A new trend appears to be taking hold: the coming-of-age film in all its glorious diversity
Occasionally a film could break through as an uproarious comedy, like The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, or a story about aging like Gods and Monsters. Still, it took a while for queer films to evolve beyond an obsessive focus on gay men dying or coming out.
With San Francisco’s Frameline drawing to a close and the LA-based queer film festival Outfest kicking off now, a new trend appears to be taking hold: the coming-of-age film in all its glorious diversity. These stories deal with long-tread subjects like coming out, fighting for equality and finding love, but with a new twist—coming out now feels more like part of growing up rather than an earth-shattering revelation.
That doesn’t make the process easy, however, nor does it make for a lack of drama. Just as the LGBT community continues to progress and evolve as an essential aspect of American culture, so do our stories.
Screenings for Jeanne Cordova: Butches, Lies & Feminism
Directed by Gregorio Davila
Produced by Mario J. Novoa, Film Bliss Studios
Running time: 38 minutes
City of West Hollywood “One City One Pride”
Jeanne Cordova: Butches, Lies & Feminism plays in Latinx Ladies Outfest 2017
Tickets for 2017 Outfest Film Festival : Jeanne Cordova: Butches, Lies & Feminism
plays in Latinx Ladies
July 12, 2017 715pm at the Director Guild of America – Theater DGA 2
Rediscovering Jeanne Cordova: World Premiere at One City One Pride Screening by Joe Castel from Adelante Magazine
Shakespeare once famously chided, “Get thee to a nunnery!” But in the mid-1960s, Jean Cordova did just the opposite, fleeing the nunnery to find her inner self. But unlike Maria Von Trapp, she wasn’t running away from a bunch of club wielding Nazis. Instead, this brazen Chicana LGBT activist did the chasing and stood up to her homophobic oppressors empowered with nothing more than self-awareness. The former nun claims she was able to find her higher self by “kicking the habit” and embracing a sexual revolution that kept reinventing itself, as well as redefining her own sexual identity.
Director Gregorio Davila captures a poignant portrait of the native Los Angeleno in the documentary, Jeanne Cordova: Butches, Lies, and Feminism. This year’s West Hollywood’s One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival will screen the documentary at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers on June 29 at 7:30 p.m., followed by a discussion with the director and Cordova’s partner, Lynn Harris Ballen.
From sleeping with Mother Superior’s best friend at the convent to heading up a national lesbian magazine, Cordova chronicles her life in unabashed archival footage from the 1980s up to 2016. Through the continuous reexamination of politics and sexuality, she carved out a unique pathway to her destiny in the LGBT movement.
After leaving the nunnery, Cordova becomes disillusioned with the carefree lesbian lifestyle of softball, beer, bars and balling. She asks herself, “Is this all there is to gay life?” The UCLA student challenges her intellectual side and joins the first lesbian organization, the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB), only to realize that the women in the homophile movement are more like the Daughters of the American Revolution in their conservative thinking. Still, she runs for the organization’s Presidency and wins. However, after taking DOB members to an anti-war rally with a group of her Marxist leaning lesbian friends, Codorva is pegged as a radical, and finally voted out of DOB, much to her delight, but not before she revolutionizes their newsletter, The Ladder.
Cordova believes the outdated periodical needs a feminist facelift and takes the newly named Lesbian Tide to international status, becoming the go-to-guide for intellectual feminism.
When Cordova ditches DOB, she joins up with lesbian feminists at the Los Angeles Women’s Center. It’s there she discovers that it’s disempowering to be butch or fem and that identifying with the masculine is the worst because it’s aligning with the patriarchal oppressor. “That was a big sin,” she confesses. So in the closet with her habit, went the boots, ties and anything else that would identify her as a man.
It seems that for most of her life, Cordova is constantly reexamining herself and her position in the movement. She even justifies the break lesbians had with gay men in the early 70s, claiming they needed alone time to figure things out. She confides that feminism unfortunately tended to lump straight and gay men together, where as earlier in the movement, “we saw gay men as our brothers.”
However it would take Anita Bryant, a national commercial Florida Orange Juice peddler and former beauty queen to bring the two sexes together again in order to fight California’s Proposition 6, more commonly known as the Briggs Initiative. The initiative, a national homophobe campaign started by Bryant (of all people), would have banned gays and lesbians, and possibly anyone who supported gay rights from working in California public schools.
Cordova jokes that Bryant ruined the summer of 1978 as lesbians and gays dropped their differences and diligently worked together with Harvey Milk to beat the statewide discriminatory legislation. Cordova complains that there wasn’t any time for the beaches or softball that year as they poured all their energies into lobbying various organizations, politicians and celebrities to join their cause. In the end, their sacrificed summer paid off as they defeated Proposition 6 at the polls and scored a big fat WIN!
What’s satisfying about Davila’s documentary is that it reclaims a bit of our history. It demonstrates that Harvey Milk wasn’t the only one out their fighting the system in the 1970s. A Latina stepped up to the plate and took a swing at sexism and homophobia in the early years of the LGBT rights movement. Most importantly, we have a role model to learn from and be inspired from, because, shamefully, the Anita Bryant’s of the nation are on the rise again and unfortunately, Cordova is unable to shake up the system, as the feminist rabble rouser passed away last year at the age of 67.
However, at the end of Davila’s film, Cordova looks directly into the camera and passes the torch. “I want you to know, that I told you this story, so you too can start a movement. Come up with a creative idea that grips people and you too can start a movement. And tonight’s creative idea will be to march down Santa Monica Blvd. So march with me.”
The City of West Hollywood, through its One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival, celebrates pride in 2017 with the festival theme “Go West”. One City One Pride comprises mostly free interactive, performing and visual arts events between May 22 (Harvey Milk Day) through the end of June Pride month. For more information on Jeanne Cordova’s documentary or One City One Pride, visit: http://weho.org/pride
Don’t miss the 4th annual arts festival dedicated to showcasing the stories of LGBTQ, two-spirited, Latinx, Chicanx, and indigenous identities through film and visual art in a space that builds on their rich and diverse cultural history.
Familia Y Mas Shorts
Saturday, April 22 | 2 p.m. | 68 minutes
Director: Armando Ibanez, 14 min
South Bronx Dad
Director: Kase Pena, 3 min
Director: Florencia Manovil, 16 min
In the Paint
Director: Ashton Pina, 8 min
Director: Natalie Camunas, 3 min
Director: Nancy Mejia, 8 min
Director: Kimberly Bautista, 16 min
Grown Y Crudo/As Shorts
Sunday, April 23 | 3 p.m. | 62 minutes
Director: Sherry Yiyang Shi, 12 min
Director: Leann Bowen, 11 min
Director: Steven Liang, 14 min
The Homo Cholo
Produced: Emering Us, 4 min
Get the Life
Director: Ozzy Villazon, 8 min
Co-Directors: Dominic Colon & Sebastian Rice, 10 min
for more info visit:
Oscars: With Historic ‘Moonlight’ Win, the Academy Embraces Empathy Over Escapism – http://variety.com/2017/film/in-contention/moonlight-best-picture-oscars-la-la-land-analysis-1201997362/
Lionsgate Roaring About Eight Oscar Night, But Not Best Pic Screwup – http://deadline.com/2017/02/lionsgate-eight-oscar-night-no-comment-best-pic-snafu-1202009032/
All the Emotions of That Best Picture Mixup in 4 Pictures – http://time.com/4683573/oscars-2017-best-picture-mixup-emotions-pictures/
The actress died Tuesday morning following a heart attack last week.
Carrie Fisher, best known as Princess Leia from the Star Wars film saga, died Tuesday morningafter suffering a heart attack while on a flight from London to Los Angeles the week before. She was 60.
Family spokesperson Simon Halls confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter.
“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” said Halls in the statement on behalf of Fisher’s daughter Lourd on Tuesday. “She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly.”
George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars saga, released a statement, saying, “Carrie and I have been friends most of our adult lives. She was extremely smart; a talented actress, writer and comedienne with a very colorful personality that everyone loved. In Star Wars she was our great and powerful princess – feisty, wise and full of hope in a role that was more difficult than most people might think. My heart and prayers are with Billie, Debbie and all Carrie’s family, friends and fans. She will be missed by all.”
Fisher’s mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, posted a statement on Facebook. “Thank you to everyone who has embraced the gifts and talents of my beloved and amazing daughter. I am grateful for your thoughts and prayers that are now guiding her to her next stop. Love Carries Mother,” she wrote.
Fisher went into cardiac arrest as her 11-hour flight was approaching Los Angeles International Airport shortly after noon on Friday. According to several passengers onboard, the actress received medical attention from airline staff and passengers who attempted to revive her. Paramedics were standing by for the plane’s arrival and the actress was rushed to UCLA Medical Center. After being treated in an intensive care unit over the weekend, Reynolds had tweeted she was stable on Christmas Day.
Netflix plans to release 60 original programs in 2017, and along the way, it expects to spend $6 million. How does the streaming video platform keep its acquisition budget lean and efficient, even as it massively increases the amount of content it distributes? With AI, apparently.
A recent report from Business Insider details ultimately-doomed negotiations between documentary filmmaker Craig Atkinson and Netflix. Among other points, Atkinson shares a conversation between his lawyer Jody Simon and a Netflix lawyer, the latter of whom told Simon Netflix had used an algorithm to determine how much it should pay for Atkinson’s film.
Atkinson entered into conversations with Netflix shortly before his documentary Do Not Resist premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. As he tells it, the streaming platform’s lawyer acted as if the figure generated by Netflix’s algorithm was immutable. “During the course of the conversation our lawyer had with the Netflix lawyer, he got a lecture, as he described it, from the Netflix lawyer about the fee because he was pushing back about how it seemed incredibly low for an all-rights deal,” Atkinson told Business Insider. “The Netflix lawyer lectured him on how it was their algorithm that determined the price of the film and that there’s really no discussion to be had because this algorithm determined how much the film should be worth and that basically was the end of discussion.”
One conversation shouldn’t be seen as a complete indication of how Netflix does business, and the streaming platform declined to comment on Business Insider’s story. Still, it would make sense for Netflix to fine-tune its offers to creative people. As Motley Fool notes, Netflix doesn’t have as big a war chest as competitors like Facebook and Amazon, so it must be much more precise with its deals.
Machine-set or not, Netflix’s deals do seem to be getting more efficient. While the platform wants to double the number of original programs it produces, it only plans to increase its budget by about 20% to accomplish that feat, according to a recent address by Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. While there are many other factors that could have made the company’s content-to-spend ratio more efficient, such as an increasing preference for unscripted programming, we’re willing to believe the aforementioned algorithm played some role.