Report 8: Homos Away From Home

Our day began with a press conference for THE DYING GAUL, the first feature film directorial effort from world famous playwright Craig Lucas. Mr. Lucas was lovely to chat with, and thoroughly witty and charming. He discussed the difference between writing a screenplay from scratch, and attempting to adapt a play for the screen. When asked if the film was autobiographical, Lucas responded in the negative. He also reminded the audience that the film, set in 1995, reflects a different era in America’s cultural perception and awareness of gays.

After the press conference, we attended a sold-out screening of acclaimed graphic artist and music video director Mike Mills’ feature film debut THUMBSUCKER. The work follows our protagonist Justin Cobb, a bright but awkward high-school teen, as he attempts to give up his addiction to thumbsucking. Mills delivers a wonderfully funny and unique examination of suburban angst. The film also features an all-star cast including Keanu Reeves, Tilda Swinton, and Vince Vaughn.

We then headed off to a wine-tasting at the Sundance Filmmaker house, where we watched the HARD CANDY team relax and chat with fellow filmmakers. Afterwards, we headed down to the Sundance House for a reception for the Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award, where we caught up with Warner Independent Pictures exec Tracey Bing and multimedia performance artist and filmmaker Miranda July (ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW). Filmmaker Joaquin Oristrell was also in attendance to promote his film UNCONSCIOUS, which was acquired during the fest by here! Films.

Warner Independent Pictures VP of Production and Acquisitions Tracey Bing.

UNCONCIOUS Director Joaquin Oristrell.

We started the evening with a visit to the highly anticipated Homos Away From Home party at Queer Lounge. John Cameron Mitchell (HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH) presided over the evening’s festivities, spinning records and encouraging the crowd to break it down and dance. Alan Cumming, Neve Campbell, and Honey Labrador were some of the celebrities in attendance. It was a fierce party, and after 8 days you could really see folks letting their hair down.

Revelers at the Queer Lounge.

Dancing at the Queer Lounge.

Celebrities aside, the interesting thing about the queer films and events happening here at Sundance in beautiful Park City is that they have also attracted the local LGBT community. Last night, we watched as two young men walked together outside the Queer Lounge, looking a bit nervous. As soon as the two men entered the space they immediately held hands. The Salt Lake City natives had heard about the Queer Lounge, and attended the event because as long-time boyfriends, there were few places in Utah where they could actually be affectionate with each other. The Queer Lounge was set up for those of us visiting from distant progressive urban hubs. However, the locals that have shown up have been amongst the most striking Queer Lounge guests. The presence of local queers at these events illustrates how important gay and lesbian images are in the media in affecting change on a local level. Here’s to all the folks that worked towards making the Queer Lounge happen.
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