Local Event: FilmOut 2010
San Diego's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Film Festival
FilmOut, San Diego’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender film festival, kicks off tomorrow night with “The Big Gay Musical.” The festival runs through Sunday at the Birch North Park Theater.
Imagine you’re gay and watching yet another heterosexual romance on the stage.
Patron: “I can’t take it any more… I need a big gay musical.”
Well a big gay musical is exactly how FilmOut has decided to kick off its 12 season.
Announcer: “Before the show begins we need to let you know that this show was rated flaming by the coalition of Christians that doesn’t mean it’s about homosexuals it just means that if you enjoy the show you’ll end up burning in hell right next to us.”
The film, like the festival, isn’t afraid of holding up stereotypes for both humor and scrutiny. “The Big Gay Musical” serves up hunky tap dancing angels, a rewriting of the book of Genesis, and a plethora of musical numbers as it humorously explores contemporary gay relationships. Another festival’s entry also looks to stereotypes as you might be able to gather from it’s title.
Mom: “Oh vey my son is gay!”
But “Oh Vey My Son is Gay” does not focus on the gay man coming out but rather on the reaction of his parents played by Lainie Kazan and Saul Rubinek.
Mom: "Marty, Nelson just said he’s gay."
Mom: "He’s gay, you’re son, he’s a homosexual, he’s gay. Your son is trying to tell you he’s gay."
Filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky makes no apologies for the stereotypes he hits in his film.
EVGENY AFINEEVSKY: "I do have stereotypes and I’m not afraid to say that it is because to make people laugh you need to bring the stereotype. Because if you are taking characters that are not stereotyped, it’s not funny. It’s becoming drama."
Coming out also figures in the horror film “Zombies of Mass Destruction.”
Lance: "After he came out, they shipped him off to a straight camp somewhere in the Midwest, they told him god would see him through. What he was put through in those straight acres we’ll never know. But I swear he was like a zombie when he came back."
And he’s not alone. A zombie invasion sets in bold relief some of the stereotypes and prejudices people hold – even in times of crisis. So the two gay men that seek sanctuary in a church are told by the reverend that they need to renounce their homosexuality in order to be safe from the infection. Apparently only sinners are in danger of going over to the undead side.
Reverend Haggis: "We have to zombie proof our souls. We have to free ourselves of every last trace of sin. I will absolve each of you to make sure you do not become one of them. Have no fear friends for we have history’s greatest zombie on our side, Jesus Christ."
Zombies have always been a nice blank slate for filmmakers to use for social commentary, and Kevin Hamedani takes full advantage of that to satirize homophobia and xenophobia. The film is clever, funny, and gory. It attacks stereotypes with the same glee and gusto that its characters employ in fighting off the undead.
Lance: "Don’t shoot I’m gay!"
Zombies aren’t typical fare for a gay film festival so kudos to programmer Michael McQuiggan. During his nine years he has brought more diversity to the festival and consistently worked to showcase horror films like this year’s “Zombies of Mass Destruction” and “Pornography: A Thriller.”
This year’s FilmOut boasts some 50 features and shorts, including some fun classics like “Priscilla Queen of the Dessert.”
Mitzi: "Aren’t we fabulous!"
So whether you are straight or gay, consider smashing some stereotypes or poking fun at them at this years 12th annual FilmOut.