I recently attended four films during this year’s 23rd annual Vancouver Queer Film Fest that took place August 11-21. Here’s a brief recap of the films.
Starring local actor, Charlie David who played the lead role of Zachary Wells, a failed filmmaker who returns to his alma mater to judge the annual student short film contest. During his first night on campus, an anonymous hook up with a student triggers an emotional, and rather metaphysical, journey into the past. Charlie David is aptly teamed up with 20-year-old Vancouverite Richard Harmon and gay porn star-turned-actor Brent Corrigan (aka Fox Ryder).
The film offers up some parallels between Danny Reyes and Zachary Wells with an almost plot twist we soon discover that Zachery Wells was formerly named Danny Reyes and the student that is presenting his film at this film festival is named Danny Reyes. How could this be? It appeared as a lesson of learning or a chance to go back in time to fix ones mistakes in life.
I enjoyed the film, and Judas Kiss is certainly entertaining and well made, performances by both actors Richard Harmon and Charlie David kept me enchanted throughout the film.
This is one of those films where you wonder if the main actor in this case the young hustler is ever going to get out of the box so to speak or in this case the building. The adventure begins as a handsome rent-boy is on a date that starts in an apartment building that has a maze of hallways, doorways and stairwells. After his first sexual encounter, his attempt to leave the building gives way to him getting lost and ending up in another encounter with a nearby neighbour. These encounters continue throughout this dark stormy night as this hustler makes his way from one room to another meeting the most interesting characters along the way.
The story is about sex, money, and experiences, each of the men seeks some of his time and eventually one of them captures his heart.
Going down in La La Land
I haven’t seen any of Director Casper Andreas films in the past and had no idea that this film would be so entertaining as it was.
Based on the novel by Andy Zeffer, Going Down in LA-LA Land is a no-holds-barred look at Hollywood. Adam, a baby-faced New Yorker, moves to Los Angeles to—you guessed it—try to break into acting. He and his theatre school chum Candy move in together, but their non-existent careers don’t pay the rent. Candy seeks older, wealthier bachelors, while Adam slips into gay porn and escorting. New to and naïve about the gritty world of sex work, Adam is lucky enough to find a steady trick who also happens to be a famous television dad on a family sitcom. It isn’t long before their affair is swept up in whirlwind of Hollywood gossip that puts Adam in a spotlight he never bargained for.
This film had an easy to follow script that told a story that is realistic in Gay life, asking the question, Is there anything more tempting and troublesome than “ex sex”? Israeli-American writer/director Eldar Rapaport unflinchingly probes this question in his new romantic drama. Jonathan and Raul are on the brink of moving in together when Jonathan’s ex-boyfriend, Troy, returns to LA. Their well-meaning attempt to all become friends quickly turns into a triangle of desire, jealousy and old memories. While this might sound like the making of a melodrama, Rapaport’s thoughtful direction reveals the precarious quandary of discerning lust from love.
August also offers lots of eye candy. For cinephiles who appreciate beautifully framed shots, Rapaport puts his European filmmaking sensibility to good use. And for those who appreciate beautiful men, the three lead characters—Troy, Jonathan and Raul—will not disappoint. To top off this visual delight, the film is set in LA’s Venice Beach during a heat wave!