Two documentaries as Spectrum 9 continues next week

SASOD’s 9th Painting the Spectrum Film Festival continues tomorrow June 9 with two documentaries: You Are Not Alone, produced by NYABJ Award winner, Guyanese, Antoine B Craigwell and My Wardrobe, My Right, produced by Neil Marks.

According to a release from SASOD, You Are Not Alone is a little more than a run-of-the-mill film. While containing the basic elements of its genre – interviews with subjects telling their stories and mental health professionals placing these experiences and anecdotes in perspective, and at the same time presenting relevant statistics to support their respective positions; it nudges the envelope of understanding and acceptance a little further along.

20130608aloneUsing his creativity, skill and expertise, Stanley Bennett Clay listened to the interviews, wrote a script and directed re-enactments of those interviews.

He moved the film from being a staid production of “talking heads” into, as he says, “some Hollywood thrown in”, the release said.

While the film maintains the hard hitting edge of a documentary, it gently blurs the line between what is and what could be, moving into the realm of a docu-drama, and illuminating through examples, many of the
underlying issues Black gay men are dealing with, but never talked about.

The film breaks a taboo in the Black community; it exposes the raw truths behind the silent pain many Black gay men experience and live with, SASOD said. Its resounding message is that a Black gay man who feels as though he has no place in the world, has value and purpose; all he needs to do is reject the denials of who he is, accept himself and he could realise and achieve his potential in life.

You Are Not Alone was to have opened the festival on June 2, but there was a change.

Meanwhile, My Wardrobe, My Right explores the issues related to the criminalisation of cross-dressing in Guyana. The release says it captures the stories of Peaches and Gulliver, two transgender Guyanese who were arrested in the February 2009 crackdowns for cross-dressing. The documentary features the views of Attorney Gino Persaud, who is representing the litigants in the constitutional suit against Guyana’s laws which penalise cross-dressing.

20130608sasodOn Monday, June 10, the film is Eyes Wide Open, a Haim Tabakman set in Jerusalem. The film tells the story of Aaron (Zohar Strauss) an orthodox Jew in his mid-thirties who helps run a kosher butcher shop opened by his father. Aaron is married to Rivka (Ravit “Tinkerbell” Rozen) and they have four sons, but he often feels something is missing from his life. One day, a 19-year-old yeshiva student, Ezri (Ran Danker), stops by the shop; when Aaron learns Ezri is homeless, he offers to make the youngster his apprentice and gives him a room. Aaron and Ezri strike up a fast friendship, but in time their feelings become deeper, and during a communal bath they act on the desires that have been growing between them. Aaron finds himself torn between his  loyalty to his family and his growing love for Ezri, and his dilemma becomes even more pointed when Rabbi Vaisben (Tzahi Grad) asks him to join him in his “Purity Police” group, who pay threatening visits to people in the community who are falling short in the eyes of the congregation. The film was an official selection at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, where it was screened as part of the “Un Certain Regard” programme. It plays in Hebrew with English subtitles.

Tuesday’s film is Facing Mirrors, which won the prize at the 2nd edition of Iranian Film Festival in Australia held in five cities: Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney in October, 2012. One of the Australian festival directors, Anne Démy-Geroe, dedicated the award during a ceremony recently held in Tehran.

The movie won the Best Feature-length movie Award at the 2012 San      Francisco International LGBT Film Festival as well as the Best Narrative Feature Award at the 2012 International Three Dollar Bill Cinema in Seattle

The film festival continues on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays only until June 25. As usual the venue is the Sidewalk Café, Middle Street and admittance is free and for adults – 18 years and over.

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