“OUTFest's Fusion is the only LGBT people of color film festival of its kind. Fusion is a multi-ethnic, gender inclusive forum for films, panel discussions, and community networking.”
I’ve said it before: The great thing about shorts is brilliance in brevity. OUTFest celebrates films by people of color in this off-shoot of the large Los Angeles festival happening in the summer. The event is an excellent primer for the bigger event and an awesome opportunity to showcase quality filmmaking with an unintended splash of color. With a very strong programming this year, here is just a small taste of the films screened this year:
STOP IT - ALMA by Director Mike Rose
This hilarious spoof of the reality intervention programming spends five minutes with Alma, a culinary addict who has gone off the deep end after her husband leaves her for “not having dinner cooked.” One in a series of “Stop It!” vignettes, “Alma” pokes fun at the genre and characters across the social spectrum, a real flash in the pan of funny!
REVOLUTION by Director Abdi Nazemian
When an Iranian mother (Sheila Vosough) fires her maid for teaching her son Jack (Logan Aria) a Filipino prayer, the replacement maid (Busy Philipps) comes with a teenage son of her own, Gabe (Zach Cumer). With the arrival of these newcomers, the family also finds themselves weathering a momentous wave of change.
This is a graceful film with an unexpected message about the places we find common ground and tolerance.
TIME AFTER TIME by Director Laurie Thomas
In the span of one Cyndi Lauper’s song, one woman experiences the magic of falling in love, the joy of expectation and the chill of reality. This short features no dialogue, but the performances clearly speak volume.
ANDY by Director Andrew Ahn
Through the eyes of six-year-old Andy (Ryan Ko), we see how a father (Tae Geun Kim) reacts when his son returns from the makeup counter wearing lipstick. In just seven minutes, Director Andrew Ahn leads the audience through an slue of images that initially appear ominous, but ultimately turn out to be innocent. This short is an unexpected and skillful exercise in suspense and misdirection. Terrific debut by Korean director-writer Andrew Ahn.
REMEMBER ME IN RED by Director Hector Ceballos
Beloved Alma Flora () has died, sending shockwaves of sorrow through her small but close Transgender community. Her best friend Fidelia is hit doubly hard when her parents arrive from Mexico, and are intent on burying her friend according to their wishes; which means as a man under the birth name Alejandro.
This melancholy drama is not without humor and a great deep of charm, although maybe a touch overplay by the performers. Makeup and music are the stand-outs for me in this short, as well as a thoughtful message about how we honor the memory of our lost ones.
FAMILY IN THE FRAME by Director Neelu Bhuman
This experimental multimedia collage merges photographs with affected video footage, accompanied with voice over from the subjects of the piece: an unlikely threesome. The piece makes a direct analogy of the difficulty people encounter perceiving their relationship with a short that is quite literally, visually difficult to see. The concept is intriguing, however for me, the end product is only marginally successful.
THE QUEEN by Director: Christina Choe
The crowd pleaser of the evening is this delightful little indulgence on the adage, “Dance like no one is watching…” Featuring a boy working at a dry cleaners at closing time, a pretty girl dropping off a prom dress in the eleventh hour and the real hot boyfriend who comes with her. Winning bursts of random applause several times, The Queen is brilliance in brevity, hitting the bull’s-eye in cinematography, editing, story and performance. Congrats to Director Christina Choe. I will be on the lookout for her future projects.
CHANGE by Dir: Melissa Osborne & Jeff McCutcheon
Perhaps the most provocative short of the evening. Taking place on the day of the 2008 presidential election, Changes juxtaposes the election of Barack Obama, the nations first African American president with the passage of Proposition 8, the measure that banned same sex marriage in California. The event is seen through the eyes of a young African American teenager in a rough Los Angeles neighborhood. Sean McClam gives a wonderful performance that
Weathering the shockwaves of profound social change from opposite ends of the spectrum. Jubilation on the heels of tragedy.
I have been trying to get to this film event for years and I am so happy that I finally made it. Having finally come to Fusion, it’s doubtful I’ll miss it again for some years to come. Definitely look for this festival next spring. It’s a blast.
OUTFest Fusion 2011, Los Angeles LGBT People of Color Film Festival is March 4-5, 2011.
Check website for events and locations.