Scene: Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

 
 

Scene 4: What Girls Like (Shorts)
Affinity Screening and Women’s
Spotlight Party
Colony Theater, Miami Beach
May 3, 2008

It wouldn’t be a major
film festival without a selection of short films. The women’s shorts program
was quite eclectic, with six films representing everything from cute comedy to
outright spoof and personal documentary.

One of the highlights of
the program was the wonderfully polished In
Twilight’s Shadow
, an action/sci-fi piece that boasts incredible special
effects and an amazingly good-looking cast. The film centers on Carlisle, a
vampire-like lesbian as she saves her lover from the clutches of other
vampire-like creatures, kicking all kinds of ass in the process.

The easiest comparison
would be to Buffy the Vampire Slayer
or even Underworld, but there’s a
sense of mythology and history that’s begging for longer than 12 minutes of
running time. Fortunately, director Tina Scorzafava revealed in a Q&A
session after the program that she’s currently in the process of turning the
project into a feature-length film.

I met Scorzafava just
after the screening, and she seemed pleased with the audience reception. In
fact, one woman in the Q&A called out that Carlisle was way hotter than
Buffy, a sure sign of acceptance. One of her main goals with the piece is to
show that it really is possible to do mainstream, effects-heavy action with gay
characters — something I think we can all get behind.

After the shorts, the
crowds came streaming in for the night’s feature event, the world festival
premiere of Affinity. The film is a
19th-century costume drama, adapted from the Sarah Waters novel of the same
name, about a wealthy young woman who becomes a “visitor” at a women’s jail and
falls for a prisoner claiming to be a spiritual medium. Look for my review of
the film in the next few weeks on AfterEllen.com.

Zoe Tapper in Affinity

Finally, most of the
audience made it to the Maxine for the final women’s after-party. The place was
jumping — much more exciting than my last trip there. Lesbians lounged around the
hotel’s funky bamboo pool while the cocktails flowed.

And there was a relaxed
vibe about the evening — this was the last night after all. There was a little
less networking than at Fuse, and a bit more conversation about the films of
the day and the women’s events overall.

Aside from a few minor quibbles about some of the shorts, everyone I talked to seemed impressed by the features as a whole, particularly The World Unseen and The Edge of Heaven. It would appear that the coordinators’ efforts to appeal to lesbian/bi women worked quite nicely.

In the end, the festival
experience was incredible — and exhausting. It’s a 10-day bacchanal mixed with
a serious celebration of queer films from around the world.

It turns out that there was no need for all that free Tylenol PM — I slept the whole way back.

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