Brett Abrams

Affirming Movies

Filed By Brett Abrams | June 06, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Media
Tags: film festival, Gay Lesbian and Bisexual, homophobic behavior, LGBT, LGBT youth, Miami, movies, New York, Pride parade, Reel Affirmations, San Francisco, Social Sciences, Society and Culture, United States, Washington

Happy Pride month! Cities are preparing for tons of events from now through the end of June, capped by the big parade. New York has started its eight day, three venue, film festival, Newfest. Check out the schedule.

newfest_logo.jpg

The largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender festival, San Francisco's Frameline, begins later in the month. Its schedule can be found here.

Washington's One-In-Ten runs a few days of movies prior to the big weekend. Sometimes the group provides a sampling of what would come during the Reel Affirmations festival in October. Other times they reach back for a Hairspray or another fun movie from the past.

I recently watched the movie Jade Teardrop and it caused me to wonder what content from a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movie was appropriate for showing at a festival. The plot summary makes the movie seem challenging. "A young boy refuses to speak to anyone and only has his caterpillar for a companion. His adoptive gay father desperately tries to fix their broken relationship, but the boy is unwilling to forgive him and seeks to be part of a 'normal' family."

The trailer appears below.

At the first scene in which the adoptive father pours whiskey from the bottle after a rough moment with the boy, my partner and I began to worry. When we are introduced to the homophobic uncle and his friends, the combination of the performances and the language is an unhappy mixture. Yet the movie is untypical for any movie, let alone a feature GLBTQ film, in characterization, ethnic depictions, and showing the difficulties of relationships.

I kept watching. Without giving away any of the details, the end is unhappy for the two gay characters. Our committee is asked to rate on a 1 to 5 scale if the movie should be included in the upcoming Reel Affirmations film festival.

I checked and saw that Newfest included 26 features, but not Jade Teardrop. Frameline had approximately 50 narrative feature films and Miami featured 25 and neither festival included this movie.

Should unhappy content and non-affirming actions disqualify a movie from inclusion in a GLBTQ film festival?


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I don't think that unhappy content and non-affirming actions should disqualify a film.

Escapism is fine some of the time, but life inevitably has unhappiness and harassment. We don't need to be protected from it, and such things can make for good drama.

Dale:

Thanks for the comment.

I agree wholeheartedly. Yossi and Jagger is a sad love story with a death of one of the lovers yet I was so much richer for seeing it.

However, Jade Teardrop lacks that compelling love story and other redeeming qualities while it ends up having its two lead gay characters committing suicide.

Does that cause you to think it is not worthy of inclusion?

I wish we lived in a bigger city where stuff like this is organized. We did get a rollerskating party and a picnic this year - other than the main parade and festival.

Bil:

I hear you.

One of the great things about movies and the rise of gay themed television stations is the increased distribution of glbtq materials throughout the country and world.

Brett, thank you for valuing my opinion, although I am not sure it is worth much since I haven't seen the film. I suppose I would want to weigh impact of this film on the audience in terms of the other selections in the film festival. Too much negativity could turn folks away. I would want this film to be adequately balanced by the other features.