2009 Queer Lounge Returns to Sundance With VIP Events and Panels Addressing Proposition 8 and LGBT Films

Queer Lounge Celebrates More Than 40 LGBT Films in Park City with Guests and Panelists including Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Benjamin Bratt, Rodrigo Santoro, Rob Epstein and Christine Vachon

Richard Ferraro
Director of Communications
(646) 871-8011
ferraro@glaad.org

January 9, 2009

Los Angeles, CA, January 9, 2009 – Queer Lounge, a program of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has announced its panels, events and programs for this year's Sundance and Slamdance film festivals in Park City, Utah. Presented by ABSOLUT® VODKA, Queer Lounge will be open from January 15-21 to raise visibility for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) films and filmmakers in Park City.

Now in its sixth year in Park City, Queer Lounge has become the hub for activity surrounding LGBT films, where LGBT and LGBT-friendly filmmakers, professionals and audiences convene and network. Festival-goers will be offered unique amenities including a comprehensive printed guide to the festivals' films by LGBT filmmakers or featuring LGBT content, online access through HP computers and free Wi-Fi, entry to Queer Lounge panels and networking events, and a hospitality lounge where journalists can blog and conduct interviews. Queer Lounge returns to its prime location at 608 Main Street in Park City and will be open daily to the public from 11AM-7PM, with invitation-only events at night.

The program's comprehensive listing of more than 40 films by LGBT filmmakers and films featuring LGBT content that will be shown at the Park City film festivals is also available at:http://www.queerlounge.org/films/alphabetical.php.

This year Queer Lounge has expanded its panels on LGBT films to address film's role in issues facing the LGBT community, including a panel on the cultural aftermath of California's anti-gay Proposition 8.

"By hosting Queer Lounge at such a major industry event, we will connect LGBT filmmakers with leaders in the entertainment industry and provide a unique opportunity for them to make our stories heard and enhance the visibility of our community," said Neil G. Giuliano, President of GLAAD. "Some LGBT advocates have called for withdrawing involvement from these film festivals in the wake of Proposition 8 but we believe we must be there, be visible, and ensure the LGBT community has a place to come together. To not do so would render the LGBT community invisible at this critical entertainment industry gathering, and nothing would make our adversaries happier."

Launched during the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, about 6,000 people attend Queer Lounge each year. It has quickly become a Sundance phenomenon, producing some of the festival's most talked-about events and attracting celebrities and leaders in the film community from Naomi Watts and Toni Collette to John Cameron Mitchell and Gus Van Sant. The program works year-round to build mainstream audiences and boost box office for LGBT films and filmmakers.

"Our presence in Park City plays an important role in raising visibility for films by LGBT filmmakers and featuring LGBT content," says Ellen Huang, the founder and program director of Queer Lounge. "These works have the potential to spark dialogue and highlight issues important to the LGBT community. The stories have a ripple effect far beyond the border of Park City and give film audiences a window into the common ground we all share." 

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2009 QUEER LOUNGE WILL INCLUDE:

  • Panel discussion open to the public on film's role in the reaction to Proposition 8 with John Cooper (Director of Programming, the Sundance Film Festival®), Rob Epstein, (Oscar®-winning Director of the documentaryThe Times of Harvey Milk) and moderator culture critic B. Ruby Rich (Professor, UC Santa Cruz).
  • I Love You Phillip Morris press conference with cast members Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Rodrigo Santoro, producer Andrew Lazar and writer/directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa.
  • La MISSION panel with star Benjamin Bratt, producer Peter Bratt, consulting producer John Amaechi and other cast members on homophobia in communities of color.
  • GLAAD's launch of the 2009 "Thank GLAAD It's Friday" TGIF networking series for young LGBT professionals on January 16, featuring DJ Randi Bettis.
  • Queer Lounge's opening weekend party, "Glamdance," with performances by Richie Rich, Tokyo Diiva and DJ Kevin Haskins of Love and Rockets.
  • Viewing party of the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.
  • Queer Lounge closing night party, "Homos Away from Home."
  • Sponsored parties by Film Independent, Regent Media, Swedish Consulate, Alliance of Women Directors and Fund for Women Artists, Visual Communications, Cape Cod Cinema and Chamber of Commerce and "Toe to Toe," a Sundance Dramatic Competition film.
  • Photos, video and highlights of Queer Lounge panels and events will be available daily atwww.glaadBLOG.org.

2009 QUEER LOUNGE PANELS & PANELISTS
TRYING TIMES:  THE FUTURE OF LGBT FILM FESTIVALS
Saturday, January 17, 2009, 12:00PM
Panelists: Kirsten Schaffer (Outfest), Jennifer Morris (Frameline), Orly Ravid (New American Vision, Senator Entertainment), and Paul Rachman (Slamdance). Moderator: Lesli Klainberg (Newfest)
While film festivals face an uncertain future in the current economic climate, LGBT film festivals face even more significant challenges as they struggle to hold onto sponsors, attract younger audiences, and face competition from increasingly LGBT-inclusive mainstream festivals. So what must LGBT festivals do to adapt and thrive?

SHORT FILMS – YES, THERE IS A MARKET!
Saturday, January 17, 2009, 3:00PM
Panelists: Maria Wolfe (Wolfe Video), Tiffany Shlain (Dir., The Tribe), Joe Wilson (Prod/Co-Dir., Out in the Silence), other panelists TBA. Moderator: Roberta Marie Munroe (author, How NOT To Make a Short Film: Secrets From a Sundance Programmer)
Short films saw a resurgence following the dot-com boom, but few filmmakers have figured out the best ways to utilize or market them. How can shorts be used to raise capital for feature films, or even turn a profit all on their own?

LGBT CIVIL RIGHTS, FILM ACTIVISM & PROPOSITION 8
Sunday, January 18, 2009, 2:30PM
Panelists: John Cooper (Sundance Film Festival®), Rob Epstein (Oscar® Winning Dir., The Times of Harvey Milk, Celluloid Closet), Rashad Robinson (GLAAD), Matt Coles (ACLU), Dayna Frank (HOMOtracker, F.A.I.R.). Moderator: B. Ruby Rich (Cultural Critic; Professor UC Santa Cruz)
The passage of California's anti-gay Proposition 8 was one of the most galvanizing moments in the history of the LGBT movement, prompting swift public outcry and rallying a new generation of activists, but what role will film and filmmakers have to play?

BEHIND-THE-SCENES TO THE SCREEN:  NAVIGATING HOLLYWOOD WITH LGBT CONTENT 
Monday, January 19, 2009, 3:00PM  
Panelists: Christine Vachon (Prod., Boys Don't Cry, Motherhood), Ryan Werner (VP of Marketing, IFC), David Permut (Prod., Prayers for Bobby, Face/Off), and Daniel Sladek (Prod., Prayers for Bobby). Moderator:  Kyle Buchanan (Film Critic, The Advocate, Defamer.com) 
Despite the critical and box office success of films like Brokeback Mountain and Transamerica, LGBT projects must be carefully shepherded through Hollywood's cautious system to get made, and not every one emerges unscathed. Hear from some filmmakers skilled at navigating the system.

La MISSION: A STORY OF CULTURE, CLASS AND INTOLERANCE
Tuesday, January 20, 2009, 1:00PM  
Panelists: Peter Bratt (Writer/Director) and cast members Benjamin Bratt, Erika Alexander, Jeremy Ray Valdez, Jesse Borrego and John Amaechi (Consulting Producer). Moderator: TBA.
Director Peter Bratt and brother Benjamin Bratt tackle the issue of homophobia in communities of color and machismo culture in La MISSION, the story of a man entrenched in the old world culture of his Latino and Native American communities struggling with his son's sexuality.

ROAD TO PARK CITY AND BEYOND:  LAUNCHING YOUR FILM CAREER
Co-Sponsored by Film Independent
Tuesday, January 20, 2009, 3:00PM  
Panelists: Steak House (Prod., Weather Girl), Morgan Stiff (Prod., Mississippi Damned), Tina Mabry (Dir., Mississippi Damned), Cherien Dabis (Dir., Amreeka), Tze Chun (Dir., Children of Invention), Glenn McQuaid (Dir., I Sell the Dead). Moderator: Josh Welsh, (Dir. of Talent Development, Film Independent).
From film festivals to production courses and labs, to online and viral marketing, to TV and commercials, there are many ways to get a film career off the ground, but not every plan works for every person.  So how do you know what the right path is for you?

THE OUTSIDERS: FORMING IDENTITIES FROM THE MARGINS 
Wednesday, January 21, 2009, 12:00PM Noon
Panelists: David Brind (Co-Producer/Writer, Dare), Mary Jane Skalski (Prod., Dare, Mysterious Skin), Lee Daniels (Dir., Push, Shadow Boxer), Gabourey Sidibe (Actor, Push), and Steve Kelly (Dir., City Rats). Moderator: TBA.
One of the most important social contributions of film has been to expose audiences to life experiences that may be far removed from their own, and to celebrate the common ground we all share. This year's festival films continue that great tradition with stories of young people discovering themselves on their own terms.

Queer Lounge 2009 Sponsors 
Presenting Sponsor, ABSOLUT® VODKA; Official Airline Sponsor, Southwest Airlines; Major Sponsors:  Green Lab, MPicardi Custom Fine Furnishings; and Project Sponsors, Abreva, Wolfe Video and Foundation Support from the Bastian Foundation.