GIVEAWAY: Movie passes to see “Pariah”

Who doesn’t like a free movie? We can help with that. We have 10 passes to see Pariah, which screens Wednesday at the Angelika. Spike Lee executive produced the film which is an expansion on writer/director Dee Rees’ 2007 short film of the same name. The full-length premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. From Focus Features.

Alike is quietly but firmly embracing her identity as a lesbian. With the sometimes boisterous support of her best friend, out lesbian Laura (Pernell Walker), Alike is especially eager to find a girlfriend. At home, her parents’ marriage is strained and there is further tension in the household whenever Alike’s development becomes a topic of discussion. Pressed by her mother into making the acquaintance of a colleague’s daughter, Bina (Aasha Davis), Alike finds Bina to be unexpectedly refreshing to socialize with.

Wondering how much she can confide in her family, Alike strives to get through adolescence with grace, humor, and tenacity – sometimes succeeding, sometimes not, but always moving forward.

Passes admit two, but seating is first come, so get there early as the pass can not guarantee admission. Wanna ticket? OK, come on up to our offices before Wednesday (that’s Dec. 28) by noon before we start wrapping up the week’s issue and close up for the holidays. You know where we are, right?

Pariah is rated R.

—  Rich Lopez

QUEER CLIPS: USAFF Short Film Showcase

Hello Caller: A suicidal woman calls a help line only to find the man on the opposite end (gay filmmaker Tom Lenk, pictured, who produced and wrote the script) seems not to understand the situation. A gem of a comedy with very dark undertones and a great twist.

Clara’s Carma: A psychiatrist (Dallas native Stephen Tobolowsky of Glee) deals with a flaky patient and unexpected expenses on his new car.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

Short Film Showcase plays April 29 at 9:15 p.m. with short film awards presented May 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Angelika Film Center Mockingbird Station.

—  John Wright

Celebrating ‘Family Time’ with COLAGE

COLAGE, an organization for people with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer parents, has just launched its new website, and its chock-full of information, entertainment and resources.

There’s an interactive timeline on LGBTQ families; there’s a blog; there’s a calendar; there’s a video story-wall and more. But perhaps the element with the most impact is the short film, “Family Time,” produced and directed by Jen Gilomen, and featuring the pioneering young men and women who founded COLAGE (back then it was called Just For Us) 20 years ago and who have helped it grow.

Every parent wants the best for their children. Every parent worries about doing something wrong. But when you are L or G or B or T and you are constantly bombarded by negative messages from mainstream society, no matter how confident and proud you are, you sometimes worry that who you are may be hurting your son or daughter.

So watching this film, seeing these proud, strong young people, was a very affirming for me as a lesbian parent. And I can guarantee that everyone will find at least one moment that makes you want to stand up and cheer. For me, the main highlight came about one-third of the way in — between the 4- and 5-minute marks — when the film is showing footage from a Canadian talk show from the early 1990s. In that clip, the young man and young woman who founded Just For Us/COLAGE have been blindsided by the talk show host who has brought on some right-winger to talk about how horrible it is for LGBTs to be raising children, even though the host had promised that wouldn’t happen. But then the young woman, who had a gay father, refuses to take the right-wing crap laying down, telling everyone in no uncertain terms that it isn’t the gay parent that causes problems, it’s the anti-gay assholes who harass and discriminate and intimidate and bully.

I know that at 15 minutes this is a little longer than the clips we usually post on Instant Tea. But it’s worth it.

—  admin

WATCH: ‘One on One,’ a gay short film written and produced at the University of Texas at Dallas

Although this is the first I’ve heard of it, One on One was originally posted to YouTube (where it has more than 7,000 views) in May 2010 and has reportedly been making the rounds on Facebook ever since. One on One was written and directed by UTD student Luis Fernando Midence, and according to YouTube, it’s been screened at numerous LGBT film festivals. “A story about compromise, One On One follows Alex and Trevor as they work out their relationship on and off the basketball court, after one of them asks the other one to join a waltz class together.”

—  John Wright

Out Takes presents awards for 2010

Out Takes Dallas celebrated its 11th season last week by presenting awards for its prior year of programming. Here are the winners:
Best Narrative Feature-Length Film: The New Twenty
Best Narrative Short Film: Gayby
Best Documentary (Feature or Short): Training Rules: No Drinking, No Drugs, No Lesbians
Best Lead Performance in a Feature-Length Film: Javier Cámara as Maxi in Chef’s Special
Best Supporting Performance in a Feature-Length Film (tie): Bernhard Bulling as Pascal/Ueli in Soundless Wind Chime and Manolo Cardona as Santiago in Undertow
Audience Choice: Training Rules: No Drinking, No Drugs, No Lesbians

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Shawn of the deadly

Homo and horror collide as out filmmaker Shawn Ewert slices his way into the movies

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

SCARED (NOT) STRAIGHT | Shawn Ewert has wrapped up his second short film with his first feature in sight. (Arnold Wayne Jones | Dallas Voice)
SCARED (NOT) STRAIGHT | Shawn Ewert has wrapped up his second short film with his first feature in sight. (Arnold Wayne Jones | Dallas Voice)

For some people, every day is Halloween.

The monsters and nightmares stick around all year long and they are just fine with that.

Definitely Shawn Ewert is. Actually, if it wasn’t for those nightmares, he might be out of his profession as a horror film director.

“If I’m working around the house, I’ll throw in any scary movie for the background,” he says. “It’s just another day.”

When a “cool aunt” showed him A Nightmare on Elm Street, it scared him like it should any 5-year-old. Now 32, he admits he can’t get enough of it. So he decided to turn his photography work into filmmaking.

“I love film in general but because of that, horror has special place for me,” he says. “I watched a lot of Hitchcock growing up. He wasn’t going for gore — he was all about story. That’s what it is for me. If I don’t care about story, I don’t care about the film.”

In junior high, his writing began to manifest as his outlet for his “freakiness:” No one read his stuff for fear they would freak out. In the back of his mind, though, he wondered what his stories would actually look like.

“I knew those stories would be so much cooler if I could watch,” he says. “All I thought was how could I make this on the screen. I’d love to show to somebody someday the way I see all this in my head.”

Ewert rolls his eyes at the thought of reminiscing over high school. Like many gay youth, they weren’t the best of times for him. He came out to a select few, but was publicly outed by the girl he dated. Still, Ewert came out relatively unscathed — even in a Mesquite high school.

But his second family was in the horror film fan community, and it’s there he found solace and even acceptance. Unlike comedy or musicals, there isn’t an actual community of fans, but those who like scary movies — who really like them — come together and Ewert found a home. When he began his coming out process on his own terms, he found acceptance among his brethren.

“For me, the horror community is pretty accepting,” he says. “Horror fans can connect to so many other people that it’s almost a family atmosphere. In that group, you’re less of a freak and that made it easier to come out to those people.”

Fast-forward to June 2010. Ewert’s production company, Right Left Turn Productions, screened his short Jack’s Bad Day at the first Fears for Queers film festival in Addison. The one-day event featured all gay filmmakers in the horror genre.  His 20-minute film is about a serial killer who comes up short in his murderous proclivity. Ewert calls it a horror-comedy.

“The stuff we’ve made so far has been tongue-in-cheek,” he says. “There’s a certain comedy to Jack’s Bad Day. All his victims die right before he kills them. What it would it mean for a serial killer to have that kind of day?”

He’s wrapping up his second short The Sleepover, a 10-minute-long film that leaves the comedy out in favor of sheer fear. “Oh gosh, it’s a horrifying story about a serial killer of little girls,” he says.

So where’s the gay stuff? Ewert doesn’t see things that way. Although he’s gay and a filmmaker, his films aren’t going to “be gay” just because he is. Got it?

“The problem I have with most LGBT films is the filmmakers make them as gay as possible without much of a story,” he says. “They make films that are so narrow just to fit one community. I want to see the gay community in my films. I also want to have appeal to everyone. And I don’t write gay-centric necessarily, but I do have a script I couldn’t stop writing.”

That would be his latest short, Out Come the Wolves, and it’s both scary and topical. Ewert’s first gay horror piece is about one kid’s revenge on bullies. But Wolves is also personal to him because his own run-ins were far scarier than any movie.

“I used a lot of language in the film that if someone were to say to me and I would be pretty upset,” he says. “When a truckload of guys once chased and threatened me, it was my first dose of reality that they could literally take someone’s life. That made its way into this film. This is revenge for me.”

He’s taking baby steps with his short films, but his first full-length feature is in sight. Ewert has scripts and ideas ready to put on camera. If he runs out of ideas, well,  all he has to do is go to sleep.

“Almost everything I’ve done has come out of a dream, or as close to a dream as I can remember,” Ewert says.
Or maybe he means nightmare.

For more on Ewert’s films, visit RightLeftTurnProductions.com.

…………………………………….

Scary gay

Horror filmmaker Shawn Ewert knows his scary movies. He also knows what’s so gay about many of them. He breaks down some of his favorites for us here.

The Hunger - “David Bowie is in the film. Oh, and the really hot romance between Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve.”

The Lost Boys – “They only wanted Michael as part of the crew. The girl — secondary.”

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 – “I keep this in a special place with the coming out story and so much homoeroticism.”

Fright Night – “Evil Ed’s ostracism from the rest of the kids, finds a “home”/acceptance with a sexy older man/vampire.”

Interview With the Vampire – “OK, really? Do I have to spell this one out?”

Psycho – “Overbearing mother, issues with women, liked to stuff things. Gay.”

Dracula - “ Oh, Vlad totally had it bad for Jonathan Harker”.

Night of the Creeps – “Yeah, at the end he gets the girl, but only after his “roommate” is killed by one of the phallic aliens that gets you by going through your mouth.”

— R.L

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 29, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas