TV) is very careful about the possibility of unintentional invasion of privacy or libel, if a character in a story and the events of a story too easily reproduce someone in real life. Sometimes writers may libel themselves as a demonstration or “thought experiment”, as occasionally commercial films have done this (“Frisk”). Even this can have legal consequences that are only now coming to be understood, in these days when employers check personal and social networking sites. Amateur writers are often untrained in the risks.

One development that could be helpful is for screenwriting software vendors to offer content labeling (along ICRA guidelines). I have a blog about this at this link. This would effective allow for “self-rating” of scripts (along the lines of the MPAA rating system) and could warn visitors (or parents) about any usual concerns about a script (like the “thought experiment” problem above). As best I can tell, Adobe does not yet have the ability to label PDF documents, but documents in HTML can be labeled (in the header section, with references to a site’s XML or RDF rating index), and screenwriting software could provide the hooks to create the proper labels, if the companies saw fit to develop this capacity (which follows the technology of the “semantic web”).

Monday, October 02, 2006

Reel Affirmations DC GLBT Film Festival

Washington DC area residents will want to check out the Reel Affirmations GLBT film festival Oct 12-21, 2006. Most of the films show at the historic Lincoln Theater near the U-Street/Cardoza Metro stop on the Green Line. Some show at the Landmark E Street Theater in downtown Washington. A few show at the Goethe Institute, also downtown.

The festival is looking for volunteers (mostly two hour shifts), setup and takedown, and venue managers (day long assignments), as well as special assignments on Oct 7.

The full schedule of films is at this link.

Some of the films that I expect to see are
Shortbus (Thinkfilm, dir. John Cameron Mitchell)
Line of Beauty
(BBC, dir. Saul Dibb, novel by Alan Hollinghurst)
A Very Serious Person (dir. Charles Busch)
Small Town Gay Bar (dir. Malcolm Ingram)
Eleven Men Out ("Stratkarnir Okkar", Iceland, Regent, dir. Robert I. Douglas) Regent often distributes gay films from European offices of major studios.

When I lived in Minneapolis 1997-2003, I attended LGBT film festivals each fall, similar to the DC festival. Many of the films would be shown in the University of Minnesota Bell Auditorium. According the Minnesota Film Arts website, there is no festival in 2006 (there is the International festival in the spring). However, Intermediate Arts has sponsored "Flaming Film Festivals" in the spring; see this link.
In 2002, I showed three minute "Bill's Clips" simulating an air raid drill on the U of M campus, and in a movie auditorium a digital video clip was quite effective and scary.