Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Final Leap by John Bateson



I had a chance last week to skim through this very powerful new book by John Bateson which takes an in-depth look at the history of suicide and the Golden Gate Bridge. It is an excellent overview and it's wonderful to see it published to coincide with the 75th Anniversary of the Bridge.

 I was also very pleased that he mentions my film, The Joy of Life several times.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Self-promoting Homage to Vito Russo

A few months ago the folks at MUBI.com asked me to contribute a list for their "ten films that saved your life section." I sent them a list (see below), but more importantly I included this note which I wanted to share here as a nudge to encourage everyone to order their Frameline (June 14th at 7pm) and Outfest (July 12th) Opening Night tickets for VITO so you get to see it with an audience. And you'll also want to tune in and watch it on HBO on July 23rd.
The truth is, it was a book that saved my life. A book about film. Vito Russo’s pioneering examination of homosexuality in Hollywood cinema (The Celluloid Closet) was what facilitated my own coming out and launched me on my career as a film programmer and film historian. Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s documentary of the book is pretty awesome in its own right. I have not yet seen Jeffrey Schwarz’s new documentary Vito (which I have a brief appearance in) but I’m sure it will save a few lives in its account of one of the most important American gay activists in our history.
Jenni Olson's top ten films that saved your life:

SHERMAN’S MARCH. ROSS MCELWEE
TONGUES UNTIED. MARLON RIGGS
GENTLY DOWN THE STREAM. SU FRIEDRICH
MASSILLON. WILLIAM E. JONES RESERVAAT. CLARA VAN GOOL
LA JET√ČE. CHRIS MARKER
GOD’S COUNTRY. LOUIS MALLE
FLAMING EARS. A. HANS SCHEIRL
MY DINNER WITH ANDRE. LOUIS MALLE
STRANGER THAN PARADISE. JIM JARMUSCH

Note: That's a picture of Vito and I in front of the Cedar Theatre in Minneapolis in about 1986 or so. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Film Festival Snapshots Thru the Ages

I have all these old jpgs where the file size is so small I can't even make prints of them, and most of them have one thing in common (they are pictures of me and some other person; also most of them are from film festivals so they offer a nice little walk down memory lane). Yes, this post arises from my compulsive need to put things into categories and then store them all in one place. In mostly reverse chronological order. Enjoy!

Amsterdam Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (December 1991)
Robin Vachal, Shelley Mars, Alix Umen, Sadie Benning, Su Friedrich, Me

Frameline 1997
With Su Friedrich


San Francisco City Hall (February 2004)
With Julie — Getting Married


Vancouver International Film Festival (November 2005)
With Julie — Getting Married Again


Sundance 2004
With Bruce LaBruce


Sundance 2004
With Jennie Livingston & Guinevere Turner


Frameline 2004
With Rose Troche


Sundance 2006
With Shari Frilot


Sundance 2006
With Daniela Sea


Sundance 2006
With Guinevere Turner


NCLR Gala 2006
With Guinevere Turner


Sundance 2007
With Jason Plourde


Frameline 2007
With Jamie Babbitt


Frameline 2007
With Julie


Dyke March 2007
With Kadet


Sundance 2009
With Julie
I love this last shot from when we were at Sundance 2009 for the world premiere of my short 575 Castro St. Despite my rigorous attempt to get the photographer to spell my name right she listed me as Jenni Olsen (with an E) so that none of my official 2009 Sundance Film Festival photos get surfaced on my imdb page. :-( But they can be accessed at the WireImage site HERE.

ANITA SPERM and Other LGBT Moving Image Treasures

Just stumbled across this cool little interview piece by Sarolta Jane Cump (which somehow I don't remember doing) about the Hormel Center's Frameline Video Archive Project and wanted to share an excerpt and urge everyone to explore the fabulous work we've been doing preserving some really amazing and rare LGBT video work.
I asked [Jenni Olson] about the process of selecting the first small batch of tapes for preservation. “Sifting through the Frameline collection — more than 5,000 LGBT videotapes amassed over the festival's 35 years of existence — was an emotional roller-coaster experience for me each and every day. I would find myself tearing up as I handled tapes of films by filmmakers we had lost in the AIDS crisis — including early and obscure works by people like Derek Jarman, Stuart Marshall, Marlon Riggs. And then five minutes later, I would have the joyfully thrilling experience of coming across exhibition tapes of works where it was evident this would very likely be the only surviving (or accessible) high-quality master — a great example of this is the [1977] Jane Dornacker short, Anita Sperm."
Read the rest of Sarolta's super-interesting post HERE. And then click thru to find out more about the Hormel Center's Frameline Video Archive Project!