Friday, November 21, 2008

Best of the Fests: Sundance Scandal Brewing

Here's some compelling news out of Park City, Utah, home of the venerable Sundance Film Festival. On the heels of reports of a potential boycott of the fest as a result of the Utah-based Mormon church's support of California's controversial Proposition 8 (which, as I'm sure you are well aware, bans gay marriage in the Golden State), Sundance officials have announced the movie that gets the choice spot of opening the festival. And what do you know, it's from an openly gay director.

Mary and Max, the clay animated story of a pen-pal friendship between a lonely 8-year-old girl (voiced by Toni Collette) living in suburban Melbourne and a morbidly obese New Yorker (Philip Seymour Hoffman), is the feature film directorial debut of Australian animator Adam Elliot. Elliot is best known for winning the Academy Award in 2004 for his quirky short film (also produced in clay animation) Harvie Krumpet. While accepting his Oscar, he notably thanked his "beautiful boyfriend Dan"; you don't get more openly gay than that. Furthermore, as previously reported here at Movie Dearest, the film also stars Eric Bana as Damien, "the gay love interest of a Kiwi sheep farmer named Desmond".

And in more film-related fall-out from Prop 8, a website called "No Milk for Cinemark" is urging moviegoers to not go see the upcoming Gus Van Sant biopic of gay icon Harvey Milk ... at a Cinemark theater, that is. For more on that issue, see my previous post here, and for more on the Sundance scandal, visit

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