Monday, April 30, 2012

Gay Filmmakers Take On LGBT Issues

Update: LGBT Filmmakers Part #2
In the first installment of our exclusive audio montages Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson, Host of OUTTAKE VOICES™, talks with three filmmakers about their films appearing at the Boston LGBT Film Festival that runs May 3rd through May 13th. We also had the opportunity to talk to the filmmakers about crucial issues facing our LGBT community.

LOVE FREE OR DIE is the 2012 Sundance Film Festival Winner of U.S. Documentary Special Jury Prize for An Agent of Change. The film follows Bishop Gene Robinson who came under fire in 2003 when he became the first openly gay man to be elected to the Episcopal Church in New Hampshire. Since then he has battled for LGBT people from small town churches in New Hampshire to Washington’s Lincoln Memorial to London’s Lambeth Palace, as he calls for all to stand for equality, inspiring bishops, priests and ordinary folk to come out from the shadows and change history. LOVE FREE OR DIE will be presented at the Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, Massachusetts on Monday, May 7th at 7P. We talked to Bishop Robinson and Director Macky Alston about the film and their commitment to LGBT equality.

When asked what is his personal commitment to LGBT civil rights, Bishop Robinson, stated, “For me the impetus for this is both religious and secular. That is to say, I came out in 1986 when I was 39 years old and I was a priest of the church and it was clear to me that religious institutions; Judaism, Islam, Christianity, were really responsible for 95% of the discrimination that we experience. Even non-religious people in the culture use religious reasoning to argue against us and keep us from our full civil rights. I felt that I had a foot in both communities, the religious community and the LGBT community of which I was so proud to be a part. I felt a special calling to try to reconcile these two groups and to get the church to see how it had been oppressing for two thousand years and to see what I could do in my own small way to change that; to both change the church so that it became not just tolerate but embracing it and celebratory of us. To say to the LGBT community, ‘You know the church has not served you well in the past, in fact it has been abusive of you, but there are Christians and Jews and Muslims who will welcome you and help you answer your own spiritual needs and the religious institution you left years ago because you were treated so badly might be the place for you now.”

With over forty feature-length films there are also a number of LGBT dramas, comedies and musicals telling our stories. From Director Wendy Jo Carlton, (HANNAH FREE) comes JAMIE AND JESSIE ARE NOT TOGETHER. We talked to Wendy Jo about her romantic musical comedy that tells the story of two queer girls whose codependent, loyal friendship is fraught with erotic tension based on Wendy Jo’s own experiences of loving the wrong women. JAMIE AND JESSIE ARE NOT TOGETHER will be presented Saturday, May 5th at 6P at the Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA and she will be available for a Q & A following her film.

We also talked to Brendan Fay about his documentary TAKING A CHANCE ON GOD that will be shown at the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, MA on Sunday May 6th at 2P. Fay tells Jesuit priest John McNeill’s inspiring story of faith, love and perseverance in the face of oppression and rejection. McNeill is the Co-founder of the LGBT Catholic group Dignity New York. On Monday May 7th at the Brattle Theatre following LOVE FREE OR DIE there will be an important Religion Panel Discussion with Bishop Gene Robinson, Director Macky Alston, Director Brendan Fay, TAKING A CHANCE ON GOD, Rev. Patrick S. Cheng, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at the Episcopal Divinity School, and Alex Kapitan, the Congregational Justice Administrator for the Unitarian Universalist Association to discuss the role sexual identity and religion play in our community.
For More Info & Tix: Bostonlgbtfilmfest.org

Monday, April 23, 2012

Director Anne Renton's 'The Perfect Family'

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Australian Director Anne Renton about her new must-see film THE PERFECT FAMILY starring Kathleen Turner, Emily Deschanel and Jason Ritter that opens May 4th in NYC, LA and on demand with a wide release on May 11th. The film is about suburban supermom Eileen Cleary (Kathleen Turner) who is nominated for the coveted Catholic Woman of the Year Award at her local parish. It appears she’s a shoe-in but one final test remains and that is introducing her family to the church board that includes Monsignor Murphy (Richard Chamberlain) for the seal of approval. This is where the plot thickens when she must face the truth about her nonconformist family, something she has been in denial of for years. With her gay daughter (Emily Deschanel) about to marry her life partner, her unhappily married son (Jason Ritter) having an affair with the local manicurist and her own marriage to a recovered alcoholic pulling at the seams, Eileen decides to take action, ramping up her meddling to hilarious new heights. As she does, she begins to question what truly makes a family perfect.

When asked what her personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights, Renton stated, “Well as a filmmaker I try to think about what it is and what would be a different way to tell a story. When Prop 8 was passed in California I turned to a short film that I had just made called LOVE IS LOVE. I did a minor re-edit and put some cards up in the front of the film and basically dedicated it to everyone that voted ‘Yes’ on Prop 8. The film was a comedy about what it would be like for heterosexuals to live in a predominately gay world. So my hope in doing this was to get it out there. I put it up on Youtube and it did get quite a lot of hits. I hope that some of the people that watched it were people who maybe did vote ‘Yes’ and that it was an opportunity to maybe support them to think a little differently about things.” LOVE IS LOVE also stars Emmy winner Jane Lynch (GLEE) and Anne shares a very interesting story about how Lynch became involved with her short film.

THE PERFECT FAMILY premiered to critical acclaim at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival and opened the Provincetown International Film Festival last June where we first met Anne and interviewed the film’s star Kathleen Turner. Listen to Kathleen Turner Interview….
Anne Renton has since formed Certainty Films with Executive Producer Connie Cummings. They look forward to continuing to blend entertainment that weaves a sense of true purpose and meaning into our lives with a more conscious approach to filmmaking.
THE PERFECT FAMILY will be released by Variance Films May 4th in NYC, LA and on demand with a wide release on May 11th.
For More Info: theperfectfamilymovie.com

Monday, April 16, 2012

Equality Forum 2012 Celebrating 20 Years

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Malcolm Lazin, Founder and Executive Director of Equality Forum. This is the 20th anniversary of Equality Forum 2012 that takes place May 3rd to May 6th in Philadelphia. Equality Forum is a national and international LGBT civil rights organization with a focus on education. There are also lots of dance parties, entertainment and just basic fun events. This year Israel is Equality Forum International focus.

When asked what special guests and events are taking place this year, Lazin stated, “Well we really do have the best and the brightest in terms of all of the major issues. Whether it’s our religious colloquy, transgender, a panel on Israel, racial panel, legal panel, political panel, sports, military, marriage equality panel as well as our national youth panel. There are fifteen regional, state, national and international organizations that put on programs about themselves and their mission. I would say that all of these panels are highlights but certainly for example our National Politics Panel. The moderator is Chuck Wolfe, President and CEO, Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, with panelists Clarke Cooper, Executive Director, Log Cabin Republicans, Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director, Equality Federation, Patrick Guerriero, who was really the founder of The Gill Action Fund, Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of Equality Federation and Andy Tobias, the Treasurer of the DNC and the highest ranking openly gay person at the DNC. So it gives you a sense of why I say the best and the brightest that we bring to these panels.”

Equality Forum presents annually the largest and premier national and international LGBT civil rights summit with over 30 programs, parties and special events. There isn’t a registration fee and all panels are free. The International Equality Dinner at the National Museum of American Jewish History will be held on Saturday, May 5th. This year honorees are Annise Parker, Mayor of Houston, with the 17th annual International Role Model Award and NBC Universal with the 10th annual International Business Leadership Award. Michael Oren, Ambassador of Israel to the United States, is the Keynote Speaker and Craig Robinson, Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer will accept the award for NBC Universal. MSNBC Anchor Thomas Roberts is Master of Ceremonies.
For More Info & Dinner Tix: equalityforum.com

Monday, April 9, 2012

Amit Dixit on Boston LGBT Film Fest 2012

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Amit Dixit, Communications Director of the Boston LGBT Film Festival which is celebrating its 28th year and runs from May 3rd to the 13th. There are over 100 features and shorts participating in this year’s film festival. Opening night on May 3rd will take place at the Institute of Contemporary Art with the screening of the Italian film LOOSE CANNONS (Mine Vaganti) directed by Ferzan Ozpetek with English subtitles. This smart comedy is about the conservative Catholic Cantone family who own and operate a pasta factory in southern Italy. Tommaso is the youngest son who lives in Rome where he studies literature and lives with his boyfriend. Tommaso decides to tell his parents the truth about himself but when he is finally ready to come out in front of the entire family his older brother Antonio ruins his plans. Opening night is co-presented by the Consolato Generale d'Italia Boston with opening remarks by the Italian Consul General Giuseppe Pastorelli.

When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights, Dixit stated, “Growing up here in Boston and being part of the local Boston community, I currently sit on the Board of The History Project which is now in its 31st year, where we document the history of the LGBT community. The History Project has been a long-term supporter of the film festival. In fact we send most of our films to The History Project for preservation after they’re screened at the festival. I love their tag line, “You Make History & We’ll Preserve it.” And that sort of sums it up. We’ve made incredible strides in Massachusetts for marriage equality to recently having The Trans Bill passed which was an amazing moment to be there at the State House having Governor Deval Patrick sign the bill into law. And that also translates into what we do at the festival where we have a trans panel about the perception of the transgender community. I also sit on the Board of the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD). In fact we have been with Mary Bonauto at the federal appeals court fighting DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). So all of this is extremely exciting and it’s amazing to be in such a vibrant community where history is taking place yet again.”

On Tuesday April 17th to kick off the Boston LGBT Film Festival, there will be the 4th annual Splash Party held at Post 390, 406 Stuart Street, Boston MA from 6P to 8P. At this event the 2012 film schedule will be revealed and also a sneak preview of the new festival trailer. Come meet Robear from TLC’s NY INK on the Red Carpet, enjoy complimentary appetizers and a cash bar while networking with over 30 community arts and professional organizations collaborating at this year's festival. The event is free but you must RSVP…
To attend opening night at the ICA on May 3rd there are a limited number of tickets available so act fast to avail upon this unique opportunity to join the film-set and mingle with the paparazzi. This reception includes an open bar and hors d'oeuvres by Wolfgang Puck catering.
For More Info: Bostonlgbtfilmfest.org

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Jeffrey Sanker White Party Palm Springs '12

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Jeffrey Sanker, the premier producer of gay extravaganzas, about his event the White Party 3D Experience that takes place April 6th through the 9th in Palm Springs, California. This year’s headliner is Gammy Winning Superstar Mary J. Blige. White Party Palm Springs is the largest gay dance music festival in North America. This year White Party Palm Springs expands into a whole new dimension as music-lovers, party-goers, DJs and performers from every corner of the globe converge for the ultimate Spring escape set against sun-drenched mountain vistas and spectacular desert skies. Building on his reputation for the best cutting-edge and breakthrough talent that has included performances from Lady Gaga, Ke$ha and Jennifer Lopez, White Party founder and producer Sanker has set his sights on raising the bar even higher. “White Party 2012 is going to be a 3D experience,” said Sanker. “Bigger and bolder LED and visual displays and immense stage and platform structures designed to stretch the limits of your imagination, the only lenses needed are your shades.”

When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights, Sanker stated, “As a gay man I believe in civil rights for everybody. It’s kind of a hot topic right now and I personally support HRC (the Human Rights Campaign) in every way I can. You know financially, physically, I attend their dinners and all their functions. I go to all the Prop 8 rallies and gather signatures and sign petitions myself.” Jeffrey lives in California so when asked what his reaction was to the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit finding Prop 8 unconstitutional, he added, “Well I’m so happy they found it unconstitutional because it is. I think the struggle for equal rights for all of us in our community has gone on for so long, for over fifty years. I was excited to finally see this opinion to be stated so eloquently. I was really very pleased.”

Jeffrey Sanker is the founder of LA-based White Party Entertainment, Inc. Sanker's passion for parties began during the early eighties in New York City. Working at such legendary locations as Studio 54, Palladium and Private Eyes, he fine-tuned his skills as a promoter and special event producer. He has also hosted parties for numerous celebrities over the years. After moving to Los Angeles in 1987 his innovative technique of using landmark venues for trend-setting themed events was credited for breathing new life into the LA scene. Since then he has worked with all of the hottest and trendiest venues and nightclubs in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Miami.
For More Events, Tix & Hotels: jeffreysanker.com