SIFF is still chugging along and now entering its third weekend. If you’re looking for narrative fiction queer film, there’s not anything on tap for this weekend but documentary lovers will have a field day.
First up: BIG JOY: THE ADVENTURES OF JAMES BROUGHTON examines the fascinating life of a mid 20th Century queer artist and filmmaker. James Broughton was also an activist whose entire life was spent rejecting norms and embracing the “forbidden”.
The world scandalized James Broughton, a sartorial-minded pre-Beat filmmaker and poet, so he, in turn, scandalized it. In Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton, directors Eric Slade and Stephen Silha detail Broughton’s courage and impertinence in rejecting the heteronormative life of the 50s onward with its emphasis on frenetic consumerism and careerism. He embraced the avant-garde movement of the early 20th century by erasing the boundaries between poetry and cinema, thereby creating a new aesthetic in film. At the Cannes Film Festival, while bestowing a special award for Broughton’s 1953 film The Pleasure Garden, Jean Cocteau enthused, “Bravo! An American who made a French film in England.”
Filmmakers Eric Slade and Stephen Silha are scheduled to be in attendance for both screenings of the film, tonight, Friday, May 31 at 6pm at SIFF Cinema at the Uptown, and Saturday, June 1 at 1:30pm at Pacific Place Cinemas.
VALENTINE ROAD examines a more solemn subject: the murder of 15 year old Lawrence King by a classmate.
In February 2008, openly gay and transgendered eighth-grade student Lawrence King approached fellow student Brandon McInerney on the playground of an Oxnard, California middle school and asked him to be his Valentine. Two days later, King was shot twice at point-blank range and killed by McInerney with a handgun he’d brought to school. Lost within a swirl of higher-profile school shootings in recent years with higher death tolls, the tragic 2008 incident barely registered nationally, but it became a small media frenzy in the Oxnard area, with reports swirling about McInerney’s alleged involvement with neo-Nazi hate groups. As director Marta Cunningham investigated what seemed to be an open-and-shut case of bigotry and homophobia, she began to see nuances in the stories of the victim and the shooter, both of whom were physically abused and came from broken homes. With interviews of all parties involved, including some members of the jury in McInerney’s trial who attempted to justify the actions of the troubled 14-year-old, Valentine Road tells this heartbreaking story from the perspective of the murdered boy and his killer, who could both be considered victims of a legal system ill-equipped to mete out justice in the case or to prevent such tragedies from happening again.
The film debuts Saturday, June 1 at 2:30pm at SIFF Cinema at the Uptown and repeats on Sunday, June 2 at 6pm at the Harvard Exit with director Marta Cunningham scheduled to attend both screenings.
Our final pick for the weekend isn’t 100% queer but it IS 100% kinky…KINK is the James Franco produced/Christina Voros directed documentary about Kink.com the most popular BDSM website on the Intertubes and the film takes a VERY intimate behind the scenes look at one of the most unusual workplaces in the world.
Inside San Francisco’s historic Armory building, a video director named Maitrese Madeline is running down a list of the day’s video shoot. “We are going to tie you up today. We are going to spank you. We are going to flog you. We might cane you. We might paddle you…. We’re going to make love to your butthole, too.” Welcome to the offices of Kink.com, the world’s most popular BDSM website. Founded in a Columbia University dorm room by Peter Acworth in 1997, the site has grown into a fetish empire, anchored by a 200,000-square-foot film studio where production never stops. If porn were a high school lunchroom, this would be the goth table, a tight-knit family of outsiders fostering an environment that is safe, sane, and consensual. Executive Producer James Franco—whose equally explicit film Interior. Leather Bar. is also featured in this year’s festival—and director Christina Voros plunge deep inside this sweaty but sweet world for an uncensored look at the whip-smart fetish lovers behind the scenes.
KINK screens Saturday, June 1 at 9pm and Sunday, June 2 at 9:30pm, with both screenings at The Egyptian…we’re guessing that SIFF programmers figured all the kinky folk live on the Hill…yet, I’ve been told by a contractor that he’s built a LOT of private sex dungeon rooms on the Eastside…
Also: a reminder that this year’s SIFF “Gay-LA” is happening Wednesday, June 5 at 7pm at The Egyptian with the after party at Q. This year’s film is G.B.F and here’s what you need to know:
Tanner is happy enough living in the closet and the shadows, but when circumstance outs him to his entire high school, he finds himself cast as the hottest new accessory that the three rival queen bees of the school need, like, yesterday: a Gay Best Friend. Brent, his own best friend, would love to be in Tanner’s shoes, causing a falling out that quickly turns to war as prom season approaches and the stakes get higher. Beyond being just plain fun, the film raises important points about straight female-gay male friendships and the hyper or non-sexualization of gay men, especially in the media. Evanna Lynch (Harry Potter‘s Luna Lovegood) is a special treat as the absurd McKenzie Price, who embodies the self-delusion and hypocrisy of the Westboro Baptist Church with zeal and war paint. Fast-paced and witty, there’s little not to love in this part homage to, part parody of, the iconic Mean Girls (2004).