Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Silverdocs: Shorts 3: You and Me

Shorts 3: You and Me

This was a collection of three short films screened in the fabulous Theater 3. Like the other set of shorts, this set of shorts was screened earlier in the week. I’m including the information from Silverdoc’s website about each film because they’re shorts and they need all the help they can get.

I Just Wanted to be Somebody Jay Rosenblatt, USA, 2006, 10 Minutes

Orange juice ad queen Anita Bryant crusaded against gay civil rights in the 70s, but was important both to the creation of the religious right and to the gay rights movement.

News footage of an interview with Anita Bryant. Title. Orange juice television advertisement featuring Bryant. Intertitle. Anita Bryant led a campaign in Florida to repeal protections for homosexuals. Intertitle: The Homosexual. Black and white footage of an anti-gay rally. Gay rights activists led a boycott of Florida orange juice in response to Bryant’s “Save Our Children” campaign. A still photo shows Ronald Regan giving Bryant a bag of oranges. During a television debate, a person pushes a pie in Bryant’s face. During a photo opportunity, Bryant’s husband kisses her on the lips and says, “That’s what men do.” Eventually she was divorced and filed for bankruptcy. Over home movie footage of Bryant, a voiceover reads a letter to Bryant from a homosexual man talking about her failures and thanking her for giving a face to their enemy. You brought us into the light.

Monsieur Borges and I Jasmin Gordon, France, Switzerland, USA, 2006, 23 Minutes

A portrait of an eccentric French professor who dedicated his life to his friend and hero, the literary giant Jorge Luis Borges.

Black and white television news footage of Borges’s funeral. Contemporary color footage of a tree-lined street. Title. A man shows his office containing Borges’s documents. They were friends for ten years. He has a wall of Fez wedding belts from the 16th and 17th centuries. Black and white slow motion home movie of Borges in a library. This man used to travel from his house in the south of France to Geneva to see Borges. At the funeral people were jockeying for position to be seen by the television cameras. This is a particularly amusing anecdote given that this man is performing for the camera literally by singing and playing the piano. Maria Kordania was his traveling companion. She married Borges eight weeks before his death. Intertitle: She forbade the publication of this man’s collaborative work with Borges. Women were not in Borges’s work or life. The house is the center of the labyrinth. Voiceover of interview with Borges asking him how he would like to be remembered.

Freeheld Cynthia Wade, USA, 2007, 38 Minutes

At the center of the equal rights debate, Lt. Laurel Hester is dying of lung cancer and fighting to pass her police pension to her life partner, Stacie Andree. The city explodes with controversy; Laurel only wants to provide for her love—before it’s too late.

Hearing.Credits and intertitles. TitleLaurel and Stacie on beach. Interview of Laurel. Hearing. Officers speak on Laurel’s behalf. The retired Chief of Police speaks on Laurel’s behalf. The state of New Jersey passed a law delegating the power to grant county employees domestic partner benefits to the County Board. The County Board has the option to give benefits to domestic partners. The Board Members, freeholders, say they don’t have the power. Footage from news report. Interviews. Laurel and Stacie’s house. Stacie rakes the yard and cleans the gutters. She might lose the house without Laurel’s pension. Stacie is a mechanic. She makes $23,800 per year. Stacie calls doctors to work out billing problems. Old pictures of Laurel as a police officer. Interviews with coworkers. Stacie and Laurel have been together for five years. Stacie and Laurel attend church and the small church prays for Laurel and Stacie. Graphic shows the counties that extended benefits to domestic partners of county employees. Interview of Laurel about dying. Laurel videotapes a message to the Freeholders. Hearing. Laurel talking with hospice worker. Laurel attends an emergency meeting of the Freeholders because the Governor called one or more of the Freeholders at home. They vote to extend benefits. Stacie at Laurel’s bedside. Videotape of Laurel and Stacie swimming with dolphins. Funeral. We have gathered here to hear a story.

Q & A with Directors Jasmin Gordon (Monsieur Borges and I) and Cynthia Wade (Freeheld)

Q: For Jasmin Gordon (Monsieur Borges and I), how could Borges’s wife prohibit the publication of work this man did?
A: She has universal rights over Borges’s work. She prohibited the publication of a collection of Borges’s work in French.

Q: For Cynthia Wade (Freeheld), how did you meet Laurel and Stacie?
A: I met them at a Freeholder meeting. I lived with them for ten weeks. Then I did interviews with other people.

Q: For Jasmin Gordon (Monsieur Borges and I), whose house was that shot in?
A: That is the professor’s house, not Borges’s. It is in the south of France. Everything in the house is the professor’s collection of Borges paraphernalia.

Q: For Jasmin Gordon (Monsieur Borges and I), what was the relationship between Borges and the professor?
A: It is unclear. Probably asexual. But clearly the professor was enamored of Borges.

Q: For Cynthia Wade (Freeheld), how much time passed between the change in the policy and Laurel’s death?
A: Three weeks to the day.

Q: For Cynthia Wade (Freeheld), what were the results of the subsequent election?
A: The freeholder who most extremely opposed the extension of benefits is now the director of the Freeholders. The others were reelected by a lesser margin.

Q: For Cynthia Wade (Freeheld), why was the freeholder who most extremely opposed the extension of benefits not at the emergency meeting?
A: He claimed he was on vacation in Florida, but local news reporters found him in his basement.

Q: For Jasmin Gordon (Monsieur Borges and I), how did you find your subject?
A: I met the professor at a cocktail party and he introduced himself as the last companion of Borges.

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