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The Sunday Journal
Madstone program outs gay ‘educational’ movies
By Anthony DellaFlora
American filmmakers have a history of producing propaganda disguised as “educational” films, ranging from the campy anti-drug flick “Reefer Madness” to the Cold War-era “Duck and Cover,” which indicated that hiding under a school desk would save you from the ravages of a nuclear blast.
Homosexual were not spared this strange genre, either.
On Thursday you can see how some filmmakers chose to portray the “nastiness” of homosexuality on celluloid, along with a host of other oddities, when Closet Cinema presents “Lock Up Your Sons and Daughters” at Madstone Theaters.
The program is a collection of short films curated by Canada’s Bill Taylor.
The program includes a campy look at heterosexuality in “Once Upon a Honeymoon,” and “Perversion for Profit,” a screed that equates homosexuality with Communism, featuring the unknown George Putnam as an “outstanding news reporter.”
Also included on the program is a feature on a religious right boycott of Disney movies for purportedly pushing a gay agenda.
“Soapy The Germ Fighter” is a truly bizarre entry that teaches young boys – through a character dressed as a bar of soap – that being clean doesn’t mean you are a “sissy.”
“The Gay Agenda” is a documentary produced in the early ‘90s to counter the gay political movement. It’s the most sobering of the movies, notes one Web site, because “this kind of hate is still out there.”
The evening concludes with the spoof “The Heterosexual Agenda.”
Closet Cinema organizer Roberto Appicciafoco said his ultimate goal
is to crate an annual gay and lesbian film festival for Albuquerque.
“It’s been about two years since I left there and they haven’t really been showing gay and lesbian films on a regular basis,” Appicciafoco said. “I just thought this was probably the best time to create something like this and see the support that’s out there.”
Closet Cinema plans to test the waters with a series of screenings during the coming year, including a showing of “Stonewall the Movie” on June 14, to mark Gay Pride Day.
Appicciafoco, who’s also worked at the Sundance and Seattle International film festivals, believes the support will be there.
If so, the festival could happen anytime between early November and next spring.
“We’ve been getting contributions as far as helping out our startup, and a lot of people want to see this happen,” Appicciafoco said. “I lust love being part of this kind of energy and bringing … communities together.”
For Information, visit www.closetcinema.org.
Out of the Closet and Into the Theater--Closet Cinema is a brand spanking new nonprofit organization based right here in Albuquerque. The group is made up of fellow community members devoted to advancing the entertaining, dramatic and educational aspects of gay and lesbian films. In the past, the group's members have organized the popular Gay and Lesbian Film Festival at UNM's SouthWest Film Center. Providing an annual G&L film fest remains one of the group's primary goals. They're already off to a roaring start with a screening at Madstone Theaters on May 29 called "Lock Up Your Sons and Daughters." This inaugural screening (courtesy of Vancouver film curator Bill Taylor) will feature several antique "educational" oddities originally designed to enlighten the public about the nasty scourge of homosexuality. Another special, soon-to-be-announced screening will take place on June 14 (Pride Day, don't you know) at the Guild Cinema. The group's website (www.closetcinema.org) is getting more info almost daily in regards to screenings, membership, sponsorship and call for volunteers. This fledgling organization needs plenty of community support from volunteers (grantwriting, fundraising, box office, etc.) to make this a successful venture in New Mexico. If you're interested in lending a hand, just go to the website, e-mail email@example.com or call 232-6737.
Recently, we've even seen the addition of the Closet Cinema organization, a non-profit group dedicated to promoting the diversity of gay and lesbian cinema. The group is one of two organizations putting together special programming in celebration of the upcoming Gay Pride Week.
Closet Cinema's founder, Roberto Appicciafoco, began his film work as a programmer and director at the University of New Mexico's SouthWest Film Center. There, he helped initiate the popular annual Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Now, out on his own, Appicciafoco has begun a series of alternative cinema outings. In observance of Gay Pride Week, Closet Cinema will be hosting a public screening of Nigel Finch's award-winning 1995 film Stonewall. This vibrant drama depicts the events leading up to the infamous Stonewall nightclub raid, which became a major turning point in the Gay Rights movement. The screening will take place on June 14 at 9 p.m. at the Guild Cinema.
The ultimate goal of Closet Cinema, though, is to have a regular annual Gay and Lesbian film festival here in Albuquerque.
"When I was at the SouthWest Film Center, I saw that--out of our top ten films--four or five were gay and lesbian titles," notes Appicciafoco. He says support for an annual festival is "definitely" there. Ever since Closet Cinema came out of the closet, so to speak, Appicciafoco reports, "The response has been great. I've already got a list of 15 volunteers." Appicciafoco expects the festival to be up and running by mid-September and hopes to encompass two or three venues for the event.
For now, though, it's off to the Seattle International Film Festival and then the Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival to look for films. "It's a bit overwhelming," admits Appicciafoco. "I've got a lot of work to do."
Tickets for the Closet Cinema screening of Stonewall are available at the Guild box office. To find out more about Closet Cinema, log on to www.closetcinema.org. Meanwhile, just up the road in Santa Fe, the Santa Fe Film Festival is unveiling plans for its own Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. This year's inaugural mini-showcase of features, documentaries and shorts will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, June 17-18, at The Screen on the College of Santa Fe campus. All films are programmed by the SFFF and presented in partnership with the Human Rights Alliance and Gay Pride on the Plaza.
During last summer's Gay Pride festivities, the SFFF tested the waters by bringing the raucous musical documentary The Cockettes to Santa Fe audiences.
"We attracted a large and boisterous audience for The Cockettes, so we expanded the program this season," says SFFF Executive Director Jon Bowman.
Two feature films, two documentaries and two shorts will be screened at this year's film festival. The festival opens at 6 p.m. on June 17 with Arthur Dong's documentary Family Fundamentals. The Oscar-nominated filmmaker's latest work examines the private and public lives of three conservative Christian families who have raised gay and lesbian children. The film will be paired with "Burl's," a short film about a young boy's sexual awakening by Iranian-born filmmaker Maryam Karimi.
At 8 p.m., the festival continues with a showing of Anne de Marcken and Marilyn Freeman's Group. This ensemble drama takes viewers inside a group therapy session featuring nine very different women. The film won the audience award for Best Narrative Feature at the Seattle Gay and Lesbian Festival.
The festival picks up again on Wednesday, June 18, at 6 p.m. with Hope Along the Wind: The Life of Harry Hay. This riveting documentary by Eric Slade profiles the charismatic Harry Hay, founder of the country's first gay rights organization. The film won the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival and the Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. It will be teamed with the campy mockumentary Masturbation: Putting the fun back into Self-Loving.
The festival concludes at 8 p.m. with a special sneak preview of TLA Releasings' Km. 0 by Spain's Yolanda Garcia Serrano and Juan Luis Iborra. This sophisticated European comedy about a group of diverse strangers who meet up and hook up at Madrid's Plaza del Sol has been hailed by Variety magazine as "a candy-colored sex romp."
Tickets for the SFFF Gay and Lesbian Film Festival are $8 for single screenings, $14 for one evening and $27 for both nights. They can be reserved by calling the Santa Fe Film Festival box office at (505) 988-5225
The Sunday Journal
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