Monday, July 4, 2016
Opens July 5 and runs to July 10, 2016POST UPDATE: 7/11/16
I wish I could have gotten to a few more films and at least one or two events during the festival, but it came during a busy week personally. I did support the festival with many, many social media blasts throughout the 6 days.
- Nuttin' But Love for the bio/doc WOMEN HE'S UNDRESSED
- Mini Review of HARA KIRI w/ Video Q&A of director Henry Alberto and actor Jesse Pimentel
- Mini Review of Opening Night Film PEOPLE YOU MAY KNOW w/ Video Q&A of director J.C. Falcón & actor Marc Cirillo receiving Artistic Achievement Award
- Excerpt of PGN interview with qFLIX Co-Producer James Duggan
- Juror Awards Winners
WOMEN'S HE'S UNDRESSED (bio/doc director: Gillian Armstrong) about the life of 3x Oscar winning (American in Paris, Cole Porter’s Les Girls and Some Like it Hot ) costume designer Orry-Kelly. I wouldn't have thought this device would work, but I liked how the film weaves in an actor (Darren Gilshenan) playing Orry-Kelly, who often recounts some tidbits told in the first person. Leonard Maltin, Jane Fonda and Angela Lansbury are interviewed, along with several costume designers like Ann Roth and Colleen Atwood, all weighing in on Kelly’s influences and style.
Orry was named after an ancient King of the Isle of Man, where his father was born. Once Kelly got to Hollywood, is when the hyphen was added. However, Hollywood was not Kelly's first stop upon reaching the US after leaving home (a little seaport town in Australia called Kiama). He landed in New York during the Broadway and Vaudeville heyday of the 1920s. When it was just fine to be openly gay or anything else you wanted to be as long as you were creative. This is where Orry-Kelly met Archibald Leech, better know as Cary Grant and the two became fast friends and more... They lived together an started a business hand painting ties, among other things.
After the crash of 1929, they moved out to Hollywood together. It was Leech/Grant who helped Kelly get his foot in the door as a costume designer at Warner Bros. I don't want to give everything away, but I don't think I ever fully comprehended how "out" one could be, even in Hollywood in the early days, that was until The Great Depression took hold, creating a culture of conservatism that has lasted way too long!
Bottom Line: For anyone in love with the Golden Age of Hollywood, like me, Women He's Undressed is a must see. One of my favorite movies is Auntie Mame starring Rosalind Russell, of which the costumes play a major part, but I never thought to find out who the designer was, now I know.
HARA KIRI is a film shot in 2 or 3 days with a single camera and mainly two actors. To paraphrase, writer/director Henry Alberto said he wanted to shoot something raw and emotional, but without all the pre-production baggage of procuring funding/investors and setting a heavy production schedule. He found himself intrigued by the skate culture and the guys who seem drawn to that world; wondering if the sport/pastime/culture also attracts a larger gay quotient. In Hara Kiri August (Jesse Pimentel) and Beto (Mojean Aria) meet at a skateboard park and have an immediate chemistry, along with having in common feeling generally like an outsider. So they contemplate having one last day to "hang out" before killing themselves.
The movie has a loose script, not all the dialogue was written, which allows for authentic, natural conversations and interactions. The camera work is very good. You'd expect it to have that homemade, single camera feel, but instead the shots are purposeful, the production quality is simplistic, but professional.
Unfortunately, at the end of the screening, only a handful of people stayed for the Q&A which started with a more or less full audience. I was sorry to see that happen, as although Hara Kiri is off-putting, it delivers on its intention and shows tremendous promise for this young filmmaker.
PEOPLE YOU MAY KNOW, World Premiere 2015, Writer/Director J.C. Falcón (USA, 101 mins, Drama/ Comedy) What happens to four close knit friends, when they have to confront a new life-changing situation, which may alter their friendships forever?
The festival opened to a nearly full house at The Kimmel Center's Perelman theater where the opening night film's Spain born writer/director, J.C. Falcón introduced his work.
People You May Know opens on the birthday of Herbert (Mark Cirillo) celebrating with his three best friends Joe (Sean Maher) and Delia (Andrea Grano) in person, and Rodrigo (Nacho San José) on Skype from Madrid. Herbert & Joe are both Gay but not a couple. Delia and Rodrigo are married. Later we find out Delia & Joe dated when they were both much younger, before Joe came out.
Although we begin on Herbert's birthday and it's an ensemble cast, the protagonist of the film is Joe who looks and reminds me of a better looking Ty Burrell from Modern Family. He's a writer with a tendency towards promiscuity, but at this point he's obsessed with a guy he talks to on the phone and over Skype. This guy's got a mysterious kind of elusive way about him. He frequently addresses Joe as "Honey Bunny", which comes off endearingly creepy and he sends Joe a black leather fetish mask.
An issues I had with the film is a scene where Joe and his mysterious lover have this hot sex-a-thon; now I have nothing against watching gay sex, but, and I'm not spoiling anything here, it turns out to be Joe's dream - only there's nothing to indicate it didn't really happen until 3 or 4 scenes later when Joe is talking to the guy and tells him about the dream. What we saw was Joe waking up in the morning to look with yearning at the empty space beside him in bed. How many times have you seen a scene like this? It just means the person got up early and left without saying goodbye. It doesn't mean he/she was never there. And not knowing it's a dream is not a plot device to deliberately deceive the audience; it's just confusingly executed.
Falcón's obvious intention is to give you a year in the life of these characters, and they do go through some life events; but not enough to play it out as if it were a saga. Yes, we do skip a few months here and there, but still I felt it drifted at times a bit too long. Otherwise, it's a good story that explores trust and betrayal on different levels, and how life often gives you what you need even if it wasn't how you wanted it.
By coincidence, I was sent a screener last month for a movie called BFF's (click for T&T post) written, directed and starring Tara Karsian and Andrea Grano, who I was unfamiliar with until seeing their movie and conducting an online interview with them. Turns out they are both in this movie People You May Know. Not to mention, Tara was the one who recommended Mark for his role as Herbert and...
Artistic Achievement Award in Acting:
Post Screening of "People You May Know"
Opening Night takes place at Perelman Theater Kimmel Center (Broad & Spruce Sts.)
Other two festival Venues: Prince Theater (15th & Chestnut) and Caplan Center for the Performing Arts at the University of the Arts (211 S. Broad Street 17th Floor)
qFlix co-founders: Thom Cardwell and James Duggan of Queertimes.net
#CinemaSneakSnack for @qflixphilly screening of WOMEN HE'S UNDRESSED doc featuring Golden Age of Hollywood costume designer Orry-Kelly #porkfriedrice #yuenglingsummerwheat #Hollywooeheyday #CaryGrant #marilynmonroe #bettydavis #oldmovies #filmblogger #filmfestivalcoverage #LGBTQ #Qflix #documentary #filmfestival
EXCERPT OF JAMES DUGGAN PGN INTERVIEW :
PGN: So you obviously were out at least to yourself at that point.
JD: Yes, I knew that I was very attracted to men and I’d known that from a very young age. I can remember being 7 or 8 years old and my brother would look at the JC Penney catalog to look at the women in bras and I’d look at the men in underwear. So I knew there was a difference between my brother and I and that difference continued as I explored it while I was growing up. I started identifying myself, personally, internally as a gay person at 16.
JD: Actually I met my first lover in the service. His name was James too. We met and instantly fell in love with each other but he wasn’t gay! He’d never identified as gay, didn’t think of himself as a gay man in any way, but we had a non-sexual romantic relationship for two-and-a-half years. When he realized how much we loved each other, he was ready to take it to the next level and we became lovers.
PGN: That sounds like it could be a film!
JD: Yeah, the sad part is that he passed away the weekend we were going to move in together. It was a beautiful love story turned tragic.
PGN: Oh, my. What happened? READ MORE...
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