Sunday, October 25, 2009

2009 Best Narrative Feature - ImageOut Audience Award

Congratulations to Sweden's Ella Lemhagen and her fabulous film, Patrik, Age 1.5, for touching and entertaining so many of our patrons in winning ImageOut 17's Audience Award for Best Independent Narrative Feature. This award comes with a Certificate of Recognition and a Kodak Film Stock Certificate worth $750. This win highlights the strength of women filmmakers this year as all of our 2009 Audience Awards were won by films with four females at the helm.

Many thanks to Andrea Krauss and our Marquee Sponsor, here! Films, for sharing Patrik, Age 1.5 to our audiences.

This category, yet again, shows a very strong competition among our 27 narrative features. The top films rated so close to each other that I am posting the points with three decimal positions. Here are your Top 15 Narrative Feature Films from our amazing lineup this year.

4.826 Patrik, Age 1.5
4.824 Hannah Free
4.821 I Can't Think Straight
4.812 Chef's Special
4.753 Just Say Love

4.740 Eating Out: All You Can Eat
4.701 An Englishman in New York
4.673 Baby Love
4.608 The Big Gay Musical
4.553 Night Fliers

4.516 ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction
4.475 Make the Yuletide Gay
4.453 Watercolors
4.450 The Baby Formula
4.438 Drool

2009 Best Documentary - ImageOut Audience Award

Congratulations to Susan Muska and Gréta Olafsdóttir and their amazing documentary film, Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement, for winning ImageOut 17's Audience Award for Best Independent Documentary Feature. It was truly one of the most moving and, at the same time, most entertaining screenings we had during the festival. They will receive a Certificate of Recognition and a Kodak Film Stock Certificate worth $750.

Our documentary lineup this year has been the strongest and most diverse we've had -- with discussions covering gender issues, same-sex marriage, homophobia in sports, masculinity within the GLBT culture, a legendary lesbian folk singer, a cult drag show, GLBT senior housing, teen bullying in schools, sexuality within the African-American community, and even homoeroticism in wrestling, to name a few. And our audiences agree! This has been the highest scoring documentary lineup I've seen since we started handing out Audience Awards. The competition was so tight I have to post the ratings with three decimal positions. Here's how you ranked all our documentary feature films.

4.885 Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement
4.879 Ferron: Girl on A Road
4.867 Swimming With Lesbians (Flower City Flicks)
4.824 Training Rules
4.817 A Place to Live: The Story of Triangle Square

4.750 Standing-N-Truth: Breaking the Silence
4.738 Diagnosing Difference
4.661 Out in the Silence
4.607 "Showgirls" Provincetown, MA
4.579 The Butch Factor

4.524 for my wife ...
4.500 Amancio: Two Faces on a Tombstone
4.456 Prodigal Sons
4.176 STRONGHOLD: In the Grip of Wrestling
3.661 College Boys Live

Saturday, October 24, 2009

2009 Best Short Film - ImageOut Audience Award

The ballots have been tabulated and the results are in! Congratulations to Toronto filmmaker Christine Chew and her romantic comedy short, Falling for Caroline, for winning ImageOut 17's Audience Award for Best Independent Short Film. Her film was screened as part of Program 10 - Quick Licks (Women's Short Program). Chew receives a Certificate of Recognition and a check for US$500 from ImageOut's Board of Directors for winning the award.

Curious how some of your favorite short films fared? Here's a list of the Top 20 Short Films (together with the program they were part of), out of the 52 we screened at ImageOut 17.

4.66 Falling for Caroline (Quick Licks)
4.65 Second Guessing Grandma (Edie & Thea)
4.62 Thirteen or So Minutes (I Like Men)
4.61 Claiming the Title: The Gay Olympics on Trial (Training Rules)
4.59 Get Happy (Diagnosing Difference)

4.58 Zombie Prom (Zombie Prom)
4.50 Girl Talk (Zombie Prom)
4.46 I've Got U (Edie & Thea)
4.45 Raw Love (Zombie Prom)
4.44 The Window (Oh, Hell No!)

4.41 Mother Knows Best (I Like Men)
4.37 James (I Like Men)
4.33 I Am Gay (An Englishman in NY)
4.33 U-Haul Rap (Quick Licks/Hannah Free)
4.24 The Yellow Tent (Zombie Prom)

4.22 Kristy (Night Fliers)
4.22 Steam (I Like Men)
4.18 At Home [Or Love as Well] (Girl Seeks Girl)
4.10 Chased (Just Say Love)
4.09 Boy Meets Boy (I Like Men)

Monday, October 19, 2009

ImageOut 17: Quite the Success

Wow. It is indeed over ... at least, the film presentation part of the festival. Attendance must have been one of the best I've witnessed in my 7 years at ImageOut. Positive audience feedback and comments about the films, events, special guests, and the whole festival operation were generous and encouraging. Thanks to all our loyal patrons, sponsors, donors, members, guests artists, hardworking volunteers, and the theater staff in all of our venues.

Even the "strange" episode at last night's final film just made this year's festival even more special, in a way.

As we tally the paper ballots in the next few days, I will post some of the more interesting and colorful commentaries (anonymously, of course!) I read to share with the blog visitors. Of course, you can continue adding comments to any of the posts here as I am sure the filmmakers will continue to check how their films did here in Rochester.

On behalf of all the ImageOut Board and our volunteers, thanks again. You are all fabulous!

Just a reminder that our ImageArt! exhibition is still open to the public until Oct. 25. Have a look if you haven't yet.
photos by Matt DeTurck

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Well folks, we have come to the end of ImageOut 2009 as we present the last film of our lineup, Just Say Love. This film challenges conventional storytelling in movies to present a story of finding connectedness in a most surprising way. I hope audiences will be pulled in by the intelligent writing, the captivating performances, and the unique stage-to-screen adaptation of this ImageOut There! Series offering. I am most intrigued by how the ImageOut audiences would react to the film. It is a treat to have both the filmmaker and the playwright/screenwriter at our screening, only its second time in a theatrical setting, to be able to answer questions.

NOTE: The short film Chased screened in this program.


If you like the mock-u-mentary genre, check out Baby Formula today. This fun comedy starts as a spoof of all things lesbian-baby, and later adds a whole other, very touching layer to the plot.

Day 10: MR. RIGHT

The British seems to have perfected not only the art of making fabulous period films but of making ensemble casts perform their very best as well. Even in gay movies! Mr. Right is a sexy comedy intertwining the stories of a group of London gay friends as they struggle with love, sex, and relationships. And each other. Join us for this gay comedy entry for ImageOut's last screening day.

Day 10: STRONGHOLD: In the Grip of Wrestling

Hola wrestling aficionados! Will someone be wearing a singlet to the screening today? Hmmm. Enjoy this thought-provoking and entertaining film on musings and discussions about homoeroticism and homophobia in wrestling, from upstate NY native Victor Rook. This is the first time that this film will be screened at a theater venue. ImageOut is honored to be its World Premiere screening.

Closing Night Party

I don't know about everyone else, but I had a blast at last night's Closing Night Party at Tribeca. Thanks to the Special Events Committee for putting together such a kick-ass party!
photos by Matt DeTurck

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day 9: PATRIK, AGE 1.5 (Closing Night)

I can easily say that this is by far the best Closing Night film I've programmed in my 7 years with ImageOut. I've seen Patrik, Age 1.5 in festivals twice already and audiences gave the film a standing ovation in both instances. It will make people think, laugh and cry. And I cannot wait to hear what the ImageOut audiences think about the film, possibly the winningest gay film in the film festival circuit this year.


From the filmmakers that brought us The Brandon Teena Story comes this sweet, tender, heartbreaking film about finding one's soul mate and life partner, and going through life's challenges no matter what. Though it's easy to say that the wonderful couple, Edie and Thea, could easily be the faces for the campaign for gay marriage, it is their touching love story and their inspiring relationship, politics aside, that truly make this film one of my favorite documentaries of the year.

NOTE: Three short films were screened in this program: Make A Mate, I've Got U, and Second Guessing Grandma.


The film's title and the publicity stills are just the beginning. Wait till you watch the stories of these young men on screen as they sometimes verge on being a Jerry Springer episode on webcam. I love that the audience would get more than what they expected from this film when they bought their tickets. At least, that's what I'm hoping for.


Standing-N-Truth: Breaking the Silence is probably one of the most important films in our roster of strong documentaries this year as it tackles the issues of sexuality in the African-American community, and how religion sometimes play a big role in the repression of homosexuality especially among African-American youths. This powerful discussion will hopefully continue from screen to the ImageOut stage with filmmaker Tim Daniels in attendance.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Rochester gets into the holiday spirit early with our Spotlight Screening of Make the Yuletide Gay, a very funny and sometimes over-the-top romp about coming out and familial acceptance. This film has been playing to packed festival audiences and inducing many laugh-out-loud moments. I'm very excited that filmmaker Rob Williams will be on hand for a Q&A after the screening. Even though we have sold out on advance tickets for this show, try the RUSH line tonight and join us for a jolly evening.

Day 8: DROOL

I love this movie! It was a blast to see this with a packed house in Toronto earlier this year. Anyone who has been to movies with me over this week has heard me rave about Drool. I hope Rochester has just as much fun with this screening!

Day 7: I LIKE MEN (Men's Shorts)

Very pleased with the huge turnout for this year's gay-themed shorts program. The flavor for this program is decidedly more international hoping to capture the diversity of themes and style of gay short films in the circuit. It's really difficult for me to choose a favorite as I selected each one for different reasons. Do you have one?

NOTE: The short films included in this program are:
A Day at the Beach
Steeling Magnolias
Nocturne (Noturno)
Frequent Traveller
Thirteen Or So Minutes
Boy Meets Boy
Mother Knows Best


So what did everyone think of our Narrative Centerpiece Film? During the screening process, Hannah Free was a favorite for many. We are very happy to have it as a highlight of this year's festival.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 6: for my wife...

Personal tragedy turns into activism and the fight for equal rights for all. This poignant and touching documentary is sure to be a contender for this year's "best documentary" audience award.


The zombies are finally here! I wonder what all of you brave and adventurous souls would think of this wacky and gory political zomedy. But this is truly what ImageOut is all about. Bringing in films that you will never see played anywhere or that you think you might not even want to see. This is one of my favorite fun films in the lineup. But then again, I love my B-rated horror stuff. =)


Audiences are in for two well-made and fascinating documentaries at the Ingle Auditorium tonight. First up is Training Rules. It is stunning how many careers and even lives were destroyed by this one coach and her homophobic ways!

NOTE: the short film Claiming the Title:Gay Olympics on Trial screened as part of this program.


Hollywood, Je T'aime, with Chad Allen leading a fabulous supporting cast, is charming and almost hopelessly romantic in a way. Sometimes, running away from love is not really an option.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

ImageOut Festival Pictures Are Now Online!

As I'm sure most of you have already noticed, the ImageOut photographers have been out and about at every screening and festival event. Now you can see the product of their labors online at the ImageOut Festival Fotki account. More photos are being added daily, so make sure you keep checking back!

STEAM Wins Iris Prize!

The short film STEAM by Eldar Rapaport just won the prestigious Iris Prize for Best Short Film that carries a 25,000-pound cash prize. Yes, pounds and not dollars. It is the richest cash prize for GLBT short films. ImageOut is proud to be only the 6th festival to screen the short film since its premiere at NewFest in the spring. Four more festivals will screen it by the end of October. STEAM is included in the I LIKE MEN shorts program that I curated.



Filmmaker C. Fitz will be on-hand to take your questions after this fun screening tonight at Ingle. Reminiscent of last year's hit Pageant, "Showgirls" Provincetown, MA is sure to be a hit too!
photos by Billijo Wolf


Oh give it to the Europeans for managing to give us comedies that are borderline slapstick without being over the top. Chef's Special is definitely one of the funny highlights of the 2009 lineup. It stars some of the famous comic actors in Spanish cinema. I hope to laugh with you at the theater.

Added 10/14: What a great turnout for the film last night! Everyone seemed to have a really entertaining and laugh-filled evening. Glad that we were able to include this one at the last minute due to a delay in its DVD release. =)

Day 5: Archive Night - Dracula's Daughter & Daughter's Of Darkness

I hope for a good turnout for ImageOut's vampire-themed Archive Night Double Feature tonight at the Dryden!


ImageOut has never been afraid of "heavier films". Ultimately, Amancio is a hopeful (and true) story of connection, communication, and the quest for justice for so many people without public voices. I hope lots of you can make it over to RIT for this one.

NOTE: the short films The Saint and Lot's Wife screened as part of this program.

Day 5: BoY

This entry from the Philippines is a tender story of young love that also touches on socio-economic and political issues in the country. But without resorting to heavy melodrama that is typical of the "macho dancer" genre films. One of the highlights of this film is the use of aquariums as more than just a scenic background thus almost making them another character in the film. The most amazing tidbit about BoY is that, except for the actors playing the mother and the father, everyone in the cast is a non-actor. The bar performers are really bar performers and the lead character is an actual art student. If you want to see a bittersweet and sexy story between two young men, BoY is your best bet.

NOTE: The short film Self Service from Israel was screened in this program.

Monday, October 12, 2009


It was great to see so many made the journey to RIT's Ingle Auditorium for this touching story about the lasting effects of first love. Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Day 4: ZOMBIE PROM (Youth Shorts)

Monday. Another day, another fresh start. This year's youth shorts program is a good mix of fun and message films. I'm glad that we could screen it at RIT Ingle Auditorium and potentially reach out to local students and a younger audience. I'm especially excited about the title short film, Zombie Prom - it's creative, entertaining, and has great production values!

Student filmmaker Rafael Lessa and cinematographer/composer Colin Elliott (The Yellow Tent) will also be on hand for a Q&A after the screening.

This program is a part of our Youth Program Series and is offered free to anyone younger than 21 years old.

NOTE: The short films included in this program are:
The Yellow Tent
Girl Talk
Raw Love (Amor Crudo)
Zombie Prom

photos by Matt DeTurck


This emotional drama is sure to hit a personal note with some of our audience members who have experience dealing with the effects Alzheimer's Disease can have on an entire family. A fantastic performance from Shirley Knight will pull in just about anyone, personal experience or not.


I know lots of folks are looking forward to this documentary on a true LGBT and music legend. Let us know what you thought!

Note: The short film A Drag King Extravaganza screened during this program.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day 3: OH, HELL NO! (ImageOut There! Shorts)

Well, all I can say is that you have been warned! But I guess sometimes, there's just really never enough warning to soften the shock or the blow of what people might take offense to. Unfortunately, sometimes, those warnings may even be taken the wrong way and attract more (unwanted) attention. The program Oh, Hell No! includes some award-winning and controversial films that definitely push buttons and challenge boundaries. For some, they might very well be the wrong buttons or boundaries that should never be crossed. The films are definitely not meant for people looking for light-hearted entertainment. But I understand that judging from the huge turnout we had, there were probably a lot of simply curious minds in the audience or those who may have come unprepared for what they were about to see. Walkouts are expected. Remarks of disgust are not surprising. Already, the ratings and comments on the initial ballots received have been all over the place for all the films -- from excellent ("brave programming!") to fair ("why, oh why?") to poor ("bad!", "horrible!"). This program will probably generate the strongest reactions from people. Let's hear it.

NOTE: The short films included in this program are:
The Island
Bugchaser: Protective Measures
Vapid Lovelies
The Window
Weak Species


Definitely one of the better French gay films of the year. And it's on 35mm print! I was definitely hoping for a much bigger audience but there have been great reactions and feedback from the people who were in attendance. It's definitely a comedy with enough interesting drama and complications that the French do best. What did you think? Better yet, did you see the movie? If not, you sure missed a good one!


A heart-wrenching film about racial, class, and sexual tensions in the South. Very pleased that filmmaker John G. Young was able to be on hand for a very informative Q&A and that people asked really good questions.
photos by Matt DeTurck


Quite the amazing crowd who spent a beautiful sunny day with ImageOut! Again, The Butch Factor shows the great diversity of documentary selections we offer this year. I love that ImageOut can become a launching pad and provide a platform for much needed discussions. Who wants to talk about masculinity?

NOTE: The short film Sucker was screened in this program.


Web series are all the rage these days. This 9-part intro to the funny, sassy, and sexy Chica Busca Chica (Girl Seeks Girl) just might make you a fan of the online genre.

Note: the short film At Home (Or Love As Well) screened during this program.


It feels right to show this great film as the weather turns colder here in Rochester. One of my favorites of all the films we had to choose from this year, Night Fliers warmed my heart and even made me shed a few tears the very first time I saw it. I hope all of you enjoy it too.

Note: The short film Kristy screened during this program.


Day three hops into full swing with a little lesson in love and romance from France. Complex and dramatic, Out of the Blue is a great choice for your Sunday afternoon.


I know I have been looking forward to sharing this film with ImageOut. Thought provoking and challenging, Diagnosing Difference is one of our best docs in years! Do you agree?

Note: The short films Lipstique (Featuring Fauxnique) and Get Happy screened during this program.


We went with a new format this year with a feature documentary at the center of the program. ImageOut's local films focus is always a favorite. Can it keep up the exciting pace of our first two days?

Note: The following films screened during this program:

Swimming With Lesbians
The Other
photos by Billijo Wolf


Well wasn't that a riot! Never had so many people come up and tell us how much they were entertained by a movie. And thank you Rochester for making Michael Walker and Chris Salvatore feel welcomed. The tequila and vodka double espresso shots at The Bachelor Forum kept coming! Even I got tipsy. =)

NOTE: The short film Little BFFs, also directed by Eating Out co-director Glenn Gaylord, was screened in this program.

photos by Matt DeTurck

Day 2: QUICK LICKS (Women's Shorts)

I just know that we have selected the best shorts this year and this program by far outshines what we've had in recent years. My personal favorites were Falling for Caroline and U-Haul Rap. What was yours?

NOTE: The short films included in this program are:
Tools 4 Fools
So-Called Living
Evelyn Everyone
What I Found in Great Aunt Nell's Closet
Falling for Caroline
Allison, My Love
Happy Birthday
The Sheep and the Ranch Hand
U-Haul Rap


Good crowd but I was still wishing it was bigger as this film was truly great -- entertaining and, at the same time, informative. I think for a lot of people, this was a perfect introduction to the life and thoughts of an amazing gay icon. Watching John Hurt perfectly embodying the late Quentin Crisp is already worth the ticket price. Your thoughts?

NOTE: The Swedish short film I Am Gay was screened in this program.


Wow! This show has pulled the most ticket sales after the online ticket sales have closed. Glad it got a great crowd. I can't wait to hear what you guys thought of the movie. Did you agree with CITY Newspaper that it should be skipped? And how was the fab Desi Del Valle as a guest? I wish I was there for the Q&A.

NOTE: The short film Back to Life was screened in this program.

photo by Billijo Wolf

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Trans films and documentaries have always been a tough sell here at ImageOut. So it's good to see a nice crowd this afternoon for Kimberly Reed's heart-wrenching documentary about going back to her past life as a popular HS quarterback and reaching out to her adopted older brother, Marc. Can't wait to hear people's thoughts on the film.


Nice to see a good turnout for an afternoon film. I hope everyone likes it. We were really glad to be able to program this movie focusing on issues of women of color in faith and LGBT communities.


Out in the silence is a touching and extremely important doc about the extreme bias that still exists in American small-town life and the courage of those who decide to stand up for themselves and their loved ones.

I think this doc could lead to some great out-of-theater discussions.

Note: The short film Don't Erase my History screened during this program


Heading into the mid-afternoon of day 2! Misconceptions is a fun and funny afternoon treat full of Southern charm and tongue-in-cheek commentary on "manners" and societal norms.

Let us know what you think!