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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 30, 2003

Gritty gay film festival reflects real life

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

Ben Lang, left, as Boychick, and Lindsey Giradot as Ashley enact the story of a nice Jewish boy who channels his Inner Britney to pursue the boy of his dreams in this dance musical extravaganza. "Boychick" is among 31 films at the Adam Baran Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.

Nice Jewish Boy Productions

14th Annual Adam Baran Honolulu Gay & Lesbian Film Festival

Thursday through Sunday

Screening times vary

Doris Duke at the Academy

$7 for the public, $5 for Honolulu Gay & Lesbian Cultural Foundation members; $25 opening-night ticket (includes reception at 6 p.m. Thursday and opening-night film), $50 mahalo pass (all films), $100 for aloha pass (includes reception, all films and membership in the foundation). No admission for 2 p.m., June 7 films.

941-042, ext. 18

As film programmer for the Adam Baran Honolulu Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Connie M. Florez has seen the event grow by leaps and bounds, influenced by technology and inspired by diversity.

"It's my seventh year in the 14-year history of the festival," said Florez. "We had 150 entries this year, and had to pick and choose a total of 31 titles."

The event, beginning Thursday and continuing through June 8 at the Doris Duke at the Academy, tackles gay and lesbian themes.

But that's not news.

"We used to get 95 per cent of the films in VHS formats," said Florez. "Now, most of the exhibition copies are shot digitally. We have 35mm and 16mm entries. A few were in high-definition. The way people shoot their films has changed radically in the past three or four years," she said.

Further, the films have more grit than glam; "more than anything else, these are not your standard pretty-boy things like 'Queer as Folk'; these are real stories about real people's lives — a major change of viewpoint from the directors."

Florez said the intent of the festival "is to stick to the mission statement — offer education, not just for the gay and lesbian communities, but for the community at large."

Earlier festivals were 10-day events, with screenings at several locations. With the four-day agenda, at a single venue, there's a better focus to accomplish the mission, said Florez. "We're now able to pretty much sell out each screening — 90- to 95-percent capacity is not unusual," she said.

• • •

The films at a glance:

Longest feature: 120 minutes — "A.K.A.," directed by Duncan P. Roy, the opening night feature. A rites-of-passage film by Duncan P. Roy, about a London lad working in an art gallery, told in a tri-screen format. 8 p.m. Thursday.

Shortest shorts: 3 minutes — "Hete Roy," 6 p.m. June 6, and "Lesbian Fashion?," 4 p.m. June 7.

Countries of origin: 30 titles are from the U.S., one ("A.K.A.") is from Britain.

World premieres: "Seventy," 6 p.m. June 6; "Fruitcake," 6 p.m. June 6; and "Queerweb," 6 p.m. June 8.

U.S. premiere: "Butch in the City," about a butch columnist who attempts to sleep with a man, in a spoof of "Sex in the City;" 8 p.m. June 8.

Hawai'i premiere: "Politics of Fur," about a powerful music exec who's a control freak, who sees her life and loves disintegrate; 8:30 p.m. June 6.

Documentaries: "Hope Along the Wind: The Life of Harry Hay," on a bill with "No Secret Anymore: The Times of Del Martin and Phyllis Lion," 2 p.m. June 7; "American Mullet," on a bill with "Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House," 4 p.m. June 8.

Compute this: Online sexcapades are depicted in "Queerweb," on a bill with "Hooked," 6 p.m. June 8.

In the flesh: 6 p.m. June 6 — director Ron Patricio appears with his "I Am a Straight Filmmaker Working in a Gay Bathhouse," director D.R. Hammer appears with his "Thorn Grass," director Jaymes Thompson with his "Fruitcake"; 8:30 p.m. June 6 — director Lorene Machado appears with her "Starcrossed," actress Eve Buigues appears with "Starcrossed," the film in which she stars; 4 p.m. June 7 — producer Trisha Y. Nakamura and director Jamie Sumile appear with their "Sticks and Stones," director-writer-producer J.C. Corland appears with "Nightstand," director Lee Friedlander appears with "Give or Take an Inch"; 6 p.m. June 8 — writer-producer Ken Gildin appears with "Queerweb."