Short on length, long on depth?

Posted on 03 Sep 2009 at 9:47am
By ARNOLD WAYNE JONES | Live+Style Editor jones@dallasvoice.com

Out Takes’ September festival offering explores the value of short film


YOGI BEARABLE | A time traveling lesbian seeks advice from her yoga instructor about whether she should move in with her girlfriend in ‘When the Time’s Right.’

3 OUT OF 5 STARS
Magnolia Theater, 3699 McKinney Ave. Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. $10.  (Free pre-show reception at
Gardens at 6 p.m.)

To purists — and I count myself among them — a film festival isn’t really a festival with a selection of shorts. Short films are the breeding ground of future great filmmakers, and for niche markets like gay cinema, a way to get a message out that doesn’t break a budget.

Out Takes Dallas’ decision to end its year-long monthly screenings with a selection of eight short films — ranging from four minutes to a half-hour — is a nice capper. (Every monthly screening so far has included at least one short.)

Here’s a rundown of the slate of films:

And the Award Goes To … In this parody of the Oscars (which uses actual Academy Award footage), a first-time nominee of a short about masturbation recalls all those who got him to the podium.

Rope Burn. The only live-action narrative drama in the program is this tale of betrayal and revenge set among lesbian aerialists. You heard right. It’s soapy silliness without a British accent — a ho-hum homo drama.

Queerer Than Thou. Contrast Rope Burn with this, the sauciest bit of camp in the lineup. The premise is an hilariously over-the-top bitch session among young friends about who’s the gayest hyphenate in their alphabet-soup clique of LGBTIQQA-MOUSE radicals. It ends with a dance-off. How gay can you get?

I Just Wanted to Be Somebody. For those too young to remember Anita Bryant as the messenger of right wing anti-gay rhetoric, Milk did a pretty good job of putting her orange-soaked smarm into context. This brief documentary about Bryant, which employs her own home movies, quietly rages against a key figure in the early gay rights movement.

Abomination: Homosexuality and the Ex-Gay Movement. The longest entry in the program is this documentary that looks at the destructive — and ultimately ineffective — use of gay reparative therapy, uncovering the movement’s secret failures (like how the men who founded Exodus International eventually dumped their wives and married each other) with methodical and unassailable reason.

Kurdish Spring Break. Following the heavy topic in Abomination, this comic piffle is a great palate cleaner, with hot shirtless guys in bathing suits posing and shooting each other with SuperSoakers. Its politics are about as muddled as Bush’s foreign policy, but who cares. Dumb stuff, yes … but fun.

Cut. How often do you find an animated film with gay content — other than Finding Nemo? This stylized portrait of someone forced to get a close-cropped haircut who then loses a job… but finds love.

When the Time’s Right. Forget The Time Traveler’s Wife — consider instead her lesbian girlfriend. When one woman invites her significant other to move in, this comic romance turns sci-fi… and provides probably the hottest sex scene Out Takes has shown all season.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 4, 2009.

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