Monday, February 16, 2015

Make your own LGBT film festival on YouTube -- some interesting new stuff (short films)

Here are three short “gay” films on YouTube, reviewed.
The main attraction is “Teens Like Phil” (2012), 20 minutes, directed by Dominic Haxton and David Rosler, from ASPD films (link on YouTube; official site ) .  A gay teen, Phil (Adam Donovan) faces bullying in high school, which seems to be located in Brooklyn, NY, near Fort Hamilton.  One of the bullies is a former friend, Adam (Rosler), who, according to a backstory, became angry when Phil made a pass while they were observing Phil’s obese, stoned uncle sleeping in the woods.  It seems that Phil also watches films of Adam working out on a computer.
The narrative gets complicated, with Phil’s parents, and a teacher who, after an essay Phil turned in on personal experiences related to “Janus”, has arranged counseling.  Phil attempts to hang himself but the film implies that Adam finds him in time.  So the story is rather specific and nuanced.  One can imagine making a documentary about Tyler Clementi.

The style of the film resembles that of a Terrence Malick retrospect and meditation, with certain choppy flashbacks and contemplative music. There is a speaker talking about entropy and decay and how reproduction is nature's only answer.   As for looks. Phil is as perfect as one can get.  
The next film was "Hearts and Hotel Rooms" (2007), 13 minutes, by Justin Nicholas James, distributed by HBO, which charges $1.49 to watch the film on YouTube (link; official site here ) .  Brian (Wes Tyler) meets Jimmy (Aaron Harp) in a bar and they have an encounter in a Beverly Hills hotel.  The film presents the story out sequence, and even rolls the film action backwards, as if there were a time machine.  The characters seem overdressed for California climate. Brian loses his wedding ring (is it heterosexual? – given the time the film was shot, pre Prop-8) and has to get it back.  Jimmy may lose something more subtle.  I think the choppy narrative drains the film of potential suspense.  

In "Eden" (2014, 15 minutes), by Sean Willis (Youtube link) two young men are locked in a mental hospital named after the film in 2042 in a fascistic state.  They come up with a clever scheme to escape "the cure".  
Then there is “Gay Over” (2014, 8 min, directed Mitchell Bonen, from LA Outfest and Sony Shorts, link), Austin MacKinnon plays a gay teen who meets a disapproving father and again ponders suicide.  But video games let him enter an alternate universe where he is accepted.

"The Language of Love" (2013, 9 min), from the Voices Project, produced by Ellen DeGeneres, directed by Laura Scrivano, presents Kim Ho in a classroom, talking about his best friend in a soliloquy, almost as if from "Carousel".

Audition” (2014, by Adam Tyree, 6 min).  A young actor (Brett Green) reads some kinky lines to the director before a green screen.  Is there a connection between the part and his real life?  Then the director asks him to strip so his body (“thmooth”) can be inspected for permanent perfection.
The opening of my own script “Make the A-List” has an audition with somewhat parallel cirucimstances, writeup on Wordpress here
I auditioned for one part myself in 2002 while living in Minneapolis, that of a Nazi ghost in the film “The Retreat” by Darin Heinis, set in 1944 in the Hurtgen Forest, with American troops during the Battle of the Bulge.  I almost got the part.  
Picture:  NYC Pride, June 29, 2014. 

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