The Inaugural OUTstream Film Fest announces additional programming to next week’s virtual film lineup (June 1-7)

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Short films, QUEERING THE QUARANTINE winners and
episodic projects are added to first full-fledged
LGBTQIA+ virtual film festival


Los Angeles, CA (May 30, 2020) —OUTstream Film Fest, which debuts next week (June 1-7), announced its lineup of short films, winners of the film festival’s QUEERING THE QUARANTINE Filmmaker Challenge, episodic projects, and a special conversation with CLASES DE HISTORIA director Marcelino Islas Hernández and actress Verónica Langer that will be part of the first full fledged LGBTQIA+ virtual film festival. Joining the previously announced feature films being offered, these films and special panel will be part of a dynamic and innovative effort to present and celebrate queer cinema from around the world, kick off Pride month, and bring audiences together amid the COVID-19 crisis.

OUTstream Film Fest Co-Founder and Co-Director Ben McCarthy, said, “We are very excited to give each of these filmmakers a dedicated platform to share their work with audiences. There is so much variety among the stories being told, the voices and cinematic vision on display, and yet – as with our OUTstream Film Fest features – there is a commonality, a shared experience, the demonstration of a connection we all have to one another that comes through the collective experience of seeing these films.”

Co-Founder and Co-Director Megan Garbayo, added, “Our sincere hope is that through the virtual reach of this film festival, regardless of whether or not you are sheltering in place in a city or you find yourself in a rural community, these films will be able to remind us all of what connects us.”

Outfest 2

OUTstream Film Fest’s shorts programs curated and packaged under themes entitled, #MissedConnections, Famtastic Flicks, Love in Another Language, OUTside the Lines, and TechnoQueer will be available on-demand June 1-7, 2020. As with the previously announced feature films, a portion of the individual e-ticket sales will go directly to the filmmakers. A live-streamed Q&A with several participating filmmakers will take place for each program on the date/time listed with the program.

OUTstream Film Fest’s QUEERING THE QUARANTINE competition challenged filmmakers around the world to create a short film less than 5 minutes in length that would tell the story of their experience handling the shelter in place directive. They could only use equipment and materials they had available in their homes to create the films and were required to practice social distancing on set. A panel of judges selected the best of the best to be offered as a free-to-the-public program.

Outfest 3Rounding out the latest additions to next week’s lineup is a curated package of episodic works. Along with presenting the projects and sharing in the proceeds, OUTstream Film Fest will be encouraging financial support of the filmmakers so they can take the next steps toward producing series based on the pilots being screened.

To purchase tickets and passes for OUTstream Film Fest, please go to:

OUTstream Film Fest 2020 panel, short films and episodic projects descriptions


Verónica Langer and Marcelino Islas Hernández
Friday, June 5, 2020 | 9:30PM EST
A conversation with CLASES DE HISTORIA director Marcelino Islas Hernández and actress Verónica Langer. Langer is one of the most well known Mexican actresses, whose work in film, telenovelas and on the stage has earned her critical acclaim, as well as an Ariel, the most prestigious Mexican film award. Marcelino Islas Hernández is writer, director, and producer of CLASES DE HISTORIA and is also known for MARTHA (2010) and CHARITY (2016). The conversation will be moderated by Hebe Tabachnik, Senior Programmer for Seattle, Palm Springs, and Cartagena International Film Festivals and Artistic Director for Cine Latino in Minneapolis-Saint Paul.

                                                  SHORTS BEFORE FEATURES
Director. Joseph Amenta
Country: Canada, Running Time: 14 min
Makai is a young homeless queer boy sleeping on the couch of his friend Trevon. As the two prepare for a night of competition at a local Kiki Ball, Makai is forced to reconnect with his disapproving older brother. Yearning for distraction from his tumultuous familial situation, Makai chooses to resist when his new found family is threatened.
(screens before Documentary Showcase presentation of FABULOUS)


TRT: 79 min
Watch Party: Sunday, June 7, 2020 | 2:00PM EST
Livestream Q&A: Sunday, June 7, 2020 | 3:30PM EST

Director. Ari Halevy
Country: USA, Running Time: 17 min
A gym newbie attempts to quell his loneliness by transforming into a muscled #instagay. But after he meets his fitness influencer idol, he discovers he isn’t the only one struggling.

Director. Ori Ravid
Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min
World-renowned adult entertainer Colby Jansen stars in this coming of age short about a young man’s potential path to daddyhood.

Director. Gary Jaffe
Country: USA, Running Time: 11 min
Taylor (Ben Baur) prepares obsessively for the perfect third date with dreamboat Chris (Daniel K. Isaac), but his efforts backfire, sending the relationship spiraling to a whole new level of intimacy.

Director. Emily Friedman
Country: USA, Running Time: 7 min
Madison wakes up in bed with Leyla, the girl she’s been seeing, only to find out that Leyla’s boyfriend, Tim, is passed out in the living room from the previous night’s party. Madison struggles to hide her feelings and avoid outing Leyla while sharing a joint with Tim.

Director: Matthew Allen
Country: USA, Running Time: 17 min
After befriending his new classmate John, Eric is forced to come to terms with both his sexuality and the tragic death of a friend. This is a coming-of-age film that examines what it is like to struggle with sexuality, depression, anxiety, and loss in high school. The characters in this story must also deal with these issues in the age of social media. A world where everyone knows what you’re doing and where nothing is ever really gone.

Director. Tom Sanchez
Country: USA, Running Time: 14 min
Cecilia’s doctor suggests sex would help her get rid of an ovarian cyst so her friend takes her to a dive bar to “fill her prescription.”

Famtastic Flicks
TRT: 91 min
Watch Party: Saturday, June 6, 2020 | 2:00pm EST
Livestream Q&A: Saturday, June 6, 2020 | 3:45pm EST

Director: Stacy Jill Calvert
Country: USA, Running Time: 9 min
The Bra Mitzvah is a comedic short about a young teen who is getting ready for her Bat Mitzvah, but her Nana insists that she needs to get a “real bra” first.

Director. William Jian Zang
Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min
We think of it as a San Francisco comedy classic, but Robin Williams’ tour-de-force romp as a kindly English nanny in 1993’s MRS. DOUBTFIRE also marks a turning point in Hollywood’s depiction of drag. “Dress Up Like Mrs. Doubtfire” features insightful commentary from film critics and drag performers on the film’s surprising cultural impact.

Director. Oriana Oppice
Country: USA, Running Time: 6 min
A young boy discovers his LGBTQ identity when he sets himself free by dancing in his bedroom.

Director. Maria Biber-Ferro
Country: USA, Running Time: 7 min
An urban youth engages an unlikely conspirator to fulfill an unexpected desire.

Director. Poonam Brah
Country: United Kingdom, Running Time: 12 min
Roya is a British Muslim woman whose mother has just died. After the funeral she returns to a home much altered – one without her mother. Roya discovers her relationship with another woman was in fact known about all along.

Directors. Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson
Country: USA, Running Time: 16 min
An intimate glimpse of the first visible group of transgender men in the Pacific Islands – the Rogers of Samoa. From the loneliness of family rejection and homelessness to the camaraderie of church, cooking, and dance, their stories reveal the challenges and possibilities of life in an island society rooted in culture and tradition.

Director. Sarah Ball
Country: USA, Running Time: 14 min
Ryan gives himself a deadline to tell his son that he’s not his biological father, but it’s easier set than done!

Director. Anna Karín Lárusdóttir
Country: Iceland, Running Time: 15 min
Lísa is fifteen years old and lives with her mother in the suburbs in Iceland. She is different from girls her age, but she hasn’t reached puberty. She is isolated and has a big secret about herself.

Love in Another Language
TRT: 72 min
Watch Party: Wednesday, June 3, 2020 | 4:00pm EST
Livestream Q&A: Wednesday, June 3, 2020 | 5:15 pm EST

INFINITE WHILE IT LASTS (Infinito Enquanto Dure)
Director. Akira Kamiki
Country: Brazil, Running Time: 19 min
After falling in love at a party, Danny and Seiji just want to be together. However, their differences might prove stronger than their feelings. The first fiction film about asexuality.

KIKO’S SAINTS (Les Saints de Kiko)
Director. Manuel Marmier
Country: France, Running Time: 25 min
Kiko, a Japanese illustrator in France, gets suddenly overwhelmed by a strange inspiration, while she realizes she’s been spying on a gay couple on the beach. Obsessed by such a vision, she will spy on those men and draw them secretly. This will slowly push her towards an encounter that will change her life and breaks her social rules.

RUBBER DOLPHIN (Dolfin Megumi)
Director. Ori Aharon
Country: Israel, Running Time: 28 min
A gay love story set in a one-bedroom apartment in Tel Aviv. They meet, they have sex, they fall in love. Will it last until the morning comes?

OUTside the Lines
TRT: 85 min
Watch Party: Tuesday, June 2, 2020 | 4:00pm EST
Livestream Q&A: Tuesday, June 2, 2020 | 5:30 pm EST

Director. Patrick Serre
Country: Belgium, Running Time: 9 min
A child who is building his own identity is confronted to the religious fanaticism of his father. This violence reaches its paroxysm the day the father discovers his12 year-old son dressing up as a woman in the parents’ bedroom. This incident has a serious impact on his sexual behavior as an adult.

Directors. Soham Chakraborty, Hanxu Chen, Meton Joffily, Justin Polley, Julia Trouvé
Country: France, Running Time: 5 min
In a far future, Sonia is about to be transferred from her space station to a newer one. While everything appears to be going well for her, her mind is elsewhere, disturbed by a past not far behind.

Directors. Ioan Gavriel, Anja Franziska Plaschg
Country: Austria, Running Time: 5 min
A single day: from the tender break of dawn to the darkest night.  One out of many days to come? Quite possibly the very last.  A long farewell, an ultimate goodbye to a life we have grown to hold dear. Leading to a head-on dive into a new reality, into a new state of being.

Director. Jessica Lynn Guerra
Country: USA, Running Time: 9 min
Cathy wakes up to discover, to her horror, that there are lobsters attached to her nipples! She calls the ‘Maritime Mishaps Hotline’ for aide, but is it too late to escape these arthropod assailants?

Directors. Marvin Bogatsch, Peter Neugebauer
Country: Germany, Running Time: 21 min
Two young female friends, Maja and Charly, use a new method to experience lucid dreaming by combining an exotic pill with musical sounds. Maja is excited and looses herself in the other world, because she finds herself and her hidden desires in it.

Directors. Becca Park, Jun Shimizu
Country: USA, Running Time: 15 min
Embark on a tender journey inside the desert of the mind, as B breaks through cultural conditioning, past loves, and psychological defenses to arrive at True Self.

Director. Maggie M. Bailey
Countries: USA/Chile, Running Time: 13 min
SWEET SWEET KINK takes a sweet, sweet peek into the kinky world of bondage, dominance, and sadomasochism through stories of intimate connection, consensual exploration, and deep self-reflection.

WHEN NIGHT FALLS (Quand la Nuit Tombera)
Director:.Alexandre Lechasseur-Dubé
Country: Canada, Running Time: 8 min
As night falls, creatures with pearl and lace ornaments gather at the center of the forest where is laying an inanimate body.

TRT: 61 min
Watch Party: Sunday, June 7, 2020 | 4:15pm EST
Livestream Q&A: Sunday, June 7, 2020 | 5:30 pm EST

Director. Chris Coats
Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min
When Kevin is asked to model for a professional photographer, he gets more than he bargained for.

Directors: Kaye Adelaide and Mariel Sharp
Country: Canada, Running Time: 14 min
A woman seeks the help of an energy healer to rid herself of a cursed necklace that strangles her every time she doesn’t text back her bad Tinder date.

Director. Jeff Schick
Country: USA, Running Time: 7 min
SWIPE is a comedic short film about the digital dating life of Cheryl, a newly single bachelorette attempting to find love in the Pacific Northwest.

Director. Arthur Halpern
Country: USA, Running Time: 15 min
After an unusual online encounter, a lonely man is challenged to step out from behind his computer screen and shatter long-lived inhibitions to claim the touch of another human being.

Director. Kate Cox
Country: United Kingdom, Running Time: 13 min
Emelia (BAFTA Nominee Nikki Amuka-Bird) and Jeff (Nick Frost) are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary by venturing into the virtual reality world of ‘Vert’ together. Vert presents them with a character that is their ‘ideal self’ and what is supposed to be re-awakening for them as a couple becomes the unearthing of Jeff’s secret.


Queering the Quarantine
TRT: 32 min

Director. Ryan Czerwonko
Country: USA, Running Time: 1 min
Intimate flashbacks to what feels like only yesterday, an artist is adapting to a life confined at home.

Director. Scott Cullen
Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min
Celebrating your birthday in today’s virtual age can feel quite lonely. But you might as well dance and eat a cupcake because you are worth it.

Director. Cat Tassini
Country: USA, Running Time: 5 min
Queer thought soup with a side of cute cat videos. Follow this IG story about what it’s like to be queer in quarantine.

Director. Lee Campbell
Country: United Kingdom, Running Time: 5 min
Smash the fads, rip the mags, and break out those daddy bellies!

Director. Lee Campbell
Country: United Kingdom, Running Time: 3 min
Balls, sports, and men in shorts! A father and son reflect on a game that they remember quite differently.

Directors. Alyza DelPan-Monley, Nick Spencer
Country: USA, Running Time: 5 min
You may never look at an onion the same way again.

Directors. Lauren Tabak
Country: USA, Running Time: 3 min
Art imitates life in the form of wigs, beanies, and bathwater. Take a dive into the patterns of love in this queeraoke sing-a-long.

Director. Daisuke Shimba
Country: Japan, Running Time: 3 min
Cascading collages of camera cuts leave space for you to answer the question: who are you when no one is watching?

Director. Riley Church
Country: USA, Running Time: 3 min
Toss your caps and twirl your gowns. A queer virtual cheers to the graduates of 2020!


Episodic Pilots
TRT: 55 min
Watch Party: Saturday, June 6, 2020 | 4:15pm EST
Livestream Q&A: Saturday, June 6, 2020 | 5:15pm EST

Director. Rachel Anderson
Country: Australia, Running Time: 15 min
A curious and playful look at growing up between two cultures in the Sunshine State, with particular focus on food and family, presented by two Australian-born Asian friends who are awkward, honest, and warm in equal parts.

Director. Lilah Vandenburgh
Country: United Kingdom, Running Time: 10 min
A young girl is scared to make the first move. But her heart has something to say about it. Literally.

Director. Nessa Norich
Country: USA, Running Time: 10 min
The Fae is a queer fantasy series that follows Mark, a successful gay Manhattanite hiding his most passionate gift from the world. One fateful night, Mark learns about magical beings called fae – and that he might be one of them!#Missed

Director. Adrian Rojas Elliot
Country: USA, Running Time: 20 min
An earnest West Hollywood gay guy with a skewed sense of decorum chases meaning and intimacy, routinely humiliating himself and occasionally stumbling into moments of grace.

About OUTstream Film Fest
OUTstream Film Fest strives to present films that expand the culture of queer content and to highlight work that challenges mindsets and opens hearts. The seven-day online film festival features queer films, episodic, and short films from all over the world. The festival was created to give audiences everywhere an opportunity to see queer cinema and participate in interactive online Q&As and discussions about the state of queer, art, film, and media. OUTstream Film Fest is produced by McArts Consulting, LLC.

About McArts Consulting
McArts Consulting represents film festivals and other creative clients across the United States. Led by Ben McCarthy, MFA, McArts Consulting specializes in fundraising and marketing strategies, arts and film programming, box office management, and leadership development. In addition to consulting services, McArts produces cultural events and programs with a focus on building inclusivity among communities.

(Source: Press release provided by Wildworks PR)



FILM REVIEW Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl

Posted by Larry Gleeson

I guess as the music industry attempted to adapt to the internet’s explosion of music file-sharing the business strategy to pump new artists for every conceivable profit was implemented. Numerous stories of artists struggling to deal with the pressures of the business have resulted in a catastrophe. Amy Winehouse explicitly comes to mind as does the documentary, Amy, detailing her struggle, and ultimately she succumbs to it.

Director of Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl, Amy Goldstein. (Picture courtesy of K.O. Public Relations)

After exploding upon the UK music scene at the tender age of 18 with a chart-topping, commercially successful album, Made of Bricks, the uber-talented, English indie-pop, indie-rock, singer-songwriter Kate Nash started down that slippery slope as her life changed drastically virtually overnight as she went from a fashion retailer to the hottest new music sensation. And, Director Amy Goldstein lays it out in detail in the documentary film, Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl.

Utilizing some initial MTV-style editing, some non-diegetic music, and a powerful narrative the film delivers a blow-by-blow account of Nash’s career and semi-private life as she deals with fame, an unethical manager and nefarious industry professionals during a decade of soul-wrenching survival. After being nearly homeless and at her wit’s end, Nash finds herself hosting a QVC show in a comic bookstore and selling her authentic clothes.

Eventually, Nash rises out of the darkness by crowd-funding her third album, tapping into the uplifting power of online culture and re-ignites her own creative, expressive voice. She makes a conscious decision to pursue acting as another form of artistic expression (and as a way of making ends meet) landing a part on the TV series GLOW as Britannica.

Beloved by her fans and with a passion for creating thematically strong lyrics, Nash shows she is more than just a girl in Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl as she never forgets who she is as an artist through all her trials and tribulations. Much like Taylor Swift shares in Miss Americana, Nash imagines an unending challenge for female artists is staying relevant and that means, more often than not, in elevating the performance bar in creating new and exciting artistic expressions.

Admitting she “loves and lives” for making music while also claiming the music industry has almost killed her several times, Nash fortuitously continues working today, writing, singing, and performing her songs with her band. Investing in herself and finding like-minded individuals, Nash is self-promoting her career and that includes her own marketing – seemingly, the impetus behind Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl.

I came away a fan after watching Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl – a wonderful treatment of a personal testimonial with simple and elegant narrative interviews juxtaposed against some fabulous performances. The film is structured around Nash’s songs and lyrics, as they are written and performed, revealing her tumultuous, courageous and inspirational story. In addition, a sampling of Verite-style footage, some backstage material, and some archival moments from her personal and professional rebound adds an indisputable authenticity often missing in commercial filmmaking.

Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl, has a running time of 89 minutes, and will not be rated by the MPAA. Highly recommended film of an artist that’s here to stay. Check it out. You’ll be glad you did!

The documentary was released nationally on Friday, May 22, 2020, via Alamo Drafthouse’s new virtual cinema platform ALAMO ON DEMAND. The exclusive release will then hit a limited traditional theatrical rollout in August. Stay tuned!




Posted by Larry Gleeson

I had seen The Thin Man (1934) at the Fabulous Fox in St. Louis on Classic Film Monday. Organist Stan Khan came up playing classic tunes on the stage lift as it ascended before the film’s screening. Years later I had enrolled in a Film Genres film studies class with the Santa Barbara International Film Festival Director Roger Durling as the instructor. As Professor Durling lectured on It Happened One Night (at this point I hadn’t seen the film), I couldn’t believe this film won the Oscar for Best Picture over my beloved Thin Man. Mind you I hadn’t seen It Happened One Night, yet. Needless to say, I saw It Happened One Night and I understood. The film is the first of only three films to ever win Oscars® in the five major categories – Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Picture and Best Screenplay. The other two members of this exclusive club are ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, both fixtures on AFI’s lists of the greatest American films. 

It Happened One Night appears on four of AFI’s lists of the greatest America films – including #8 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs, which chronicles the funniest films ever to grace the silver screen.

Here’s an exclusive clip from the AFI Archive of Cameron Crowe talking about IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT.

Interesting Facts

Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert performed a radio version of IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT in 1939. The host for the radio broadcast was iconic film director Cecil B. DeMille. 

The working title for IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT was “Night Bus” – and it was to have starred Robert Montgomery, who was Frank Capra’s original choice for the part of Peter Warne. 

Director Frank Capra sought Myrna Loy, Margaret Sullavan, Miriam Hopkins and Constance Bennett for the role of Ellie Andrews before selecting Claudette Colbert.  

In an interview filmed for the 1975 feature BUGS BUNNY SUPERSTAR, Warner Bros. animation director Bob Clampett states that he based Bugs Bunny’s characteristic carrot-munching technique on the scene in IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT in which Gable chomps on a carrot.   

AFI Trustee Steven Spielberg anonymously purchased Clark Gable’s Oscar® statuette for $607,500 to protect it from commercial exploitation. He donated it back to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – saying that there was “no better sanctuary for Gable’s only Oscar® than the Motion Picture Academy.” 


The movie doesn’t end at the credits. Engage with your family, friends and others like you who love the movies. Check out the AFI Movie Club Discussion Questions for this movie and post your responses in the comment section!

-What were some the moments or scenes that made you laugh? 

-IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT is considered the first screwball comedy. What is your favorite screwball comedy? Can you name any modern-day screwball comedies? 

-Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert had long careers in Hollywood. What are some of their other films that rank among your favorites? 

-Opposites attract in IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT. What other films and film couples come to mind when you think of romance between conflicting personalities? 

-IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT came out more that 85 years ago, why is it still beloved today? What other films do you like that are more than 50 years old? 

-How would you rate IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT? 

About AFI Movie Club

I hope the AFI Movie Club brings some inspiration and entertainment during this uncertain time. AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies where each day’s film – announced by a special guest – is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to bring the viewing experience to life. As a non-profit, AFI Movie Club is a member-powered organization, dependent upon the support of its movie fans. To support AFI Movie Club please consider becoming a member or donating.

AFI Movie Club is a newly launched free program to raise the nation’s spirits by bringing artists and audiences together – even while we are apart. AFI shines a spotlight on an iconic movie each day, with special guests announcing the Movie of the Day. Audiences can “gather” at to find out how to watch the featured movie of the day with the use of their preexisting streaming service credentials. The daily film selections will be supported by fun facts, family discussion points and exclusive material from the AFI Archive to enrich the viewing experience.


(Source: AFI News Release)




The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival names Skye McLennan Festival Director

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Wendy Eidson to stay on as Artistic Director

San Luis Obispo, CA (May 28, 2020) – The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival announced today that after a year as Associate Director, Skye McLennan has been named Festival Director. Wendy Eidson continues with the organization as Artistic Director, the job she was originally hired for in 2005.

Wendy Eidson
Wendy Eidson, SLO FilmFest Artistic Director

“I am so thrilled to announce Skye’s promotion and look forward to continue to work with her. She brings a wealth of festival experience, new ideas and a youthful perspective to our organization as we continue to add to the reputation we have earned across the country as an important regional festival,” said Eidson. “We all recognize how important it is to bring in people with enthusiasm and innovation to keep an organization fresh and relevant and she brings all of that and so much more to the table.”

McLennan grew up in Templeton, CA and went on receive her degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University. She also studied TV Documentary in Denmark at the Danish School of Media and Journalism. A dual citizen of Australia and the United States, after college she moved to Sydney, Australia and worked extensively in film production design on short films, features, advertisements, music videos and documentaries.

She first became involved in film festivals in high school. Her first volunteer position was with the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. Over the next ten years she went on to work with major film festivals including the Sydney, Sundance, Tribeca and San Francisco International Film Festivals.  Since moving back to SLO County, she has been involved in the wine industry in both marketing and winemaking. In 2017, she launched her own rosé label, Rebel Skye. In her job as Associate Director this past year, Skye introduced new ticketing software, procedures and website improvements, as well as working with Wendy on programming and overall planning.

Skye McLennan - SLO Film Fest
Skye McLennan, SLO FilmFest Director

McLennan said, “It is an honor and a privilege to continue working alongside Wendy, our board and staff in my hometown of San Luis Obispo. While a difficult time for our industry, I continue to be amazed by the incredible creativity, ingenuity and dedication to sharing film with audiences. With the help of my incredible team, we look forward to coming back bigger and stronger to continue our mission of bringing diverse stories and entertainment to San Luis Obispo County.”

With a long held reputation as a beloved destination film festival, SLO Film Fest earned further kudos as one of the very first film festivals to go online following the effects of the pandemic across the country. MovieMaker Magazine cited the fest, known for its beautiful location, parties mixing filmmakers with film fans, and unique melding of surf culture and wine country, for leading the way for other film festivals to pivot to the virtual space. From the magazine, “San Luis Obispo is known for tranquil Central California weather, wine and beer, and a festival that boosts a personalized Filmmaker Concierge for moviemakers and other special guests. SLO also offers the truly unique Surf Nite in which surfers and ocean-lovers unite for an event that’s like a cross between a ’60s surf movie screening and THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW.”

Since then, SLO Film Fest has continued to share films online, with a Best in the Fest virtual presentation featuring popular films screened at the film festival from the past ten years, with a new film introduced each week. So far, Tom Walters’ 2014 winner (and locally produced) BOTSO, Mark Hayes’ 2018 winner SKID ROW MARATHON and Gabriela Cowperthwaith and Tor Myhren’s 2011 winner CITY LAX: AN URBAN LACROSSE STORY have been added to the lineup. These films are available to watch on a variety of platforms, some free, some for a small fee.

Plans are currently underway for the 2021 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. Organizers will announce new dates and plans in the coming months.


Located half-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, San Luis Obispo’s laid-back vibe and serene natural beauty is the perfect setting for this highly regarded annual film celebration. Filmmakers rave about the warmth and attentiveness that is so much a part of the SLO Film fest experience, as does the swelling tide of industry pros and film critics who are fast discovering the film festival’s thoughtful audiences and unique programming sensibility. At the SLO Film Fest, “Movies Matter!”



Katie Holmes Announces Today’s AFI Movie Club Selection Inspiring Film Starring Julia Roberts

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Katie Holmes Announces Today’s Inspiring Film Starring Julia Roberts

Erin Brockovich was named one of the Top 10 films of 2000 by the American Film Institute. The film’s crusading protagonist ranks #31 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Heroes and Villains list, and the film also appears at #73 on AFI’s list of the most inspiring films.

Interesting Facts

The real Erin Brockovich hoped someone funny like Goldie Hawn would play her in a biopic of her life.

The real Erin Brockovich and Ed Masry appear very briefly in the film in a restaurant scene. She plays a waitress and he is a customer in a booth adjacent to Julia Roberts.

The film earned five Academy Award® nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor. Julia Roberts won the Academy Award® for her performance in the film.

ERIN BROCKOVICH was the last of Steven Soderbergh’s films to be shot by a cinematographer other than himself. Soderbergh now shoots all his films and TV productions under the pseudonym Peter Andrews.

Some residents of Hinkley who were involved in the actual case appeared in the movie in secondary roles and as extras.

Julia Roberts was paid $20 million for the role of Erin Brockovich, becoming the first actress in film history to receive that amount.


Watch an exclusive clip from the AFI Archive in which the real-life Erin Brockovich discusses the film.


The movie doesn’t end at the credits. Engage with your family, friends and others like you who love the movies. Check out the AFI Movie Club Discussion Questions for this movie and post your responses in the comment section!

-What struggles did the character of Erin Brockovich have with balancing her family and career? How is she treated as a single mother by society?

-What is it about the case of Hinkley vs. PG&E that made Erin connect with it so strongly?

-How do preconceived notions about the protagonist’s appearance and attitude affect the way in which she is treated over the course of the film?

-What does the film have to say about corporate responsibility and about the influence of an unconventional outsider like Erin Brockovich to bring them to justice?

-What do you think of the biopic genre, and why is cinema such a powerful medium to tell real-life stories? Which biopic resonates with you the most?

-What are your favorite movies directed by Steven Soderbergh? And your favorite films starring Julia Roberts?

-How would you rate ERIN BROCKOVICH?

About AFI Movie Club

I hope the AFI Movie Club brings some inspiration and entertainment during this uncertain time. AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies where each day’s film – announced by a special guest – is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to bring the viewing experience to life. As a non-profit, AFI Movie Club is a member-powered organization, dependent upon the support of its movie fans. To support AFI Movie Club please consider becoming a member or donating.

AFI Movie Club is a newly launched free program to raise the nation’s spirits by bringing artists and audiences together – even while we are apart. AFI shines a spotlight on an iconic movie each day, with special guests announcing the Movie of the Day. Audiences can “gather” at to find out how to watch the featured movie of the day with the use of their preexisting streaming service credentials. The daily film selections will be supported by fun facts, family discussion points and exclusive material from the AFI Archive to enrich the viewing experience.


(Source: AFI News Release)

A Year of Firsts and Soaring Indomitable Spirit at 2020 Mountainfilm

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Public Trust Takes Home 2020 Audience Choice, Us Kids Wins Best Documentary Feature

It was a year of firsts for Mountainfilm: the first online dance party, the first not-so-social ice cream social, and the first time festival-goers, filmmakers, and staff were asked to forgo a 42-year-old tradition and adapt. The result was proof positive that the indomitable spirit of the Mountainfilm family is alive and well.

It turns out, over 9,500 attendees — the highest number in Mountainfilm history — tuned in to watch over 130 selected films and almost 20 presentations and live events. 20  And certain films rose to the top, capturing the hearts and imaginations of audiences.

Public Trust
Public Trust

Viewers cast their vote for 2020 Audience Choice Award-winner Public Trust, a film that sheds light on something that impacts every American — the threat to our public lands by extractive industries. The Best Documentary Feature Award went to Us Kids, a tale of transformation as highschoolers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas evolve into political activists.

“This film was by far the best of the show,” said a Best Documentary Feature jury member. “It took me on an emotional ride with those incredible kids. It had a strong point of view and ended with a grounded version of what hope looks like.”

The Women in Film Award — a new addition that’s graciously funded by Riccarda de Eccher and Bill Goldston — was given to Welcome Strangers, a Colorado project and Mountainfilm Commitment Grant Winner that highlights the work of Casa de Paz, a temporary home in Denver for families separated by immigrant detention. The Moving Mountains Award, which supports a filmmaker and the film’s associated nonprofit, went to the heavy hitter, Mossville: When Great Trees Fall and the organization, Louisiana Bucket Brigade. The emotionally driven film gave voice to one man’s struggle against an international petrochemical company set on pushing him out of his ancestral home by any means necessary.

The selection of 2020 films was enhanced by presentations from filmmakers like James Cameron, mountaineers like Arlene Blum, and environmentalists like Paul Watson like and 2020 Guest Director Louie Psihoyos.


Susan Beraza
Mountainfilm Festival Director Susan Beraza

“We were honored by everyone who took the time to share their work and their stories. While it was sad we couldn’t be together in person, which is really what Mountainfilm is all about, we were happy that because of this twist in the road, we became more accessible and reached new audiences,” said Beraza.


The year of Mountainfilm firsts is punctuated by the move from a 4-day festival to an extended 11-day run, meaning you have until midnight on Monday, May 25 to unlock programs and watch any 2020 award winners you might’ve missed.

See all eight of the 2020 Festival Award Winners here.

Mountain Film

(Source: Mountainfilm Press release)

Mountainfilm FILM REVIEW: Fire On The Mountain (Chris Benchetler and Tyler J. Hamlet, 2019):USA

Posted by Larry Gleeson

I remember the day I rode with my friends, Wally Weilmuenster and Dan Nester, to go swimming at Bone’s Lake jamming to the Grateful Dead’s “Fire On The Mountain.” The world was ours in that moment and it seemed limitless. So naturally as I perused the Mountainfilm shorts programs, I made a mental note when I saw Fire On The Mountain, directed by Chris Benchetler and Tyler J. Hamlet, inside the Adrenaline shorts program. Being 11:30 PM, an adrenaline focused lineup with 12 offerings might not be an ideal choice for most of us. For me, however, it proved to be an optimal experience.

As I’m a meticulous note-taker, I was scribing when Fire On The Mountain hit my tv screen. I noted the coloration and then the unthinkable happened – a textual title revealed the film was set to the music of the Grateful Dead. I didn’t have the pleasure of seeing the Dead perform live. I’ve been tuning into Dead and Company shows every Saturday on Facebook via for the last ten weeks. And, I did have the good fortune to see Further at the Santa Barbara Bowl several years ago. I remember that night vividly as I sat in my seat looking around as it was my first SB Bowl experience. As I looked around, I noticed a figure that I’d been watching since I began playing organized basketball in the St. Louis Metro-East way back in 1973. It was none other than Bill Walton – the same Bill Walton who connected on 21 out of 22 field-goal attempts as a UCLA Bruin at the old St. Louis Arena during the 1973 NCAA Championship Men’s basketball game.

I know you’re wondering, “What does Bill Walton have to do with Fire On The Mountain?” I can tell you one thing for certain Father Time is not playing any tricks. I was listening to the film’s poetically rhythmic voice-over-narration while thoroughly enmeshed in the film’s visuals when I became aware of thought – “that narrator sounds a lot like Bill Walton.” Then, I became aware of another thought – “it’s just somebody that sounds like Bill Walton – but who in the world sounds like Bill Walton?” Walton not only provided an enlightening narration for Fire On The Mountain, but he also is credited in the film’s collaborative writing.

Fire On The Mountain, inspired by the improvisational jam music of the Grateful Dead, features seven of their songs including “Brown Eyed Woman,” “The Other One,” “New Speedway Boogie,” “Dark Star,” “Playing In The Band,” “Fire On The Mountain,” and “Ripple.” From Teton Gravity Research, a Jackson Hole, Wyoming-based action sports media company “committed to fueling progression through its films and website,” Fire On The Mountain incorporates a psychedelic dynamic with trippy visuals, non-diegetic Grateful Dead music, and an in-progress, spot-on creation of a Dead-like mural all in juxtaposition to and simultaneously in ethereal harmony with bold, expressive and acrobatic action sequences in the water and on the mountain. Furthermore, the cinematography, costuming, and the tone was magically Dead inspired.

As the film closed, I sat uplifted and somewhat mesmerized, with the film’s group of talented actors around a bonfire appreciating their world and the freedom to live and experience their form of truth in unspoken ways. The performers executed the action sequences to a T opening up and expanding the conscious realm of human potentialities. Part dreamscape and part action film, Fire On The Mountain illuminates rad surfing and snowboarding talents and weaves the light of the Dead and “all the feels” into an inescapable whole.

Inspired and ready for bed, I started the last short of the program, Wingsuiter Flies Through Narrow Hole. I watched a flying man free fall through some sort of netting. It repeated itself then cut to black. A one-minute short of a man blasting through time and space and through a metaphorical representation of a Native American dream catcher. Only in America. Only at Mountainfilm. Highly recommended.







Mountainfilm FILM REVIEW: National Geographic’s Lost on Everest (Renan Ozturk and Drew Pulley, 2020): USA

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Lost on Everest, a National Geographic film about an expeditionary team tracking one of the early British attempts to stand on top of the world, made its World Premiere at the 2020 Virtual Mountainfilm Festival, a documentary film festival showcasing nonfiction stories about environmental, cultural, climbing, political, and social justice issues.

Rising up to a peak of 29,035 vertical feet, Mount Everest has long captivated the imagination of climbers from all parts of the world. Lost on Everest documents an elite group of research climbers who undertake a mission to locate and retrieve a camera from Andrew “Sandy” Irvine, a twenty-two-year-old climbing partner of the legendary British mountaineer, George Mallory. The two disappeared in 1924 just 800 vertical feet from the top of Mount Everest. Mallory’s body was found in 1999, approximately seventy-five feet from his last known location. Irvine’s body and the camera he was carrying have not been found to this day and have long been speculated about.

Did Mallory and/or Irvine make it to the top of Everest?  Or do Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay keep the title of first confirmed climbers to the summit? Utilizing the latest geospatial imaging tools and first-hand accounts of climbers claiming to have seen a body that may or may not be Sandy Irvine, the team ascends Everest under an ordinary climbing permit. Spectacular photography and intimate footage of the team as they battle the conditions imposed on them by the altitude and constantly changing weather conditions enhance the film’s compelling narrative. Testimonials, present-day interviews, and narrative voice-overs keep the audience engaged and informed as archival footage of the early British expeditionary attempts to provide historical context and the impossibility of the feat.

Interestingly, the day before the team makes their ascent, a parade of approximately 200-300 climbers create a traffic jam atop Mount Everest waiting for their respective turns to reach the summit, is captured in spectacular fashion. The photograph went viral and put Everest into the global dialogue front and center once again – and not necessarily in a positive light. Undaunted the team completes its summit without a climber insight and one of the climbing season’s windows most perfect days. What happens next could change the history of climbing forever as the team makes its way downward in search of Sandy Irvine’s final resting place. And what started out as an extreme climbing, turns into a mystery begging for someone to solve.

Lost on Everest was directed by Renan Ozturk, a globally recognized climber, filmmaker, and artist known for his extreme, outdoor visual storytelling. Ozturk’s previous films include Denali’s Raven (Mountainfilm 2017), Life Coach, and Mothered by Mountains (both Mountainfilm 2018). Alongside Taylor Rees, he co-directed The Ghosts Above (both Mountainfilm 2020). In 2013 Ozturk was awarded the National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. Drew Pulley, a renowned seeker of documentary content for National Geographic, co-directed Lost on Everest.

The film’s final screening at Mountainfilm is scheduled for May 23rd, 7 PM, Mountain Daylight Time. With a fast run-time of sixty minutes and with an included short film, The Ghost Above, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the climb, Lost on Everest is a highly recommended film. Check it out, you’ll be glad you did!

Mountain Film

About Mountainfilm

Mountainfilm, a documentary film festival in Telluride, Colo., showcases “nonfiction stories about environmental, cultural, climbing, political, and social justice issues that matter.”  The 2020 edition has gone virtual in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mountainfilm offering its 2020 festival lineup through a secure online platform from May 15–25. The new Bivvy pass provides full access to over 100 films, a symposium, and additional presentations for $75. An option to purchase individual films, shorts programs, or presentations for $10 each is also available.

Until next time, I look forward to seeing you at the movies….




Mountainfilm 2020 FEATURED PROFILE: Assistant Programmer Nora Bernard

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Having met my featured Mountainfest member, Nora Bernard, at the 46th Telluride Film Festival, my curiosity piqued upon reading her social media post on this year’s Mountainfilm, the Bivvy Pass, and her zeal in being part of this year’s Programming Team. Without missing a beat, I quickly visited and counted my blessings. I viewed the Mountainfilm Intro by Stephen Burns. Stunning photography accented the clip leading me to check out this year’s Guest Director Louis Psihoyos sharing what makes Mountainfilm his “go-to” festival year after year.

My good fortune didn’t end there as Ms. Bernard accepted my proposal for a feature via a virtual Q & A. Please see below.

Nora Bernard, the 46th Telluride Film Festival’s Production Office Manager, wrapping up a travel and expense report on August 12, 2019, in Telluride, Colo. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson)

What do you do for the 2020 MountainFilm Festival?

I was an Associate Programmer for this year’s festival which consisted of reviewing film submissions and giving my recommendations to the Programming Team at Large.

Why did you choose to work for MountainFilm?

I have been working for the Telluride Film Festival for a number of years and quite a few of my colleagues have also worked for Mountainfilm. The Program Manager, Lucy Lerner, was a Senior Manager for TFF and I reached out to her with interest in being a screener for the 2019 festival.

How has your experience been?

It’s been such a thrill. I have to say, I’ve been impressed by a lot of the submissions I have watched. The documentaries screened at Mountainfilm run the gamut from outdoor adventure, climate change, anthropology, and social justice. 2019 was my first time attending and I got caught up in the overall commitment to the community. It’s been so motivating to watch the year-round staff translate that to an online platform in these current circumstances.

Why did you choose Programming?

Well with all the other festivals I’ve worked, I’ve always worked on the logistical side of things. Production, venue operations, ticketing, volunteers…you name it and I’ve probably done it. However, my eyes have been moving toward the creative side and I’m grateful to Mountainfilm for giving me the opportunity.

What other festivals/projects have you worked on?

I’ve also worked for the Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, and Telluride Film Festivals and am a part of the FantasticFest features submission team. Each job, I’ve worked has taught me so much and has rolled over into the next. There are so many talented people that put together these events. For now, I’m quarantining in New York City and hoping for the chance to help make that magic again soon.


About Mountainfilm

Mountainfilm, a documentary film festival in Telluride, Colo., showcases “nonfiction stories about environmental, cultural, climbing, political, and social justice issues that matter.”  The 2020 edition has gone virtual in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mountainfilm offering its 2020 festival lineup through a secure online platform from May 15–25. The new Bivvy pass provides full access to over 100 films, a symposium, and additional presentations for $75. An option to purchase individual films, shorts programs, or presentations for $10 each is also available. Check it out. You’ll be glad you did!

Until next time, I look forward to seeing you at the movies….

Public Trust
Public Trust



Scorched Earth Public Trust Illuminates Presidential Proclamations

Posted by Larry Gleeson

I imagined my second 2020 Mountainfilm Festival selection would be a Ken Burns-style documentary on our nation’s public lands. Director David Garrett Byars begins Public Trust, a Patagonia Films production, with a soft opening of luscious landscape photography accented by a voice-over narration of a man from Northern Alabama having relocated to a Western State pontificating on the joyous freedom of fishing and hunting in the vast open spaces in the West.

After the stunningly beautiful opening sequence, however, Public Trust, executively produced by Robert Redford, turned into a wild ride through the United States of America’s exploitation of pristine public lands with roguish, jackaloon demagogues sowing fear and distrust in any receptive audience at their disposal. Truth is damned as greed, hate-mongering, and sheer stupidity rear their disgusting, revolting, and reviling heads as the public is duped time and time again with misleading rhetoric from politicians and Trump Administration department heads. Alaskan public lands are salivatingly seen as gravy trains with stores of oil, gas, uranium, and copper as mining revenues traditionally have been dispersed to Alaskans with royalty checks. As one commentator noted, “it’s akin to a heroin addict getting a fix.”

Utilizing recent news footage, present-day interviews with tribal leaders, historians, government whistleblowers, journalists, added perspective and insight emanate into the bold and brazen Trump Administration political appointees to the United States Department of the Interior. The once protected public lands are being moved under individual states’ control to maintain – although the states cannot afford to protect and maintain the lands for public use. As a result, much of the land is being sold to the highest bidders, those with the deepest pockets. As one particularly ignorant pol snidely commented, “just let me know what my piece of the public lands is so I can sell it.”

The newest Secretary of the Interior, David Barnhart, has relocated his office into the same building with Exxon and numerous oil and gas mining corporations after Ryan Zinke, who now serves as “an advisor” to Turnberry Solutions, a lobbying firm stacked with former Trump administration advisers and campaign aides, resigned in 2019 among numerous ethics violations. The powerful extractive industries, backed by similar regulation-slashing state legislators and federal agencies, believe public lands across America should be unlocked for mining and exploration with little if any, regard for the environmental scarring and cultural diminishing effects. And, these entities say whatever it takes to get their way.

Interestingly, in closing Public Trust Byars leaves the viewer with pertinent questions about the future of America’s public lands. For instance, who will have unfettered access to these lands? Because as it stands right now it appears the oil and gas industries, in conjunction with mining operations, will solicit more revenue-generating activities from the American people. Imagine futuristic concessionaires charging fees to take you and your family to the mountaintop for sunset while the surrounding lands are stripped until all profit has been removed, and the lands permanently abandoned in an unrestored, highly toxic state. It’s the Trump Administration’s vision of the new American Way of Life.

Public Trust is a very-well researched and thought-provoking documentary. For me as a person who has enjoyed public lands immensely, the film is revealing not only from a cultural and environmental perspective but even more so from a political perspective. Highly recommended.