Inaugurato giovedì sera con un cartone animato applaudissimo (Mary and Max, di Adam Elliot) il Sundance 2009, il festival del cinema indipendente, ideato e organizzato da Robert Redford, che si svolge a Park City (USA) dal 15 al 21 gennaio. Il Festival è cresciuto sempre più negli anni diventando uno dei più importanti festival internazionali, un festival dove tutti i grandi distributori vanno per procacciarsi e litigarsi le opere che, costate assai poco in quanto produzioni indipendenti, possono rivelarsi, come spesso accaduto in passato (vedi Brokeback Mountain, The Little Miss Sunshine, ecc.) dei veri e propri “affari”.
Grazie all’iniziativa di Ellen Huang, dal 2004 il Festival ospita un padiglione dedicato alla presentazione e ai dibattiti sul cinema LGBT presente al Festival, il Queer Lounge, ora gestito dalla GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). L’idea venne ad Ellen dopo aver visto al Festival di Cannes i padiglioni dove vari Paesi promuovevano i loro film: perchè non fare altrettanto per i film gay? L’idea fu subito accolta con favore da Robert Redford che ne permise subito la realizzazione.
Siamo rimasti allibiti quando poco tempo fa, dopo la vittoria del referendum contro i matrimoni gay, alcune associazioni LGBT americane hanno proposto di boicottare il Festival per il semplice fatto che si svolge nel territorio, lo Utah, dove sono più forti i Mormoni, grandi finanziatori della campagna contro i matrimoni gay. Va bene tutto, anche che molti gay non siano sensibili alla cultura cinematografica, ma questo ci sembra un tirarsi la zappa sui piedi. Redford, nel suo discorso d’inaugurazione, ha giustamente detto che «Cercare di colpire Sundance è autodistruttivo perché la diversità è sempre stata il nostro forte, abbiamo sempre dato libertà a voci di ogni tipo, soprattutto gay e lesbiche».
La dimostrazione di quanto sopra è anche nel programma della corrente edizione del Festival, particolarmente importante perchè celebra il suo 25mo anniversario, che su 118 lungometraggi presentati ben 27 sono con riferimenti a tematiche LGBT.
Tra questi grande rilievo hanno le anteprime mondiali di I Love You, Phillip Morris con Jim Carrey e Ewan McGregor, protagonisti di una storia d’amore gay tra un ex poliziotto e un galeotto, e La Mission con Benjamin Bratt (Law and Order) diretto dal fratello Peter Bratt, sulla storia della rieducazione di un padre macho e omofobo che scopre l’omosessualità de figlio. Diversi altri titoli, come “Amreeka”, “Children of Invention”, “Weather Girl” e “I Sell the Dead” potrebbero rivelarsi di grande qualità.
Grande soddisfazione nostra (e di tutti gli italiani) la partecipazione al concorso del nostro “Un altro pianeta” di Stefano Tummolini, unico film italiano presente al Sundance (insieme al documentario “Anna” di Paolo Serbandini e Giovanna Massimetti sulla giornalista russa Anna Politkovskaya uccisa a Mosca nel 2006).
L’attività di Queer Lounge non si ferma solo alla promozione e informazione sui film a tematica, ma organizza anche una serie di incontri e dibattiti sui temi sollevati dai film e sulle connessioni tra gay e cinema. Di seguito i titoli e i partecipanti alle principali tavole rotonde:
TRYING TIMES: THE FUTURE OF LGBT FILM FESTIVALS
Intervengono: Kirsten Schaffer (Outfest), Jennifer Morris (Frameline), Orly Ravid (New American Vision, Senator Entertainment), Paul Rachman (Slamdance), and Carol Coombes (Philadelphia Gay & Lesbian Film Festival).
Moderatore: Lesli Klainberg (Newfest)
SHORT FILMS – YES, THERE IS A MARKET!
Intervengono: Maria Wolfe (Wolfe Video), Tiffany Shlain (Dir., The Tribe), Joe Wilson (Prod/Co-Dir., Out in the Silence)
Moderatore: Roberta Marie Munroe (author, How NOT To Make a Short Film: Secrets From a Sundance Programmer)
LGBT CIVIL RIGHTS, FILM ACTIVISM & PROPOSITION 8
Intervengono: John Cooper (Sundance Film Festival®), Rob Epstein (Oscar® Winning Dir., The Times of Harvey Milk, Celluloid Closet), Rashad Robinson (GLAAD), Matt Coles (ACLU), Dayna Frank (HOMOtracker, F.A.I.R.).
Moderatore: B. Ruby Rich (Cultural Critic; Professor UC Santa Cruz)
BEHIND-THE-SCENES TO THE SCREEN: NAVIGATING HOLLYWOOD WITH LGBT CONTENT
Intervengono: Christine Vachon (Prod., Boys Don’t Cry, Motherhood), Ryan Werner (VP of Marketing, IFC), David Permut (Prod., Prayers for Bobby, Face/Off), and Daniel Sladek (Prod., Prayers for Bobby).
Moderatore: Kyle Buchanan (Film Critic, The Advocate, Defamer.com)
La MISSION: A STORY OF CULTURE, CLASS AND INTOLERANCE
Intervengono: Peter Bratt (Writer/Director) and cast members Benjamin Bratt, Erika Alexander, Jeremy Ray Valdez, Jesse Borrego and John Amaechi (Consulting Producer).
Moderatore: Mike Goodridge (Screen International)
ROAD TO PARK CITY AND BEYOND: LAUNCHING YOUR FILM CAREER
Intervengono: Steak House (Prod., Weather Girl), Morgan Stiff (Prod., Mississippi Damned), Tina Mabry (Dir., Mississippi Damned), Cherien Dabis (Dir., Amreeka), Tze Chun (Dir., Children of Invention), Glenn McQuaid (Dir., I Sell the Dead).
Moderatore: Josh Welsh, (Dir. of Talent Development, Film Independent).
THE OUTSIDERS: FORMING IDENTITIES FROM THE MARGINS
Intervengono: David Brind (Co-Producer/Writer, Dare), Mary Jane Skalski (Prod., Dare, Mysterious Skin), Lee Daniels (Dir., Push, Shadow Boxer), Gabourey Sidibe (Actor, Push), and Steve Kelly (Dir., City Rats).
DI SEGUITO TUTTI I LUNGOMETRAGGI CON RIFERIMENTI LGBT:
Amreeka (Dramatic Competition)
Regia/Sceneggiatura: Cherien Dabis
Cast: Nisreen Faour, Melkar Muallem, Hiam Abbass
(USA/Canada/Kuwait, 2009, 96 min., color)
After her family is granted a U.S. green card, a Palestinian single mother must choose between a desire to remain in her homeland, and a potentially more secure future for her teenage son in America.
The Anarchists’ Wife (La Mujer del Anarquista) (Spectrum)
Regias: Marie Noelle, Peter Sehr
Sceneggiaturas: Marie Noelle, Ray Loriga
Cast: Maria Valverde, Juan Diego Botto, Nina Hoss
(Germany/Spain, 2008, 112 min., color)
Against the tumultuous backdrops of the Spanish Civil War and World War II, the love of a young Spanish couple is tested by time and isolation when the husband’s political activism forces them to separate.
Dare (Dramatic Competition)
Regia: Adam Salky
Sceneggiatura: David Brind
Cast: Emmy Rossum, Zach Gilford, Ashley Springer, Ana Gasteyer, Alan Cumming, Sandra Bernhard
(USA, 2009, 92 min., color)
The lives of three high school seniors become emotionally and sexually intertwined with each other when their last semester of school and encroaching adulthood prompts them to shed their inhibitions. Ben, the sexually confused outsider, is one of the three.
Everything Strange and New (Spectrum)
Regia/Sceneggiatura: Frazer Bradshaw
Cast: Jerry McDaniel, Beth Lisick, Luis Saguar, Rigo Chacon Jr.
(USA, 2009, 84 min., color)
Trapped in a “good on paper” life that he never wanted, Wayne struggles to handle careening family members, emotionally troubled friends, and issues of sexuality and substance abuse.
Good Hair (Documentary Competition)
Regia: Jeff Stilson
Sceneggiaturas: Chris Rock, Jeff Stilson, Lance Crouther, Chuck Sklar
Cast: Chris Rock, Ice-T, Nia Long, Maya Angelou, Reverend Al Sharpton
(USA, 2009, 95 min., color)
In an attempt to change his young daughter’s misconceptions about her own hair, comedian Chris Rock set out to investigate the history, business, and unexpected facets of black hair culture. (WAITING ON QUEER DETAILS)
Humpday (Dramatic Competition)
Regia/Sceneggiatura: Lynn Shelton
Cast: Mark Duplass, Joshua Leonard, Alycia Delmore, Lynn Shelton, Trina Willard
(USA, 2009, 92 min., color)
A farcical buddy comedy in which a night of drunken boasting and big talk somehow leads two straight former college buddies into a dare to film themselves having sex with each other for an amateur porn contest.
I Love You, Phillip Morris(Premieres)
Regias/Sceneggiaturas: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
Cast: Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Rodrigo Santoro, Leslie Mann
(USA, 2008, 100 min., color)
Based on a remarkable true story, a local Texas cop turns to a life of fraud after coming out of the closet, which eventually lands him in prison. There he falls in love with the titular inmate Phillip Morris, and begins a series of daring escape attempts to reunite with his soon-released lover.
The Informers (Premieres)
Regia: Gregor Jordan
Sceneggiaturas: Bret Easton Ellis, Nicholas Jarecki
Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger, Mickey Rourke, Winona Ryder, Jon Foster, Amber Heard
(USA, 2008, 98 min., color)
Bret Easton Ellis’ tale of debauchery, drugs, and depravity in 1980s Los Angeles is adapted for the screen. As is often Ellis’ style, the stories of several different characters — not all of who are completely straight — and their indulgent exploits are interwoven to illustrate the excess of the times.
La Mission (Spectrum)
Regia/Sceneggiatura: Peter Bratt
Cast: Benjamin Bratt, Erika Alexander, Jeremy Ray Valdez, Jesse Borrego, Talisa Soto Bratt
(USA, 2008, 117 min., color)
A recovering alcoholic and ex-con that gets by on intimidation, Che is also a devoted father to teenage son Jesse, who he violently rejects after discovering that Jesse is gay. Prompted in part by his headstrong neighbor Lena, Che must confront his long held prejudices to repair his parental relationship.
Louise-Michel (World Dramatic Competition)
Regias: Benoit Delepine, Gustav de Kervern
Cast: Yolande Moreau, Bouli Lanners
(France, 2008, 94 min., color)
After being unceremoniously fired by the toy factory that employed them, a group of women seek revenge by hiring a hit man to off the company’s owner. This dark and absurdist French comedy features an unexpected queer twist.
Mary and Max (Opening Night Film, Premieres)
Regia/Sceneggiatura: Adam Elliot
Cast: Toni Collette, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Humphries, Eric Bana
(Australia, 2008, 92 min., color and b/w)
Narrated by Australian performer Barry Humphries (the incomparable Dame Edna), this clay animation film brings to life an unlikely pen pal relationship between a 44-year-old obese, Jewish man with Asperger’s syndrome in New York City, and an odd, chubby 8-year-old girl in Melbourne nursing a crush on her Boy George-loving, cake-decorating neighbor.
Regia/Sceneggiatura: Katherine Dieckmann
Producer: Christine Vachon
Cast: Uma Thurman, Anthony Edwards, Minnie Driver, Samantha Bee
(USA, 2008, 90 min., color)
The latest Sundance entry from queer film champion Christine Vachon’s Killer Films, Motherhood follows an overwhelmed mom trying to throw her daughter a sixth birthday party over the course of a particularly tumultuous and revelatory day.
One Day in a Life (Un altro pianeta) (World Dramatic Competition)
Regia: Stefano Tummolini
Sceneggiaturas: Stefano Tummolini, Antonio Merone
Cast: Antonio Merone, Lucia Mascino
(Italy, 2008, 82 min., color)
Salvatore’s simple outing to an Italian gay beach results in his getting caught up in the unfolding dramas of his fellow beach goers, and the painful memories of his past.
Push: Based on the novel by Sapphire(US Dramatic Competition)
Regia: Lee Daniels
Sceneggiatura: Damien Paul
Cast: Gabourey Sidibe, Paula Patton, Mo’Nique, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz
(USA, 2008, 105 min., color)
Illiterate, overweight, and sexually abused teenager Precious Jones has a harder life than most could dream of, until a lesbian teacher named Blue Rain inspires her to finally turn her life around.
The September Issue (Salt Lake City Gala, US Documentary Competition)
Regia: R.J. Cutler
Cast: Anna Wintour, Andre Leon Talley, Grace Coddington
(USA, 2008, 90 min., color)
Nine months in the making, Vogue magazine’s September issue is considered by many to be the definitive fashion bible for the following year. This documentary chronicles the creative process and behind the scenes chaos leading up to its unveiling.
Shouting Fire: Stories From the Edge of Free Speech (US Documentary Competition)
Regia: Liz Garbus
(USA, 2008, 80 min., color)
Though it may have taken a beating in our post-9/11 society, the First Amendment remains one of our most cherished, core tenants, even though we may not always like the things it guarantees others the right to say. This documentary explores both the Amendment’s history and several contemporary cases, including that of a young boy fighting for the right to wear a shirt in school bearing anti-gay scripture.
Spring Breakdown (Midnight)
Regia: Ryan Shiraki
Sceneggiaturas: Ryan Shiraki, Rachel Dratch
Cast: Amy Poehler, Parker Posey, Rachel Dratch, Amber Tamblyn, Jane Lynch
(USA, 2008, 84 min., color)
When tasked with keeping an eye on her boss’ daughter during her trip south for spring break, Becky and her two other almost-40 friends (Gayle and Judi) find it’s the perfect time to trade in their bland personas for some uninhibited fun. Judi, in particular, could use some fun after discovering that her fiancé is gay.
Taking Chance (US Dramatic Competition)
Regia: Ross Katz
Sceneggiaturas: LtCol Michael R. Strobl (Ret.), Ross Katz
Cast: Kevin Bacon
(US, 2008, 85 min., color)
Based on the personal journal of Lieutenant Colonel Michael Strobl, USMC (Ret.), Taking Chance follows the journey Strobl made in the spring of 2004 across the country as a volunteer military escort with the remains of Lance Corporal Chance Phelps, a young Marine killed in action in Iraq.
Unmade Beds (World Dramatic Competition)
Regia/Sceneggiatura: Alexis Dos Santos
Cast: Deborah Francois, Fernando Tielve
(United Kingdom, 2008, 92 min., color)
After learning that his long-lost father is now a London realtor with a new family, young Spaniard Axl poses as an apartment-hunting student to learn more about him, but soon finds that the lie is becoming his life. Set amongst the hip East End club scene, Axl and his squatmates engage in tangled romances and a threeway — or two.
Slamdance Film Festival
City Rats (Narrative Feature Competition)
Regia: Steve M. Kelly
Sceneggiatura: Simon Fantuzzo
Cast: Susan Lynch, Kenny Doughty, Tamer Hassan
(United Kingdom, 2008, 96 min.)
Among the ensemble of denizens in a gritty London neighborhood are Chris and Olly; a disabled man and the brother who cares for him. Confused about his sexuality, Olly is shocked to discover his deaf and mute brother is also gay — and amazingly less conflicted about it than he is.
Drool (Special Screenings)
Regia/Sceneggiatura: Nancy Kissam
Cast: Laura Harring, Jill Marie Jones, Oded Fehr
(USA, 2008, 88 min.)
After her attempt to escape from her abusive husband accidentally ends with his death, a wife and her cosmetics-selling best friend (who may be more than that) head out on a cross-country trip to bury the corpse.
Graphic Sexual Horror (Documentary Feature Competition)
Regias/Sceneggiaturas: Barbara Bell and Anna Lorentzon
(USA, 2009, 85 min.)
A look behind the scenes of the notorious “violent porn” website Insex.com, where sadomasochistic fantasies and the realities of commerce intertwine.
I Sell the Dead (Opening Night Slamdance)
Regias/Sceneggiaturas: Glenn McQuaid
Cast: Dominic Monaghan, Larry Fessenden, Angus Scrimm, Ron Pearlman
(US, 2008, 85 min., color, HD)
The harrowing tale of Arthur Blake and Willie Grimes, two bumbling grave robbers embroiled in a series of adventures with the dead and not so dead, is told by Blake to a strange priest on the eve of his execution.
Mississippi Damned (Narrative Feature Competition)
Regia/Sceneggiatura: Tina Mabry
Producer: Morgan Stiff
Cast: DB Woodside, Malcolm David Kelly, Tessa Thompson, Malcolm Goodwin
(USA, 2009, 120 min.)
Three Southern black children struggle to escape the cycles of addiction and violence inherited from generations of their family.
Smile ‘Til It Hurts: The ‘Up With People’ Story (Documentary Feature Competition
Regia: Lee Story
(USA, 2008, 82 min., color and b/w)
Born out of the tumultuous social upheaval of the ’60s, the singing troupe ‘Up With People’ has been a voice of optimism and peace that has survived for over 40 years. As this documentary shows, their squeaky clean — not to mention straight — image was only part of the story.
Weather Girl (Special Screenings)
Regia/Sceneggiatura: Blayne Weaver
Cast: Tricia O’Kelley, Jane Lynch, Mark Harmon, Jon Cryer
(USA, 2008, 90 min.)
Steakhaus Productions (By Hook or By Crook) presents the story of a local Seattle weather girl who is fired after and on-air meltdown, and subsequently forced to move in with her little brother.
Dal sito www.queerlounge.org
Qui sotto Robert Redford inaugura il Sundance 2009