Head of the Class short film program

24 08 2012

I’ll do my best to be somewhat brief in the reviews of these short films.

Only Fags Listen to Pop Music

Synopsis: a hand-drawn film about the repercussions of a teen listening to Britney Spears in high school.

Super awesome things: this film was made to be screened for Out in Schools.  Cute, accessible, relateable == not to mention a clear and easy theme.  I like the storyboard quality and look of the film.  Very cool.

Not so awesome things: You know what?  It’s too mean to really criticize this film when it doesn’t try to be anything more than what it is.

Grade: A


Synopsis: a longer short film about a young, gay, African-American boy full of hope just before the 2008 Presidential Election.

Super awesome things: it’s always cool to watch films with people of colour.  Jamie is exactly what this generation is or at least show be: he’s ever so hopeful (that Obama will win and so certain that Prop 8 won’t pass in a liberal state like California); he’s aware of his feelings but doesn’t ever say the word gay, nor does he seem to want/need to.  At the other end of the spectrum, his family, particularly his parents, are more conservative, and this contrast really sets them apart.  It genuinely feels like when they’re glad Prop 8 has passed, they’re wrong.

The best scene is the morning after the election.  Jamie sits down at the breakfast table, happy that his country is heading in a new direction with a new leader.  His father is also happy, as Prop 8 passed.  The camera closes on Jamie’s blank stare as he digests what that means to him.  But even more powerful is his (straight) sister’s reaction: she cries.  Right beside Jamie, she bawls, and one can’t help she’s not only crying for her brother, but for all gay people who are denied, possibly forever, the right to marry the one they love.

Not so awesome things: shortly put, it’s too long.  Add to the fact that the film tries to tackle a bunch of issues like politics, family dynamics, being in the closet, gay bashing, and even a premature romance, and as hard as the film tries, it doesn’t quite balance things out.  Perhaps the biggest thing afflicting this ambitious film is the ending, which I will have to spoil.

Shortly put, why??????  There are enough films where gay people are beaten, killed, or kill themselves, and if anything the ending of Change suggests that there is actually little hope and change in the foreseeable future.  The bashers outnumber the accepting, and we know, based on how liberal youth are today, that this is just not the case.  amie is finally brave enough to be physically close to the token out-white boy and he gets a punch in the face from his friends?  Really?

Grade: C+

The Queen

Synopsis: a gay, Korean-American, working in his mother’s tailor shop, daydreams (or rather, nightdreams) about being the prom queen to a hunky classmate.

Super awesome things: shot on film, this movie looks great.  It’s a simple, straight-forward story with a cheeky ’80s soundtrack.  I’ve seen this film twice already, and I still enjoy it.

Not so awesome things: I always thought it was too weird that he puts on the dress but now I understand that he does it to imagine being with the cute white boy.  I would’ve liked a bit more interaction with the two boys but otherwise, I like this.

Grade: A-


Synopsis: while walking down the street one day, a young woman finds herself being stared at by everyone, and realizes someone has been handing out flyers that out her as a lesbian.

Super awesome things: interesting premise with a fairly good sense of “What the hell is going on here?” tension and thrill before the twist at the end.

Not so awesome things: predictable and lacking a strong point.

Grade: B-

I Don’t Want to Go Back Alone

Synopsis: the arrival and integration of a new classmate changes the friendship between a girl and her blind guy friend.

Super awesome things: how can anyone with a heart not love this movie?

I first saw this film a year ago online, and loved it so much that I sent the writer/director, Daniel Ribeiro, an email telling him to send a DVD screener to the festival so that others on the programming committee could see it and love it as much as I did.  He did, and everyone did!  Everyone who saw this film loved it, and said it was so cute.  And it was because of me.  You’re welcome, #festies.

Great acting, a simple story that doesn’t deal with homophobia or a difficult coming out — this film just feels natural in its progression and its execution.  There are moments of tension, like when Leonardo confesses to bestie Giovana, that he is gay, while clearly being unable to realize that she has a crush on him.  I just can’t get enough of this wonderful, wonderful film.

Not so awesome things:  some of the subtitling is slightly off.  That’s my only complaint.  Really.  Also, when will they finally finish the full-length feature film already?!

Grade: A++

Changing your perspective

29 01 2012

For my application to UBC, this is one of the questions:

“Tell us about an experience, in school or out, that caused you to rethink or change your perspective. What impact has this had on you?”

What would you say?


8 09 2011

Maybe it’s that it’s only a week into the school term but I don’t feel excited about any of the courses like I used for previous semesters.  Everything seems so much more formal, with more work and less fun.  I also don’t know any of the instructors nor students in my classes, which makes things a little more difficult.

I’m gonna vent a bit.  Here’s a list of the courses I’m taking this term.

1.  French conversation and literature.  I specifically took this course because even though I honestly feel like I will never be fluent in French, I would at least have the opportunity to practice speaking in the class, which I didn’t get a lot to do in any of my previous French classes.  It was always more focused on grammar, reading, and writing, which is good, but I don’t plan on reading/writing– I want to speak the language.  And since I took a conversation Spanish course in the Spring, I thought this course might be along the same lines, where we would get paired up every class and just talk to someone with everyday questions and sentences.

So far, that isn’t the case.  There was review of grammar, lots of vocab I haven’t seen before, and since I’m very rusty on my French, having taken my last French class over a year ago, a lot of I had forgotten.  I really do hope we get to actually speak a lot more because that’s the whole reason I took this course, but I’m not holding my breath.  I see this as the last change I’m giving to my French abilities and it will probably be the last French course I’m taking (unless there is a strictly conversational French course which I might consider).

2.  Sociology.  I was really excited about this one because it was my first Sociology course I would be taking and it was also a course that seemed really interesting (social problems).  Even though it’s an online course, I wasn’t deterred by that, as I’ve never taken an online course before so I thought I’d give it a try.  It’s only been a few days, so there really isn’t a whole lot to say about this class except that the first assignment/presentation is due not next Monday but the Monday after that, and we’re put in groups to do that, which I think might be hard to do/organize since it is an online course.

I also just don’t feel excited about learning about it anymore.  I think it’s because I was reading some of the textbook and it was really, really dry and boring.

3.  Health Sciences.  Like Sociology, I was really looking forward to this class because it’s about human sexuality, which I think is amazingly complex and fascinating.  The class has been okay so far, not much to complain about.

4.  English.  The instructor who is teaching the class is one that I have wanted to take a class with for many semesters now, and it’s finally happened.  I think he talks quickly (not a bad thing) and has a good sense of humor, and I’ve always liked English courses too.  The amount of reading in the class makes me a bit apprehensive though, and the projects too.

In almost all the classes, there’s a mark for participation, which I dread because I’m usually the quiet guy in the class, and I often lose marks because of that.  All in all, I just don’t feel the same as I did before about classes, and maybe it’s a sign that I’m ready to finish school, at least for now.  It’s good thing I’ll be graduating next year, I suppose. I’m also getting tired of this city, but that’s a whole other story.  I thought about dropping one of my classes but I think I can stick it out, and that things will get better.

I guess we’ll see.