Gays clean up at DIFF

I noted a few weeks ago that the Dallas International Film Festival was very gay this year. Well, hopefully the organizers will realize how beneficial that is.

film-04Two gay-themed films — the Texas-shot gay drama Pit Stop by former Dallasite Yen Tan and the documentary God Loves Uganda, about anti-gay efforts in the African nation, pictured, — won two of the top prizes at DIFF this weekend.

Pit Stop won the Grand Jury Prize in the Texas Competition. That comes with the plum award of the festival: a $30,000 Panavision film package. For indie filmmaking, that’s huge; Tan’s budget for Pit Stop — a romance about two closeted gay men in small-town Texas — was $22,000, which he raised online.

God Loves Uganda received the $10,000 (cash) Grand Jury Prize for Documentary Feature award from DIFF. It was also a hit at Sundance earlier this year.

Other winners announced this weekend:

• Grand Jury Prize for Narrative Feature: A Teacher

• Embrey Family Foundation Silver Heart Award: Tomlinson Hill

• Audience Award for Narrative Feature: The Kings of Summer

• Audience Award for Documentary: The Crash Reel

• Audience Award for Short Film: Head Over Heels

• Other short film winners include Black Metal and The First Hope; honorable mention went to The Dirties (about school bullying), Laurence Anyways (also with queer themes) and Very Small Things.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

DIFF announces some films in its lineup, a few with gay interest

yen TanThe Dallas International Film Festival doesn’t open for more than a month, but organizers have already announced 10 films on the slate — several with gay content.

God Loves Uganda, a hit at Sundance, addresses the anti-gay policies of the African state, including the American-based Christian activists calling for draconian penalties for those who are gay or HIV-positive.

Pit Stop is former Dallas filmmaker Yen Tan’s (pictured) crowd-sourced movie about gay love in rural Texas. We previewed the film here.

Individual tickets go on sale March 14. A complete schedule of screenings will eventually be released on its website.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dallas Pride: OutTakes Dallas movie event tonight at Texas Theatre

Make a Pit Stop in Oak Cliff

As you might have read, queer filmmaker Yen Tan is hard at work on his next project Pit Stop. After the success of his film Ciao, Tan focuses again on the community with his latest film about two men who find romance in each other in a small Texas town. The film is still in the works but he gives a sort of preview tonight with staged readings from the script as well as showing clips from Ciao. He teams with OutTakes Dallas for tonight’s movie launch event in Oak Cliff. The night will also feature a conversation with Tan and producer Eric Steele.

This is an official Dallas Pride 2011 event.

DEETS: Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson St. 7:30 p.m. Free.

—  Rich Lopez

Now you can see 'Ciao' … in Chinese


Yen Tan’s film “Ciao” is now available in Chinese. The Dallas filmmaker used Oak Lawn locations including one scene filmed in Dallas Voice offices. The film stars Alessandro Calza, who is from Genova, Italy, and co-wrote the script with Tan’ and Adam Neal Smith, a Los Angeles actor originally from Dallas.

In addition to the poster above, see previews on the Chinese site.

—  David Taffet

'Ciao' now available on DVD


Yen Tan’s film “Ciao” is now available on DVD.

“Ciao” was filmed in and around Oak Lawn and I worked on crew.

One scene was filmed at the Dallas Voice office. Another at the Round-Up. Most of the film was done in Oak Lawn. The condos we used are on Buena Vista, a few blocks from the Dallas Voice office.

The airport scene was filmed at DFW in terminal D. We were the first film crew allowed to film at the terminal, soon after it had opened. Our small crew was a test-run for the airport because the following week a much larger crew from the TV show “Prison Break” was in the terminal filming. Because of security concerns, we had airport security around us at all times.

Alessandro Calza lives in Italy and worked with Yen on the script. He flew in for the filming and stars. Yen, Alessandro and I were the only three gay people who worked on the film, but the result, I think, is a well told gay love story.

Also starring is Adam Neal Smith. The Los Angeles-based actor is originally from Dallas. I was his gay coach. We practiced how he would eat gay, smoke gay (no, I don’t smoke), dance at the bar gay, walk gay, get in a car gay. Both Alessandro and Adam are really nice guys and Yen is lots of fun to work with. (Yen — so when are we doing another film???) Watch the trailer:

—  David Taffet