Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

We Love Short Shorts: This Summer, Lesbian Filmmakers Are Kicking out Their Ya-Yas in Sexy Short Films Where the Action Is Hot and the Stories Hit Home

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

We Love Short Shorts: This Summer, Lesbian Filmmakers Are Kicking out Their Ya-Yas in Sexy Short Films Where the Action Is Hot and the Stories Hit Home

Article excerpt

They're sweet, sexy, poignant, or funny as hell. Sometimes they're downright hot. And they won't take more than 20 minutes of your time--although the good ones resonate much longer. They're short films made by and about lesbians. Your best chance to see them is at GLBT film festivals, although you might catch one on the Sundance Channel or a queer TV network. Three of the best shorts making the rounds this summer--all from first-time filmmakers--illustrate just how much these "quickies" reveal about the lesbian experience of sex and love.

Take Everything Good, written by Boston-based Caren Block and produced by Block and Paula Dowd. In 17 minutes, with only the hint of a backstory, we come to understand the deepest needs and fears of Lila (Lea Tolub)--an ordinary, repressed midlife American woman who orders up a female prostitute (Judith Partelow) while visiting Amsterdam.

The sex scene in Good isn't so much hot as real--full of awkwardness, discomfort, and release. And the film, directed by Elizabeth McCarthy, has drawn visceral reactions from viewers. "They want to tell us their individual stories," says Block, who has a day job in the corporate world (as does her producing partner). "People are extracting from our film something that's important to them. And not just lesbians--straight people too."

There's also discomfiture in the sex scenes of Getting to Know You, a 20-minute romance from Los Angeles writer-director Liz Lachman. But here it's played for laughs. Lachman's sweetly mixed-up heroine, cartoonist Tenny Bell (Elizabeth Keener, Catherine's cute little sis), endures a series of sex dates from hell before she finally meets her dream girl, played by Michelle C. Bonilla [see interview on page 92]. "It's loosely based on my wild days," says Lachman, a former musician-composer, with a sly laugh.

Her cast also features Dana Delany, Anne Ramsay, and Megan Cavanagh (the memorably oafish Marla Hooch from A League of Their Own). "The actors road the script and really liked it," explains Lachman. "It wasn't a feature they had to do for free. There wasn't a lot of time commitment." She also coined a Tom Sawyer--esque spiel to lure her crew: "I told them they were going to get the best food they ever had on a set"--propared by celebrity chef Susan Feniger, Lachman's partner of 10 years--"and they would get to watch really pretty women make out. …

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