Despite threats of boycotts and a grim financial future for independent film, Sundance kicked off last night in Park City, Utah, continuing its tradition of being the place that high-art cineastes peddle their wares to mainstream distributors. This year includes an especially strong roster of LGBT-interest films, including, this year’s gay-for-Oscar Jim Carey vehicle, I Love You Phillip Morris. What are the gay films premiering in Utah that you’ll want to see– and in one instance, that you can see right now? Let’s find out.
I Love You Philip Morris
One of the most anticipated films of Sundance, I Love You Phillip Morris is the true-life prison gay prison romance story of Steven Jay Russell (Jim Carey), nicknamed “King Con” and “Houdini” for his many successful escapes from prison. Russell is a regular Joe who discovers he’s gay – at the same time he discovers he has a penchant for being a con-artist. Then, after being tossed into jail, he falls in love with his cellmate, Phillip Morris, played in the film by perpetual penis-flasher Ewan McGregor.
Peter Bratt’s father-son tale set in the Latino San Francisco district of La Mission, La Mission begins as the story of Che (Benjamin Bratt) teaching his son Jesse how to make it as a street-smart Barrio boy, but takes a queer right turn when he discovers his son is gay. Che rejects his son and cuts off all ties, but the heart of the story focuses on how a man who’s life is defined by machismo must find a place for his son.
One Day in a Life (Un altro pianeta)
Director Stefano Tummolini’s film starts off as a day at a gay beach in Italy, but moves Rashoman-like through the lives and drama’s of each of the beachgoers, all seen through the lens of Salvatore, played by Antonio Merone. Lots of human contact and speedo’s amid the existential questioning.
Push: Based on the novel by Sapphire
Lee Daniels film about an overweight, illiterate and sexually abused teenager whose life is turned around when a lesbian teacher takes her under her wing. The cast features, Gabourey Sidibe, Paula Patton, Mo’Nique, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz
575 Castro St.
Jenni Olson’s short film makes use of the empty set of Harvey Milk’s camera shop in Gus Van Sant’s Milk and sets her images to the original recording made by Harvey Milk that was meant to be played in the event of his assassination.
This Finnish short is about a straight guy so curious about the idea of gay sex (because he can’t imagine how it’s done) that he asks his friend to help him figure the whole thing out with some hands-on experimentation— and then his wife comes home.
A short Irish-film about a young man who is questioning his sexuality while seeking out the friendship of his literate schoolteacher. However, when he does come out to the teacher, things don’t go as planned.
Apple is offering James and nine other short films from the Sundance Film Festival for free via iTunes, through January 25th.