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Out Takes in Auckland:

Fri 1 Jun 2007 In: Movies View at Wayback View at NDHA

I look forward to the Out Takes Film Festival every year, and for the last couple of Fests I've been helping out as an ‘usher'. It's an easy job – you just rip tickets, show people where the cinema screen is, and sometimes make announcements over the mic when there's a sponsored film. In return, you get to see some films for free, and to play our favourite game: ‘Guess The Gay'. That's where you see people approaching the cinema screens and guess whether they're going to Out Takes, or another general release movie showing at the same time in an adjacent theatre! We are normally around 95% accurate at this game, even though there are so many ‘non-scene' people who join us at the festival – those that never usually go to any gay-themed events. We've seen lots of good-looking couples, actually… and it's given our single volunteers some hope that there are a few nice ‘settle down' types out there. Anyway, you want to know what's worth going to at the festival, right? Well, at first, I couldn't believe why ‘Another Gay Movie' – the one everyone's talking about – wasn't the Opening Night film. But now I understand – people are going to book for that one anyway (it's hilarious!) so give ‘em something special they may never have heard of to start the festival. '20 Centimetres' was selected, and it has something for everyone. Laughs, an involving story, a terrific lead actor and role, a hot love interest, and even some high-camp musical numbers! This is highly recommended. SPECIAL EVENTS! We had a good turnout for the Auckland Opening Night, and many people ended up at Family bar afterwards for a complimentary drink. But one event that wasn't quite so popular was the dress-up Calamity Jane screening. The ‘retrospective' films never seem to do very well in Auckland, but I'm told Wellingtonians always lap them up, so expect a bigger turn-out for the screening in the capital. It really is a lovely fun film. We had around 50 people at our screening – mostly women but some guys too. A few folks had dressed up as ‘Wild Westers' and got a bottle of Coopers Creek wine for their efforts (see our pictures at right). There was a packed house on Monday evening for Swedish movie ‘Keillers Park', which was a real crowd-pleaser. “Such a powerful film,” I overheard an audience member say as the credits rolled. I've also heard lots of good things about the many lesbian offerings this year and how funny and upbeat they are. A refreshing change from last year's Sapphic selections which prompted a few women to cry “depressing!” I won't lie to you all – I hated ‘Surveillance'. It was another great turnout for it, and the director was at the screening to answer audience questions afterwards, which was nice. But to me, the low-budget, filmed-in-a-fortnight film needed a good re-think and re-edit. Our reviewer Larry Jenkins couldn't work out the ending and neither could I. But I've since heard there were quite a few people who did honestly like it. However, my favourite comment about Surveillance came on email the morning after the screening: “I want those 90 minutes of my life back. The WORST bit had to be the photoshopped hand holding the mobile phone, in the scene where his friend Ben was filming him. It was so fake!” So now you have to go along and see if you agree with our comments… CAN I BORROW A TISSUE? I didn't see ‘The King and the Crown', but I heard there wasn't a dry eye in the audience. A friend and I cried three times during ‘Saving Marriage' – the doco about the fight to retain gay marriage in Massachusetts. I know, it doesn't sound particularly exciting, and there was a small audience in Auckland for it, but it's very worthwhile and will hopefully suit political types in Wellington a little better! If you like cheesy American comedy there are two massive hits this year – ‘Another Gay Movie' and ‘Eating Out II: Sloppy Seconds' (the first-ever gay movie sequel!). Both have gorgeous all-American twinks and muscle-men in them. ‘A Four Letter Word' is similar too, and in my opinion is more genuinely funny than the others. As for the collections of short films – have you read our daily news story about what happened at our ‘International Male' screening? Nightmare. It could really be summed up like this: “The movies fucked up so they played porn instead. Sweet as!” I kid you not. Of all the short films, I enjoyed the macabre ‘Saddest Boy In The World' the most, and ‘Two Nights' in the ‘Boy's Tales' selection. Those going to see ‘Damon and Hunter: Doing it Together' should be aware the ending to it is a 15-minute graphic sex scene. Yes, both the actors are hot. No, this is not really a suitable film to take your straight mates to. There's so much more a could type, but find out for yourself – there's still a few nights' worth of films on offer in Auckland, and then they wing their way to the capital where the festival opened last night with a performance by The Glamazons at the Paramount Theatre. Next Thursday is the Opening Night in Christchurch with your hostess Miss Mole at the Regent on Worchester. Enjoy the Festival and please do share your thoughts with us on our messageboard. Matt Akersten - 1st June 2007    

Credit: Matt Akersten

First published: Friday, 1st June 2007 - 3:25pm

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