g The Film Panel Notetaker: NewFest 2008 Filmmaker Q&A Recaps

Thursday, June 12, 2008

NewFest 2008 Filmmaker Q&A Recaps

NewFest 2008
Filmmaker Q&A Recaps

Antarctica – June 6, 2008
Directed by Yair Hochner

“Shabbat Shalom,” proclaimed Hochner, who hails from Israel, that Friday evening with a hardy chuckle in reply from the audience. Hochner said it was his dream to premiere Antarctica at NewFest. In Israel, only 20 people saw it. Even not all of the cast and crew came. Hochner described his film as a light romantic comedy with a twist. “North Americans like that,” he said.

At the Q&A, the first question thrown out was why was the character of Shoshana, the mother, played by a man in drag? Hochner replied that he thought it would be most appropriate. He was a big fan of Divine (from the John Waters movies). The actor, Noam Huberman, in the film has his own theater show in Israel. He was a little bit afraid to play this part, because nobody has ever played such a role in Israel before. Before casting this actor, Hochner said an A-list Israeli actress wanted to do it, but he declined for the other actor. When asked how the plot was conceived, Hochner said when he started writing the script, all of the characters were straight. Then when he came out, he changed them all as gay. As for the title Antarctica, he said it reflects the characters and their mood and situations as being frozen who need to open themselves to love somebody. It’s a state of mind.

Bi the Way – June 6, 2008
Directed by Brittany Blockman & Josephine Decker

Didn’t attend this screening at NewFest, but did at SXSW. Here are those notes.

Between Love & Goodbye – June 8, 2008
Directed by Casper Andreas

According to Andreas during the Q&A, Between Love & Goodbye was shot in December of 2007 over a period of 18 days. He called it a mixture between Green Card, The War of the Roses and A Streetcar Named Desire. The film is a love story set in New York City about two men, one a musician (Kyle played by Simon Miller) and the other a French actor (Marcel played by Justin Tensen) who marries a lesbian (Sarah played by Jane Elliot) to get his green card. Their relationship starts to untangle when Kyle’s transsexual ex-prostitute and fellow band member sister/brother (April/Cole played by Rob Harmon) moves in causing tension between the couple. The cast was also present for the Q&A. One audience member blatantly asked Harmon the following question, “Where did you do most of your research being such an angry cunt?” to which Harmon replied, “My mother’s up there (in the audience).” Despite this, Harmon playfully went along and continued answering by saying that he had a lot of fun playing the part and didn’t really do any research. He did spend sometime with Sabrina, a real transsexual woman on the set, who taught him a lot. Andreas followed up by saying that some people thought the April/Cole storyline was a little controversial, since the character keeps going back and forth between genders, but he wasn’t trying to say anything nasty in particular about transsexuals. Was any of the story autobiographical, one person asked the Swedish-born Andreas, who said only some parts were. Some of his friends have gone through similar experiences, but this and his other films are really just about being young and gay in New York.

Whirlwind – June 9, 2008
Directed by Richard LeMay

Didn’t attend this screening, but did a One-on-One Q&A with LeMay along with screenwriter Jason Brown last week.

Be Like Others – June 12, 2008
Directed by Tanaz Eshaghian

NewFest’s Basil Tsiokis introduced the evening’s program which began with Bram Vergeer’s short documentary 7 Years, which examines homosexuality in Kenya, followed by Eshaghian’s feature doc Be Like Others, a very compelling story of men in Iran who decide to have sexual reassignment surgery to become woman because their country outlaws homosexuality, yet according to their religious law, being a transgendered person is legal. Neither Veneer nor Eshaghian were present for a Q&A after, but Tsiokis had mentioned beforehand that both films were part of the festival’s Activism and Repression program that feature places around the world where being gay is a crime. “It’s important to keep this in mind as we think about our own rights,” he said.

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