Author Topic: News Coverage: July 2007  (Read 5929 times)

Offline tpe

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News Coverage: July 2007
« on: Jul 03, 2007, 07:25 AM »
Interesting...

From: http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/189415

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Safety reps are required on set
By Steve Dale
Tribune Media Services
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 07.03.2007

In the film "Evan Almighty," no animals were harmed, though hundreds were used, likely representing more species than any motion picture ever made.
Species ranged from giraffes to zebus (a kind of large African cattle) in the comedy, a takeoff on the story of Noah's Ark. Animal safety representative Gina Johnson had never worked with most of the species seen in "Evan Almighty," including badgers and hyenas, both potentially dangerous.
Of course, Steve Carell, Morgan Freeman, Wanda Sykes and the other actors in the film weren't on set exchanging lines with potentially dangerous animals. "If the scene required interaction with an animal, the actor was added (to the scene) later," Johnson says.
There was still plenty of human/wild animal interaction. In one scene, Carell, who portrays a modern-day Noah, worked with lots of birds. "Let's just say he had a good sense of humor being under the birds," Johnson says.
Johnson is one of 10 full-time American Humane certified safety representatives working on movie sets across the United States; another 25 are part-time in the United States and other countries, including the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada. A motion picture may not use the tagline "No Animals Were Harmed" without an American Humane certified safety representative on-set, making sure handlers adhere to training guidelines and protect the health and well-being of all animals.
Concern over animal welfare on movie sets dates back to 1939 and the Henry Fonda film "Jesse James," says Karen Rosa, director of the film and television unit at American Humane. A horse plummeted from a cliff into the water below. "This was real, no special effects," Rosa says. "The stunt man lost his hat and the horse lost its life. American Humane led a public outcry."
Since 1940, American Humane has worked with the Screen Actors Guild to oversee protection for animals used in movies, and eventually TV, music videos and all SAG productions using animals. That's around 1,000 productions a year.
However, not all movies are SAG; some are nonunion and some are made outside the United States, though the public doesn't necessarily know that. "Brokeback Mountain" was shot in Canada, without American Humane being invited on-set. Rosa says that for a scene depicting an elk being killed, the director chose to tranquilize the animal. That solution is unacceptable to American Humane, since there are inherent medical risks to tranquilizing an animal. "We would have made movie magic, rather than put any animal at risk," Rosa says. "Perhaps using fake blood and then cutting to the animal lying down — a behavior which can be taught."
While the elk survived, sadly, even today, there are instances of animals dying on movie sets when American Humane is not there.
With American Humane reps encouraging positive training techniques and monitoring their well-being, animals are less stressed on the set, which makes life easier for directors. While actors and crew aren't likely to fall in love with zebus (although on the talk show circuit promoting "Evan Almighty," Carell did say he and a baboon "connected"), dogs and cats used in films are often adopted by actors or others connected with the projects. Jone Bouman, communications manager of the Film and Television Unit at American Humane, says Halle Berry adopted the cat she co-starred with in "Catwoman." Robert DeNiro fell in love with the cat in "Meet the Parents" and adopted him.
The statement, "No Animals Were Harmed" also assures a concerned public. These days, with dazzling special effects, it's difficult to discern what's real and what isn't in a film. "At least you know when you see 'No animals were harmed' in the credits, you know the animals had a voice on the movie set," says Rosa.

Offline tpe

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What Ever Happened to Queer Cinema?
« Reply #1 on: Jul 17, 2007, 07:46 AM »
Wonderful article.

From: http://www.afterelton.com/movies/2007/7/queercinema

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What Ever Happened to Queer Cinema?
by Alonso Duralde
July 15, 2007


 
 Oscar Night 2006 feels like a million years ago. You remember – it's the night that Brokeback Mountain, although being shamelessly robbed of its deserved Best Picture statuette, still managed to take home three awards. It's the night that Philip Seymour Hoffman's gay novelist squeaked past Heath Ledger's gay cowboy in the Best Actor race. Felicity Huffman was up for Best Actress for playing an MTF in Transamerica. And at the previous day's Independent Spirit Awards, pioneering queer filmmaker Gregg Araki was basking in multiple nominations for Mysterious Skin, a film considered to be a high watermark in an already remarkable career.

GLBT stories had made it to the grown-up's table. More importantly, they'd made it to the multiplex where they were enjoying both good reviews and impressive box-office tallies. The terrain was changing.

So what happened?

Yes, the success of Brokeback lifted long-gestating projects like The Mayor of Castro Street, The Front Runner, Stone Butch Blues, and The Dreyfus Affair out of development limbo, but as of today none of them have a firm shooting date set. And independent cinema, where queer voices have been breaking the rules of cinema and exciting audiences with new possibilities for at least the past few decades, seems content to make one toothless genre picture (lesbian romantic comedies! gay thrillers!) after another.

“There is so much interest in genre films. Which to me is just not that interesting,” notes Jenni Olson, film historian and Wolfe Video's Director of E-Commerce. “I vastly prefer the innovation and style of less conventional filmmaking. I don't think it is that different now though, than at other times in our brief cinema history. The smart, visionary films are always few and far between.”

Critic B. Ruby Rich agrees that things have changed since she coined the term “New Queer Cinema” to describe bold, paradigm-shifting early '90s films like Jennie Livingston's Paris is Burning, Todd Haynes's Poison, and Gregg Araki's The Living End. “Today, like the rest of the movie biz, most people are making films and videos and digital docs because they want a career, they want fame and fortune, or they just want some attention. There's a glut, and not enough of it is exceptional.”

“There seems to be such a lack of interesting GLBT talent today,” laments Marcus Hu, co-president of Strand Releasing, one of the leading distributors of queer titles in North America. “Where is the new generation of Gregg Arakis, Todd Hayneses, Rose Troches, Jennie Livingstons, Tom Kalins, Christine Vachons?”

The original ones, of course, haven't gone away, but they're either having a hard time finding work – Livingston's difficulty in launching a feature after the success of Paris is Burning remains an appalling example of the industry putting up a wall to keep great GLBT filmmakers down – or they've abandoned queer cinema as a genre.

“Filmmakers like Gus Van Sant, Todd Haynes, or Tom Kalin [Swoon] don't come along every day,” says critic David Ehrenstein. “Gus did several mainstream films [Good Will Hunting, Finding Forrester] with no gay content whatsoever. Now he's back to the avant-garde [Elephant, Last Days], with complex conceptual works and plenty of boys smooching. Todd was always too cool for school; I await his Bob Dylan fandango I'm Not There with great anticipation. As for Tom, it's taken all this time for him to get his second feature, Savage Grace, made.”

 Olson thinks there's a new generation of fascinating directors out there, but they haven't gotten the breaks that their antecedents did.

“There are so many talented and interesting filmmakers working today. They just don't get as much attention, and their work doesn't rise to the top in the commercial marketplace. As a filmmaker myself, I want to tell original stories in original ways. And masses of people are not spending wads of cash buying tickets to these kinds of films. So, although I'm frustrated with the flood of conventional filmmaking, I do soothe myself with the knowledge that there are great films out there. It's just sad, and the nature of the Hollywood beast, that so many of our most talented cinematic geniuses are not being supported in creating those great films. For every Todd Haynes – who, fortunately, continues to bring his innovative vision to the screen – there are 20 Jennie Livingstons.”

Industry observers say that the Brokeback phenomenon – Olson describes it as “not so much a blip as a solar eclipse; we get one every ten years” – was never necessarily going to change the game for queer movies in the marketplace.

“There have been some moderate, small gay films that studio specialty divisions have been taking out to a good deal of success, like Notes on a Scandal and The History Boys,” observes Hu. “But Brokeback was still a low budget – $14 million – film that was still developed and distributed by a [Universal Studios] specialty division. The fact that it struck a chord with audiences globally doesn't mean it's going to create shockwaves with the studios hurrying to create the next gay blockbuster.”

But even if queer filmmakers aren't storming the gates of Hollywood, some feel the popcorn bucket is half-full and not half-empty when it comes to GLBT independent cinema.

“Look at the past few years,” says Rich. “We had Tarnation, we had By Hook or By Crook, both real high points, and now this year we have Itty Bitty Titty Committee, which I think is a whole new and exciting move by Jamie Babbitt to recapture that old energy and throw aside the current preconceptions.”

 Carol Coombes, director of the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, feels that GLBT cinematic offerings have always been a mixed bag: “There will always be films that are fluffy, entertaining, and light, but there will be other films which are provocative and questioning. Mysterious Skin, Time to Leave, Shortbus, and The Bubble are all excellent examples of filmmakers pushing envelopes and raising questions, as are the documentaries For the Bible Tells Me So and Red Without Blue.”

Two of the narrative films Coombes cite come from overseas, which reveals one of the hard truths about contemporary queer cinema: The bulk of the interesting, daring, sexy, and envelope-pushing movies are coming from other countries.

According to Olson, “Since cinema is actually viewed foremost as an art form in pretty much every country in the world outside of the U.S., I do find that your average international queer film is likely to be cinematically superior to any random U.S. queer film, where the film industry continues to be much more a realm of commerce, not a workshop of creativity.”

Hu agrees, noting, “The most interesting GLBT films seem to be coming from other parts of the globe. Europe, Asia, South America, Egypt, you name it, there are interesting, complex films coming from all parts of the world. The American experience has been floundering with mediocre films.”

“In many ways, international queer cinema has always palpitated with the most provocative and spirited heartbeat,” says Coombes. “From the earlier films of Jean Cocteau, [Rainer] Werner Fassbinder, Derek Jarman, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and increasingly with the new wave of queer directors such as François Ozon, Eytan Fox, Olivier Ducastel & Jacques Martineau, and André Téchiné.”

This is not to say that U.S. theatrical audiences are embracing these great new movies.

“Without the festivals, forget it,” laments Rich. “The marketplace is not welcoming these films.”

Another aspect of this argument, however, is that queer audiences are getting the movies they deserve, both theatrically and at festivals. Did you buy a ticket to see Tropical Malady? Or Water Drops on Burning Rocks? What about Gasoline, The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveiros, Suddenly, Lan Yu, Yossi & Jagger, or A Thousand Clouds of Peace? If not, then you're part of the problem.

 Case in point: Two of this year's most critically-acclaimed films are Tsai Ming-Liang's I Don't Want to Sleep Alone -- about a bizarre mute love triangle between an injured homeless man, his gay caretaker, and a waitress – and Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Syndromes and a Century. Both directors are queer, but both films are arty, challenging, and not in English. And subsequently, both are getting the tiniest amount of theatrical distribution in the United States.

The lack of attention shown to foreign films isn't exclusively a problem among queer audiences, of course, but aren't we supposed to be cooler than our hetero brethren? Gay audiences in decades past would pack the house for the likes of Taxi zum Klo and Doña Herlinda and Her Son, mainly because there were no queer domestic films to be found. But now that a world of options has opened up to us, your average urban movie-going gay would rather spend his eleven bucks on the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie than on anything from the Asian New Wave.

While it's easy for gay and lesbian movie fans to lament the festivals' high-profile placement of glossy movies with mainstream stars, a little digging in any queer film festival schedule will always yield more challenging goodies. And festivals will always provide that little something extra that you won't get from Netflix.

“What's still great about the LGBT-whatever festivals,” says Rich, “is that we get to discover ideas, people, issues, and in the best of times, styles, that we didn't know before. And only some of what goes on is up on the screen, anyway. Those festivals are still all about constituting publics, constructing communities, and giving folks markers to live their, and our, lives by.”

While obviously a champion of film festivals, Coombes says that the fact that they are no longer the only venue for queer film has changed the goals of GLBT filmmakers. “While the New Queer Cinema of the '90s found its audience principally in GLBT domestic and international film festivals, today's exhibition market is very different. Filmmakers faced with a plurality of wider choices are looking for the best places to platform their own work from major mainstream festivals, cable outlets, and, of course, niche market LGBT festivals. There will always be films that will receive wider distribution, and there will always be films that will screen once or twice in your local queer festival and probably not be seen again. I think filmmakers are interested in making films that get seen by an audience first and foremost.”

But just because young gay and lesbian filmmakers can use queer features as a calling card for work in Hollywood, it doesn't necessarily mean that they should.

“The majority of filmmakers seem to be making more conventional work,” says Olson. “And that is indeed depressing to me as a movie-lover. It makes me want to weep when I see so many boring, conventional films being made. These films that are not cinematic but are merely using a camera, dialogue, and some actors to tell a moderately interesting gay story are just not enough anymore.”

It may be, however, that the most interesting voices in contemporary queer cinema are eschewing the big screen for other platforms. Both Rich and Olson cite Girltrash, the upcoming OurChart.com series from lesbian director Angela Robinson (D.E.B.S., Herbie: Fully Loaded) as one of the most exciting projects on the horizon, while Ehrenstein praises network TV shows like Ugly Betty and Brothers & Sisters for their interesting and groundbreaking queer content.

Olson goes on to admit, “I feel like I'm always whining about this or that, and being snobby about the mainstream, but honestly, the best thing I've seen lately is Q. Allan Brocka's animated Logo show, Rick & Steve, which is really brilliant.”

Duralde is the author of 101 Must-See Movies for Gay Men (Alyson Books).




Offline tpe

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BBM on Broadway?
« Reply #2 on: Jul 25, 2007, 07:03 AM »
Is this true? Towleroad also posted an article about this...

http://news.google.com/news?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLF,GGLF:1969-53,GGLF:en&q=brokeback&um=1&sa=N&tab=wn

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Brokeback Mountain Coming To Broadway?
Written by Chris Evans
Published July 24, 2007



Rumors are swirling that there is an effort to bring the massive hit and critically acclaimed cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain to Broadway. There is no word as to whether it will be adapted as a play or as a musical, but there are two stars who are supposedly being approached to star in the Broadway adaptation.

X-Men co-stars Hugh Jackman and James Marsden have been named as the two actors they are shooting for to star as Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist in the weeper love story. Considering the hopeful casting choices, I’m going to go ahead and assume it’s being adapted into a musical.

We know Hugh Jackman for his singing from his Tony-winning performance in The Boy From Oz, where he played gay singer and songwriter Peter Allen, and James Marsden just recently showed off his impressive vocal chops as Corny Collins in Hairspray. Both have sung previously, and both have played gay roles before — Marsden played a gay man in the movie Heights — but would either of them take on such an acclaimed and successful film, knowing the difficulty of duplicating the success and praise when brought to a stage, especially to music?

I could definitely see the show being a commercial hit, especially with such hunky co-stars - many will turn out just to see them kiss on stage – and I can’t imagine the stage door frenzy after each show. But I’m skeptical as to whether this story will translate well to the stage (I mean, it takes place on a mountain — what about the sheep?) and whether it will work as a musical. But then again, I was wary of The Color Purple on Broadway, and that turned out to be a wonderful play. Time will tell if any of these rumors are even true.


Offline tpe

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BBM on Broadway??
« Reply #3 on: Jul 25, 2007, 07:06 AM »
The Towleroad post:

http://www.towleroad.com/2007/07/jackman-to-meet.html

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Jackman to Meet Marsden in Brokeback on Broadway?




There are rumors (http://community.livejournal.com/ohnotheydidnt/14121817.html) about that a stage production of Brokeback Mountain is in the final stages of development and atop the wishlist for the two leads are Hugh Jackman and James Marsden.

Not sure what we think of this (except to say we certainly wouldn't mind seeing these two in a pup tent together), but take it as completely unverified rumor at this point. And if anyone has further information, please email us.


Offline Rosie

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Re: News Coverage: July 2007
« Reply #4 on: Jul 25, 2007, 10:31 AM »
Oh I need time to digest this. I can't imagine anyone being Jack and Ennis apart from Jake and Heath.....but I love the story so....
Danny and me, Danny and me,  Danny and me and the sea,
Bobbing out of Pleasure Bay, the islands on our lee;
Spectacle, Georges, Gallops, the sun-wash on the brine
Castle Island where Skovo danced a bear-dance in bear-time.
The Golden Boy has chosen, I know what I will be
Danny and me, seanchai, Danny and me and the sea.

A Map of the Harbor Islands JG Hayes

Offline tpe

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Re: News Coverage: July 2007
« Reply #5 on: Jul 25, 2007, 11:52 AM »
Oh I need time to digest this. I can't imagine anyone being Jack and Ennis apart from Jake and Heath.....but I love the story so....

Same reaction here.  But it doesn't hurt seeing it on Broadway.  And Heath and Jake will always be Ennis and Jack to us, even if I think I can appreciate it when others try to recreate the roles.  :)


Offline ksxks

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Re: News Coverage: July 2007
« Reply #6 on: Jul 25, 2007, 09:56 PM »
I only learned about this today, and I realize that I am not so possessive of the original that I would be opposed to this idea.  I think the right people could do an honorable Broadway production of this, and nothing wrong with the proposed actors, either.  Even a musical -- and I have a genetic aversion to Broadway musicals, or I used to anyway.  I'm a recovering Broadway musical disliker.  But anyway, I love the idea of the essence of BBM going out there in another form.

I also found of interest the first article in this thread -- how we thought the LGBT film scene was totally changing in early 2006, but it hasn't so much...

kathy
They were respectful of each other's opinions, each glad to have a companion where none had been expected.

Offline tpe

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Re: News Coverage: July 2007
« Reply #7 on: Jul 26, 2007, 07:52 AM »
I only learned about this today, and I realize that I am not so possessive of the original that I would be opposed to this idea.  I think the right people could do an honorable Broadway production of this, and nothing wrong with the proposed actors, either.  Even a musical -- and I have a genetic aversion to Broadway musicals, or I used to anyway.  I'm a recovering Broadway musical disliker.  But anyway, I love the idea of the essence of BBM going out there in another form.

I also found of interest the other article in this thread -- how we thought the LGBT film scene was totally changing in early 2006, but it hasn't so much...

kathy

I think I feel the same way.  My only requirement is that it be done beautifully -- to be worthy of the original and the film adaptation.  Both ss and film deserve no less!

And I do find that first article very insightful.  The author clearly knows gay cinema and its development over the last few years...