Monday, December 20, 2010

ImageOut: 18 and Still Blooming

After screening 87 films from all over the world (including a rare gem from the Bahamas!), hosting numerous visiting filmmakers and actors, and selling more than 8700 tickets, ImageOut secured yet another victory with the huge success of our annual October film festival, now in its 18th year. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this Festival just keeps getting better each year.

Opening Night set the tone for the 10-day event with energy and enthusiasm. Both featured Gala films sold out, forcing procrastinating ticket buyers to form long lines for limited “Rush Only” admission. Granted, our second feature of the evening sold out long before the Opening Night festivities began, but hopefully anyone who didn’t score themselves a seat will remember the lesson next year! Following the screenings of The Four-Faced Liar and Howl, guest actors headed by writer Marja-Lewis Ryan and Academy-Award-winning filmmaker Jeffrey Friedman engaged and embraced their audiences in entertaining and informative Q&A sessions. Mr. Friedman and his absent co-director Rob Epstein are also this year’s recipients of the prestigious ImageMaker Award for their outstanding contribution to LGBT cinema. The festive and joyous atmosphere continued at the nearby Eros Bar & Restaurant for the Opening Night Party, stretching this already long day into the wee hours of the morning.

The rest of the Festival schedule kept the pace zooming along with great films screening to packed audiences and garnering their highest approvals. Most importantly, people enjoyed seeing friends from the community, not to mention, meeting new ones, and being able to mingle with our fabulous guest artists. ImageOut has truly become a cultural force to reckon with around these parts.

Here are some of this year’s highlights:

  • The impressive list of guests included hot and popular LGBT personalities like Casper Andreas, Jesse Archer, Cathy DeBuono, and Jill Bennett, along with new-to-the-scene artists such as Paris P. Pickard, Adam Huss, Keith Hartman and Israel Luna.
  • Oscar-nomination hopeful Undertow received an enthusiastic and emotional reception, helping it win the ImageOut Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature.
  • Local short films are back with a vengeance receiving high marks during the Flower City Flicks Program. An independent jury gave Judgment Day the Mary Elizabeth Knight Award for Best Local Short. The crowd votes favored both You Belong With Me and Hens and Chicks in a rare tie for the Audience Award for Best Short Film (of the entire festival!). The Rochester area is bursting at the seams with artistic talent!
  • Making the Boys, Audience Award winner for Best Documentary Feature, brought back memories from a tumultuous era and gave our younger audience members some good lessons to carry home with them.
  • Festival selections screened in 5 venues this year including theatres at RIT and U of R, enforcing our commitment to reaching out to everyone. The screening at U of R was a wonderful way to help the University celebrate their Meliora weekend and the 40th anniversary of the campus student pride group.
  • 5 sold out shows including both Opening Night and the Closing Night films.

While potentially disastrous problems like digital equipment malfunction and a last-minute party venue change threatened to disrupt the Festival proceedings, our resourceful and hardworking team of volunteers ensured that everything ran as smoothly as possible. Kudos to each and every one of you!

Unfortunately, there is not really a lot of time to bask in this year’s achievements as planning for our 19th year begins immediately. Let’s hope we continue the tradition of besting the previous year’s accomplishments as we get even closer to celebrating two full decades of success. Check the ImageOut festival website and blog to see how you can help make next year an even bigger successful event!

~ Michael Gamilla
Programming Director

Friday, October 22, 2010

2010 Best Narrative Feature - ImageOut Audience Award

After the first weekend of ImageOut 18, the conversations among Festival pass holders and many audience members were dominated by one discussion: Which film is better, Undertow or A Frozen Flower? But as more wonderful films were presented during the Festival's 10-day run, several other favorites were thrown in the mix: Children Of God, A Marine Story, and even our Closing Night film, The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister. Yet no one could quite surpass the emotional hold of the heart-wrenching magical and tender love story between Santiago and Miguel. Congratulations to filmmaker Javier Fuentes-León for bagging the 2010 Audience Award for Best Independent Narrative Feature at ImageOut 18 for his debut feature film, Undertow. He receives a Certificate of Recognition and $750 worth of Kodak film stock. We wish him luck in his quest for an Oscar nomination!

The rankings of the films aren't so important, it seems. Because almost all the films were rated highly by the audiences -- beyond "Good." It's even a little too crowded at the top. But here they are anyway.

(1) 4.86 Undertow (Contracorriente)
(2) 4.81 A Marine Story
(3) 4.77 Children of God
(3) 4.77 The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister
(5) 4.73 The Last Summer of La Boyita
(5) 4.73 We Have To Stop Now
(5) 4.73 FIT
(8) 4.72 Wild About Harry
(9) 4.68 Elena Undone
(10) 4.67 You Should Meet My Son!
(11) 4.65 A Frozen Flower
(11) 4.65 Oy Vey! My Son is Gay!
(13) 4.61 BearCity
(14) 4.55 The People I've Slept With
(15) 4.53 Purple Sea
(16) 4.52 Is It Just Me?
(17) 4.50 The Four-Faced Liar
(18) 4.48 Leading Ladies
(18) 4.48 I Killed My Mother
(20) 4.47 Howl
(21) 4.42 Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives
(22) 4.38 Violet Tendencies
(23) 4.34 From Beginning to End
(24) 4,32 The String
(25) 4.24 Room in Rome
(26) 4.16 He's Such A Girl
(27) 4.09 To Faro
(28) 4.05 Eloise's Lover
(28) 4.05 Plan B
(30) 2.37 The Owls

Congratulations to all the filmmakers who shared their films with us. And HUGE thanks to those who joined us here in Rochester during the festival. You have all made our event even more special. Your generosity and amazing energy were all appreciated!

2010 Best Documentary - ImageOut Audience Award

Wow! This category was a nail biter. From my conversations with the audiences during the Festival, two documentary titles were being mentioned the most: Making the Boys and Holding Hands. So imagine my surprise when out of nowhere, Lost in the Crowd came within a hundredth of a point of winning the coveted title of Best Independent Documentary Feature at ImageOut 18. That screening went well and the Q&A with filmmaker Susi Graf was enlightening and inspiring. But in the end, Making the Boys captured the audience's hearts. Congratulations to filmmaker Crayton Robey for winning $750 worth of Kodak film stock and a special Certificate of Recognition from ImageOut. It took me 1.5 years to finally bring this movie to Rochester, but it was worth the wait. Here's how you voted for the documentary films.

(1) 4.83 Making the Boys (Documentary Centerpiece)
(2) 4.82 Lost in the Crowd
(3) 4.78 Holding Hands
(4) 4.70 Two Spirits: Sexuality, Gender and the Murder of Fred Martinez
(5) 4.68 Word Is Out (Archive Night)
(6) 4.60 Out of Annapolis
(7) 4.51 Sex in an Epidemic
(8) 4.24 Riot Acts: Flaunting Gender Deviance in Music Performance
(9) 4.18 The Adonis Factor

As you can see, all of the films rated beyond "Good." It was a great year for documentary films at ImageOut 18.

2010 Best Short Film - ImageOut Audience Award

In an incredible display of how much our selections for the Flower City Flicks shorts program have improved over the years, You Belong With Me and Hens & Chicks tied for the Best Short Film Audience Award at ImageOut 18. It's the first time that a local film won this award, and it's even more amazing that two of them actually shared that honor. Separated by mere thousandths of a point, their final scores tied after rounding off the numbers. Boarding Pass, a film that made everyone cry, from the Safe Space youth shorts program was the favorite until the surprising numbers turned up for the local shorts. Here are the Top 30 short films from ImageOut 18.

(1) 4.83 You Belong With Me
(1) 4.83 Hens and Chicks
(3) 4.64 Boarding Pass (Pasaje)
(4) 4.63 Door Prize
(5) 4.60 The Queen
(6) 4.54 Go Go Reject
(7) 4.45 Gay Baby
(8) 4.43 Gayby
(9) 4.41 Curious Thing
(10) 4.35 Last Call
(11) 4.31 You Move Me
(11) 4.31 Non-Love Song
(13) 4.30 The Armoire
(14) 4.27 Public Relations
(15) 4.26 25 Things I Did During My Big Fat Lesbian Depression
(16) 4.24 Tech Support
(16) 4.24 Judgment Day
(18) 4.21 My Name is Love
(19) 4.15 Queer Pet Adventures #1: Salsa's Coming Out
(19) 4.15 Queer Pet Adventures #4: Doggie's Makeover
(21) 4.14 Waiting 4 Goliath
(22) 4.13 Ms. Thing
(23) 4.11 Queer Pet Adventures #2: BK's Adoption
(24) 4.10 After
(25) 4.09 Everyday To Stay
(26) 4.07 Gently
(27) 4.04 I Want Your Love
(28) 4.01 Professor Godoy
(29) 3.98 Cried Suicide
(30) 3.96 Queer Pet Adventures #5: Leather Night

Congratulations! And thanks to all the generous filmmakers who agreed to be a part of ImageOut this year.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Program 44: The People I've Slept With

Our 18th annual festival draws to a close with our final feature: The People I've Slept With. Funny, silly, and sexy, this film is a great way to spend a Sunday evening!

This screening begins at 9pm at the Little Theater.

Program 43: Plan B

Love has so many surprises. Prepare to be charmed by the sweet and tender story of Bruno and Pablo as they journey to unchartered emotional territories in Plan B.

Program 42: He's Such A Girl

ImageOut is proud to host the US Premiere of He's Such A Girl. I hope you enjoyed it!

Program 41: Safe Space (Youth Shorts)

In many of the programs this year, I've mentioned how the films have been so timely in tackling some of our LGBT issues that have recently made the headlines. But I also think it's because these same issues have been persistent and ever present. I am proud to present a collection of short films about our youth who choose to create their own safe spaces, even to simply escape their realities sometimes.

Program 40: The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister

Well that was a positively amazing Closing Night film and party! Loved that there were tons of energy from the audience, which I must say has been pretty much how the past 9 days have been. I think we have just outdone ourselves.

It was great to introduce a strong, feisty and interesting character in Miss Anne Lister to ImageOut.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Program 39: Is It Just Me?

Is it Just Me? begins at 4:00 at the Dryden theater. Actor (and dream boy) Adam Huss is our guest for the program and Q&A following the screening.

Find out why this is one of the hottest and funniest romantic comedies in this year's LGBT film festival circuit.

Program 38: A Marine Story

Paris Pickard, star of A Marine Story, will be joining us for the film's New York State Premiere today. Q&A to follow the film.

Our Spotlight Feature begins at 3:30 at the Cinema Theater.

Program 37: I killed My Mother

A highly stylized and emotionally charged film, I Killed My Mother is one of the programming committee's favorite films this year.

Program 37 begins at 1:30 at the Dryden Theater.

Program 36: Out of Annapolis

Out of Annapolis begins at 1:15 at the Cinema Theater.

This documentary once again brings to the fore the many issues surrounding the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

Program 35: The Adonis Factor

The Adonis Factor kicks off day 9 at 11:30 at the Dryden Theater.

This documentary hopes to bring to the open gay men's obsession with physical beauty. Discuss.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Program 34: You Should Meet My Son!

ImageOut helps celebrate 40 years of University of Rochester Pride Network as we bring the very funny You Should Meet My Son! to the Hubbell Auditorium in Hutchinson Hall. Start your weekend right and enjoy this screwball comedy with your ImageOut family.

The very talented (and handsome!) filmmaker Keith Hartman joins us for a Q&A following the screening.

Program 33: Room in Rome

Are you ready ladies? Room in Rome will be heating up the Cinema at 9pm tonight. Part of the ImageOut There! series, this film is hot, hot, hot! But don't worry, there are no zombies or bloody butcher knives in this one. Tonight's screening is the East Coast Premiere!

This film contains explicit sexual and adult content. No one under 18 will be admitted.

Program 32: Making The Boys

While the play itself is both fascinating and entertaining alone, Making the Boys, the story of just how Mart Crowley's Boys in the Band came into existence and into the permanent cultural consciousness of an entire generation (at least) is even more fascinating. Join us for this very special Documentary Centerpiece.

The New York State Premiere of Making the Boys begins at 6:30 at the Cinema Theater.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Program 31: Just Curious

You've loved our women's shorts and you've loved our "dirty" shorts, now it's time for the men to have their turn. Just Curious is a collection of seven short films, each making the case that sometimes it's a good idea to shake things up and try something new.

Program 30: Children of God

Another favorite among ImageOut's programming team, Children of God marks the first time that we've screened a film from the Bahamas. In this film, a beautiful and touching romance is underscored by the fact that sometimes gorgeous scenery can mask the ugly bigotry that lies beneath the surface.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Program 29: The String

The String is a Tunisian romance that features hot men and exotic locations, with a relatable storyline about coming out to family members. Leave comments and tell us what you thought!

Program 28: Two Spirits: Gender, Sexuality, and the Murder of Fred Martinez

Touching, emotional, and informative, Two Spirits: Gender, Sexuality, and the Murder of Fred Martinez is sure to be a highlight of today's programming and our Youth Project Film Series.

This film begins at 6:30 at the Ingle Auditorium at RIT and is FREE for anyone under 21.

Program 27: Oy Vey! My Son is Gay!

It's rush tickets only for tonight's sold-out comedy Oy Vey! My Son is Gay! get in line early for the best chance to see this hilarious, star-studded extravaganza.

Program 27 starts at 6:15 at the Little Theater.

Writer/Producer/Director Evgeny Afineevsky will be in attendance for Q&A after the film.

Program 26: Twisted Love

This year's installment of our (now infamous) "ImageOut There!" shorts program had more than it's share of shocks and surprises, but lucky for us, it also came with a "happy ending".

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Program 25: ImageOut of the Archives: Word Is Out

Word is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives is the 2010 selection for our ImageOut of the Archives series. A miraculous film in its honesty, sincerity, and directness, this one is not to be missed!

Program 24: To Faro

A captivating and unconventional love story, To Faro serves as a reminder of the exhilaration and naïveté of first love, and the lengths to which some will go in order to maintain it.

This is the perfect film for a cold autumn evening. Join us at 7pm at the Little Theater.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Program 23: From Beginning To End

The story of two half-brothers who fall in love with one another, From Beginning To End is sure to make temperatures rise, and it's a perfect addition to our popular "ImageOut There!" series of films.

Program 22: FIT

The first of two screenings to be held at RIT's Ingle Auditorium this year, FIT couldn't be more timely. Tackling the difficult subjects of bullying and homophobia among teenagers, it's perfect viewing for National Coming Out Day.

Program 21: The OWLs

Drama and mystery kick-off day four with The OWLs. legendary lgbt filmmaker Cheryl Dunye bring back familiar faces from lesbian films past including VS Brodie and Guinevere Turner in this experimental feature tackling the darker side of lesbian night-life.

Program 21 begins at 6:30 at the Little with You Move Me. Get there early because you won't want to miss this hilarious short!

Program 20: Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives

The screams and laughter coming from the Dryden tonight could probably have been heard all the way to the Little Theatre, which can only mean that our late-night screening of the controversial Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives was a HUGE success! Everyone really seemed to love the film, and the Q&A with Writer/Director Israel Luna was just an added bonus.

How did everyone enjoy their first weekend of ImageOut 2010?

Program 19: Elena Undone

Elena Undone is definitely a crowd-pleaser. Could it possibly be a contender for the Audience Award this year? And how about the infamous kiss? It's currently the longest on-screen kiss in film history!

Program 18: A Frozen Flower

One of my absolute favorite films in this year's festival, A Frozen Flower is an epic in the best sense, and it truly has something for everyone. I've heard some great reactions from people who were at the screening this evening, so keep the feedback coming!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Program 17: Eloïse's Lover

Romantic, beautiful, and very sexy, Eloïse's Lover is a stunning portrait of young love. The films screens tonight at 6:45pm the Little Theatre. Leave your thoughts about the film in the comments section below!

Program 16: Wild About Harry

Take a trip back to the '70s and get Wild About Harry in this emotional drama about a family in transition at the same time the country as a whole is facing it's own loss of innocence. The film screens today at 4:15pm at the Little Theatre.

Program 15: We Have To Stop Now

Join special guests Jill Bennett and Cathy DeBuono for a screening of their hilarious comedy, We Have To Stop Now, showing today at the Little Theatre.

Program 14: The Last Summer of La Boyita

ImageOut is thrilled to bring you this visually stunning and emotionally powerful feature from Argentina. The Last Summer of La Boyita is part of the Youth Project Film Series so it is free for anyone under 21, but audience members of all ages are sure to enjoy this stunning film.

Program 13: Lost in the Crowd

There will surely be a lot of conversation after Lost in the Crowd screens at the Little at 1:45 today. Director Susi Graf will be in attendance to talk about the film which tackles the weighty issues of lgbt youth and homelessness. You can always continue the conversation here as well.
Lost in the Crowd is part of the Youth Project Film Series and admission is free for all guests under 21.

Program 12: Flower City Flicks

Always an audience favorite, The Flower City Flicks program kicks off day 3 at 11:30 at the Dryden theater. Come see the work of some great local filmmakers. Who will win this year's Mary Elizabeth Knight Award for best local film?

Program 11: Violet Tendencies

Tonight's sold out screening of Violet Tendencies with guests Casper Andreas and Jesse Archer was an absolute blast! It definitely made for an excellent end to a jam-packed second day of the festival. Did everyone else have as much fun as I did?

Program 10: Quick Licks

Hey ladies, weigh in on tonight's Quick Licks shorts program here. Did you find something absolutely shocking? Hilarious? Appalling? Sexy? Which films were your favorites?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Program 9: Purple Sea

A programmers' favorite, Purple Sea is a sweeping and romantic love story whose gorgeous visuals demand to be seen on the big screen. The film is showing tonight at 6:459m at the Dryden Theatre.

Program 8: Undertow

Our Narrative Centerpiece, Undertow is sure to be a top contender for this year's ImageOut Audience Award. This moving and emotional drama is screening at 6:45pm at the Little Theatre, so don't miss out! And be sure to bring your hankies.

Program 7: Leading Ladies

Make way for the Leading Ladies! This extremely entertaining musical comedy set in the world of competitive ballroom dancing (starring several familiar faces from TV's "So You Think You Can Dance") is sure to leave you smiling. Join us at 3:45 this afternoon at the Dryden Theatre, and don't forget, as part of our Youth Project Series, admission to Leading Ladies is free to anyone under 21.

Program 6: BearCity

We have more amazing guests for Day 2. Join stars Brian Keane and Gregory Gunter as we present a funny and romantic film set in the bear community. Imagine Sex and the City with hairy chests (harness, optional!) and definitely a very different diet. BearCity will show you that being a bear is just a state of mind.

Program 5: Riot Acts:Flaunting Gender Deviance in Music Performance

At 1:45 at the Dryden, ImageOut takes you to the rock show with Riot Acts: Flaunting Gender Deviance in Music Performance. Transgender rockers, folk musicians, rappers, and musical performance artists discuss their craft and what it means to them to perform both traditional and subversive acts of gender and sexuality within the context of music performance.

Program 4: Holding Hands

ImageOut 18, Day 2, is full of touching real-life stories. Holding Hands begins as what may seem to be a fairly usual documentary about a terrible incident of anti-lgbt hate violence. What lies beyond this tragic story is a side of these issues not often brought to the fore of coverage. What happens when the physical wounds have healed? How are relationships permanently altered? Can anyone really be the same afterwards?

Holding Hands begins at 1:45 pm at the Little Theater.

Program 3: Sex in an Epidemic

What an amazing Opening Night! 2 sold-out shows, 5 gracious and fascinating special guests, and 1 fantastic party! But pace yourself folks, because we've got another 9 days of great programming for you.

We begin today's lineup with a very important and very engrossing documentary about the history and current state of HIV and AIDS activism in the United States. Sex in an Epidemic combines archival footage, news broadcasts, and contemporary interviews from the front lines of this battle.

Join us at 11:45 at the Dryden Theater to kick off day 2.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Program 2: Howl

Opening Night could not be any more exciting with the Rochester premiere of James Franco's latest pic, Howl, co-directed by Academy-Award-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. We are also fortunate to have Jeffrey for the screening so please stay for the Q&A. How many times do you get to chat with an Oscar winner?

And don't forget about our opening night party at nearby Eros. See you all tonight!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Program 1: The Four-Faced Liar

We begin our 10-days of celluloid fabulosity with The Four-Faced Liar, This stellar "comedy about drama" features four very promising young actors who will all be in attendance at both the 6:30pm screening at the Little Theater and the opening-night party at nearby Eros Restaurant. We can't wait to get this party started!

Ticket pre-sales have ended. There will be a limited number of tickets for this program available at the Little Theater Box Ofiice the evening of the show, but get there early! Every opening-night in recent memory has been a sell-out!

The Final Countdown! To Program #1 that is

In less than 24 hours, the 18th Annual ImageOut Film Festival kicks off with a spectacular opening night lineup. What are looking forward to most? Is it the films, the guests, the parties, or Michael Gamilla's dazzling wardrobe?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Great new venue for closing night party!

Strathallan logo

Due to circumstances beyond our control, the closing night party has been moved to The Strathallan at 550 East Avenue (from the Inn on Broadway). We are very excited to party the night away at The Strathallan, conveniently located just a few blocks from the Dryden Theatre. There will be valet service available as well as ample on and off street parking. This will be a special night, and will feature:

  • a lavish array of complimentary hot and cold hors d'oeuvres.
  • an assortment of desserts and sinfully decadent, hand-crafted chocolates from Hedonist Artisan Chocolates to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • a full service cash bar.
  • music to dance the night away provided by community favorite DJ Chuck Argento.

If you prefer, enjoy jazz music featured in The Grill at Strathallan. There will also be an area outside the ballroom where you can relax in a quieter setting and talk about all the great films you have seen during the festival. This is sure to be a memorable night and a great way to celebrate the 18th annual ImageOut Film Festival.

We do, however, understand that our patrons who have already purchased film and party or party only tickets were expecting a closing night party at the Inn on Broadway. Due to the venue change, we would like to offer you the option to exchange your ticket or receive a refund. Please click on this link for all the details.