Monday, August 07, 2006

Black Listed!!!!!!!!!!

I just learned that I was kicked off the North Caroliina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival committee. The reason, you ask?

My blog.

Yup. The powers that be for the theater and the festival got wind of my blog, read it, and took umbrage with what I wrote. I don't think they were offended by my most recent posting, unless they didn't like the fact that I listed some of my personal favorite films. The schedule was already posted at that time and all machinations were well underway.

Looking back in time, I think the posting in question dates back to May or June and is entitled "the Nadir of Gay Cinema". A very bleak statement to be sure.

If you go back and read it, I was admittedly fairly harsh. Funny-- yet harsh. But I stand by my take on gay cinema of several months back. You try watching hours upon hours of poorly executed movies and then check YOUR mindset. Yes, I know that a lot of film makers and actors poured their heart and soul (and wallets) into realizing their vision. And for that they are to be commended; it takes guts to follow your dream and make it a reality.

But sometimes I think the artists are too close to their work to really 'see' it. That's what film festivals and selection committees are for.

My only regret with my initial post, is that I didn't say enough positive things about the films that weren't schlock. And trust me, most of the films that eventually made this year's festival aren't schlocky at all. That's because out of well over 100 films and shorts (I think the number of submissions was closer to 200), 12 full length feature films were chosen, and about 16 shorts- give or take. And a couple of the full length films are documentaries.

200 films. 30 chosen. You do the math on that, and what it equals is that there are a bunch that didn't make the cut. And why didn't they make the cut? Because they flat-out weren't good.

We now live in an age where nearly every sitcom and comedic hollywood movie has a gay character or touches on gay themes at some point. Hell, there are even gay NETWORKS. There have even been some large budget gay hollywood films. Because of this, we've moved so far beyond just making a gay film because "there aren't any movies that have gay content". The bar has been raised.

And a lot of what I saw didn't clear that bar.

What DID clear the bar I gave firm recommendations for (and yes, I did recommend at least 9 full length features and probably 10 shorts). And all of these films ended up in the program for this weekend, which makes me glad. I feel like it was a job well done.

Now-for the reasons that I think they are pissed:

1) The post sounded like the festival was going to be terrible. Yeah, i can see how that might be the take away from the blog, which is why I said my only regret was that i wan't more positive about the good stuff.

2) They thought I spilled too much information about the films before the program was set. Well, this I disagree about, since I ranted in general terms about the types of films I saw. And all i did was recommend some of my particular favorites and said if you can get to 'any' film festival I would recommend looking them up. When I wrote the post, I didn't even know what we were going to show, if any of them because the group hadn't selected them yet and the theater hadn't booked them. So in retrospect I did a good job with my recommendations, because most of them DID end up in the program.

3) They thought I was too harsh on some of the films and was too specific about their subject matter. I didn't actually name any of the films that I disliked. And if by talking about their general content was specific enough to name the film and thereby offend the artists- all I can say is welcome to Criticism 101. If you are gonna put it out there, be prepared.

4) They are offended by my blog's general content and don't want the festival associated with it. Now that's just silly in my opinion. Its free publicity and lord knows the festival here in NC could use all the publicity it can get.

5) They are offended by my most recent posting about the festival for some reason. Since the schedule was already in the paper at that point, maybe they didn't like the fact that I actually recommended specific films. If so, I don't get that at all.

Now for reasons that I'M pissed:

1) Nobody ever informed me that I was kicked off the committee. How did I find out? I called today to ask if I had missed a meeting notice or something because the festival was nearly upon us and I hadn't heard anything about my assignment. Since it was only my second year on the thing, I think I can be forgiven for not noticing sooner that I had been omitted from the loop.

Now for reasons that I'm sad:

1) Nobody informed me that I was kicked off the committee. I was just cast aside. I realize that evidently I REALLY pissed off some people, but you know something? Grow up about it. Give me a call and say, "Hey Chris. Read your blog. Uncool. You were rotten and now we don't want you to participate." Something. Anything would have been appreciated. But silence? That's just sad in my book. And basically an indictment against our 'community' in general. No wonder the straights won't let us get married. After all, it should be illegal for children to get hitched.

2) I was really looking forward to the festival, and now its just anticlimactic. I have been talking it up to all my friends. Telling every gay guy I met about the strong lineup of films and basically hawking the festival to drum up support. Now it feels spurious.

So, I think I'll still try to go to the festival. After all, I DID help choose the films and there's one or two films I'd like to see on the big screen. I won't be attending reception, however. I think that would just be too weird. But no matter what I end up going to see, I'll be paying for my tickets instead of using the free ones that are reserved for me.

Maybe my $16 dollar donation will go toward making the festival that much better in the future.


At 8:32 PM, Blogger 9W aka 9thWave aka Nthwave said...

well i already told you on the phone what i think, but its just shitty. i'm sorry - regardless of the reason why, they just fucked up on the how big time.

i'm really sorry.

At 10:28 PM, Blogger Ms Bees Knees said...

that's lame that no one told you. plus, whatever happened to free speech? whatevs... sorry babe.

At 9:13 AM, Blogger Six Shooter said...

OK, that royally sucks. And not in the good way.

I mean, c'mon, it's not like you did porn and now have to relinuish your title to Miss Runner-Up. You commented on some movies.

Sometimes those (us) homos really can get our undies in a bundle. (Which is why it's good that you never wear any.)

At 9:23 AM, Blogger cb said...

yeah. The whole thing is rather disappointing for me. I love movies and this was one small way in which I could return to the community from whom I've taken so, so much.

Seriously, I'm not a volunteer at all. But this was one thing I wanted to do.

At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Ray said...

Sorry to hear this Chris - it's very disappointing.

If their complaint was that you were "professional" enough, they certainly showed you how professional they are. Hypocrisy is very disappointing indeed.

Perhaps it really is for the best? A new film festival?

At 10:34 AM, Blogger Six Shooter said...

Heaven forbid someone on the committee have a unique opinion ... or the balls to speak up.


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