Saturday, October 18, 2008

SLGFF 2008 #1 - Of faeries and Shakespeare

There's a chill in the air, it's getting dark awfully early, and it seems just about time to head back into the theaters. That must mean that it is time again for Seattle's Festival of the Gays! More formally known as the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, the 2008 fest is celebrating its 13th year. Going with that superstitious number, and the fact that the fest always falls in October, the programmers have gone with a rough "homo horror" theme.

Alas, there was no horror to be found in the Opening Night film, Were the World Mine (6/8). The rather clunky title is unfortunately kind of hard to remember the first time or two you hear it... kind of like Shakespeare [because it IS Shakespeare! - ed.]. So it is really not much of a surprise to see that this gay fantasia (if there ever was one) is framed around Shakespeare's own "Midsummer Night's Dream". High schooler Timothy (Tanner Cohen) is a gay boy that doesn't fit into the testosterone-fueled jock aesthetic that surrounds him at all-boys high school. He crushes on the hero rugby player Jonathan (Nathaniel David Becker), imagining him crooning, open-shirted, to Timothy while lounging atop the teacher's desk. In fact, Timothy's attention slips into an alternate, better musical universe often, so when their artsy-fartsy teacher Ms. Tebbit (Twin Peaks' Wendy Robie) announces that the school play will be "Midsummer," Timothy finds himself one audition later in the lead role of Puck. Puck is perfect for Timothy, as he wishes that he could spray a magical juice on the eyes of others to open their eyes to love... in his eyes, gay love. So when he is practicing his role in his bedroom one night, he concocts a recipe for the juice, right out of Shakespeare, and tries it on his straight friend Max. One squirt from a prop flower, and Max is suddenly besotted with Timothy! Now if Timothy could just see if it works on his straight-boy crush Jonathan...

Were the World Mine is very charming--unsurprising, as it was based on, and created by the same folks that did the short film Faeries five years ago (also a festival favorite). Though the dramatic parts and the editing are sometimes a little clunky in this feature-length version, it still retains its warmth and gentle magic. Most credit goes to the great musical sequences. In fact all the major cast members get to sing, and the first time lead Tanner Cohen opened his mouth to sing, I was literally stunned by his gorgeous voice... it brought a tear to my eye.

Were the World Mine should find a cult audience on the fest circuit, and everyone was delighted to hear that yes, the soundtrack score will be released on CD later this year.

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And... just because it is fun, here is the trailer for this year's festival:


Vickie said...

Happy FOTGing!

Looking forward to hearing about which films rock and which films blow. Sounds like it started well, which could be a good sign.

mitchie said...

I can't wait to see this. I've watched the preview a bunch of times. But - you should know that the title of "Were the World Mine" is actually a phrase from Shakespeare. I don't know who'd call him clunky. And I also just read that this film has won awards for editing. Someone must think the editing is good.

Linda said...

As far as calling Shakespeare clunky, it is no secret that the ye olde English is known to trip up modern folks. That is even acknowledged in the film as the teacher tries to get her students to relax and read the play with a sort of rhythm of the language in order to really understand it. In general when Shakespeare is performed poorly with no rhythm, I'm sure I'm not the only person who has thought, "That may be English, but I have no idea what that person just said." :)

I'll just say that by the end of the film where the boys have their performance, that they've gotten the Shakespeare rhythm right!