I always look forward to The Coast is Queer, the VQFF’s showcase of local filmmakers. I was particularly impressed this year, though. I expected quality, but some of the offerings floored me.
A funny and random little piece, with two girls in woodcutter plaid singing a pseudo-folk song while three husky bears dance with chainsaws.
Playing It Safe
This odd little short features a woman with a cardboard box around her head, meeting and falling for a woman who persuades her to take the box off. What’s interesting is that she was doodling on the SkyTrain, expressing herself artistically while still remaining anonymous. A metaphor for the internet, maybe? Cute and sweet, anyway.
Bill is a Photographer
I’ll be honest, this is not what I expected from Clark Nikolai. It’s much more serious and reflective, taking a step back to look at the craft of photography and filmmaking. It features a Vancouver photographer (Bill) who specialises in plant close-ups and studio photography. He talks about studying the lighting techniques used 70’s gay porn mags, and about creating his own porn featuring older bear guys. This film was tied to win The Coast is Queer Award.
In this fast-pace and hilarious piece by David C Jones, an employee in some nameless corporation accidentally locks himself out of the utility room where he was planning a date with his boyfriend. The other problem? He’s wearing assless chaps, and so has to dodge around his weekend-working boss, nabbing her set of keys and putting them back without being seen.
A Little Elbow Room
This is one thing I love about The Coast is Queer: how filmmakers turn their lens on the local community. Here we’re looking at The Elbow Room, run by the flamboyantly bitchy Patrick Savoie for decades. In between shots of Patrick abusing his customers (with love), he and his partner reminisce about the Elbow Room’s history, and their history together.
A creepy short film about a ghost haunting his widowed partner’s piano. I don’t know who’s in more pain here: the partner, still grieving; or the ghost trying vainly to play music.
Kimchi Fried Dumplings
A beautifully made and gripping slice-of-life family drama. There’s conflict, love, family responsibilities, hitting on hot firemen. Loads of characters but they’re all three-dimensional and given screen time to develop. Kudos to Jason Karman! This was my favourite short of the night.
An intriguing story of a young blind gay guy and and older straight guy awkwardly bonding. It turned out to be all in the mind of an artist who had seen them together on the bus and dreamed up the whole scenario.
Driving to You
A very short but shocking film of a homophobic mother and daughter getting in a car accident and the daughter being seriously injured, forcing her to reconcile with her daughter’s partner. Sort of.
How do you decide who pays the bill after a meal? Well, you could discuss it like grownups… or you could have an awesome martial arts fight with ninja and zombie minions! This film won Jessica Han the The Coast is Queer Award (tied with Clark Nikolai), the OUTtv Hot Pink Shorts Award, and the Gerry Brunet Memorial Award. Well done!
Tap Tap Tap
It’s still as fun the second time around!