g The Film Panel Notetaker: NewFest 2009 Comedy Shorts

Monday, June 08, 2009

NewFest 2009 Comedy Shorts

NewFest 2009
Comedy Shorts
June 6, 2009
New York, NY


The first time I went to NewFest in 2005 I saw the Comedy Shorts, which were utterly hilarious. Standouts were Irene Williams: Queen of Lincoln Road, Standing Room Only, and Kiki and Herb on the Rocks. Fast forward to 2009, and I’m back for more. While I didn’t find myself laughing out hysterically like I did the first time, there were a few impressive showings that are worth the attention. Perhaps the most blatantly gay and funniest film there was Queerer Than Thou with its rye take on sexual orientation and gender identity. And the most prolific and clever film was the mockumentary Revelations, by Tom Gustafson, the same director who brought us last year’s magical and musical Were the World Mine. Revelations is a satirical look at a real-life hate group family, often referred to as “The G-d Hates Fags” family, with an actress portraying the matriarch of the family videotaping herself in the closet confessing as to why she really hates the gays.

During the audience Q&A, Gustafson said he’d been fascinated by this family for quite some time and he tried to figure out what the best way would be to deal with these people. He originally thought he’d try to make a feature-length film of it, but decided to go with the short instead.

Kyle Thomas Coker, director of Astoria, Queens, said his film is about “creating your New York family.” He was inspired by moving miles away from his home in Texas to New York City (in the film the characters move to New York from Kansas). “My friends became my New York family,” he said.

Kenny Hillman said of her film Don’t Mess With Texas that they were “looking to explore our own prejudices in rural communities.”

Madeleine Olnek who directed Countertransference, said she’d seen a book about gays and lesbians and their therapists and there was a section about countertransference, when the therapist projects onto the patient, and that’s not supposed to happen.

Kate Brandt, director of Tools for Fools, said she’d been talking about the high price of dildos. What if someone sold second-hand sex toys? They wanted to explore this area of lesbian sexuality and bring it into light.

Queerer Than Thou director Ramses Rodstein said that basically the whole cast of friends was playing versions of themselves and poking fun at the stereotypes and the idea that someone can be more authentically queer than the other.

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