Friday, February 24, 2023

"Everything" Takes Everything at This Year's Dorian Film Awards

And the 2022 Dorian Film Awards Go To...

Everything Everywhere All At Once

 Film of the Year

Director of the Year: Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert

Screenplay of the Year: Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert

LGBTQ Film of the Year

Visually Striking Film of the Year

Michelle Yeoh

Film Performance of the Year

Wilde Artist Award

Ke Huy Quan

Supporting Film Performance of the Year

Stephanie Hsu

Rising Star Award


Non-English Language Film of the Year

 All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

Documentary of the Year

LGBTQ Documentary of the Year 

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Animated Film of the Year


Unsung Film of the Year



Film Music of the Year


 Campiest Flick of the Year

Janelle Monáe

GALECA LGBTQIA+ Film Trailblazer Award

Monday, February 20, 2023

Short Cuts 2023, Part 2: Oscar's Live Action Short Film Nominees

For the 18th year, ShortsTV presents this year's Academy Award nominated animated, live action and documentary short films where they should be seen, at a theater near you (watch the trailer here). In the second of three parts, Movie Dearest takes a look at this year's five nominees for Best Live Action Short Film.

If there's a unifying theme between this year's live action nominees it is perseverance, from surviving serious family issues to just making it home in one piece.

And the nominees are...

An Irish Goodbye, Tom Berkeley & Ross White (Ireland/UK, 23 min.), trailer.

Two brothers (Seamus O'Hara and James Martin) happen upon an unexpected way to work through their grief following the death of their mother. Certainly the most whimsical of the batch, even with its somewhat grim setting, its also the one to provide the most satisfying conclusion. Shout out to the scene-stealing Paddy Jenkins as an oversharing priest.

Oscar connection: This has been a good year for Ireland as far as the Oscars go... in addition to this short, The Banshees of Inisherin earned 9 nominations, including Best Picture, and The Quiet Girl is nominated for Best International Feature.

MD Rating: 8/10


Ivalu, Anders Walter & Rebecca Pruzan (Denmark, 16 min.), trailer.

A young girl (Mila Heilmann Kreutzmann) desperately searches for her missing older sister. Based on the award-winning graphic novel by Morten Dürr and Lars Horneman, the story is as bleak as its Greenlandic setting. It touches on the sexual abuse that causes the title character to flee, yet its short runtime hinders it from fully exploring such an intense subject.

Oscar connection: Walter previously won in this category for 2013's Helium.

MD Rating: 6/10


Le pupille (a.k.a. The Pupils), Alice Rohrwacher & Alfonso Cuarón (Italy, US, 37 min.), trailer.

A group of precocious boarding school girls are the recipients of an overly-generous Christmas gift... that is, if the nuns in charge will let them have it. Having premiered at Cannes and streaming on Disney+ (in only an English-dubbed version, mind you), this is certainly the most high profile nominee. It's not overly-original and a bit too precious, but still a fun yuletide romp.

Oscar connection: Cuarón has won four Oscars out of ten nominations for the films Y tu mamá también, Children of Men, Gravity and Roma.

MD Rating: 7/10


Night Ride (a.k.a. Nattrikken), Eirik Tveiten & Gaute Lid Larssen (Norway, 15 min.), trailer.

It's a cold winter night, and a woman (Sigrid Kandal Husjord) unwittingly commandeers a trolley car to get home. What starts out as an amusing escapade turns into a tense situation when a bully confronts a young transgender passenger. The light-hearted opening sequence and the ugly, overly-extended confrontation scene throws of the balance of the story, which fails to commit to its point of "outsiders sticking together".

Oscar connection: This is the second year in a row that a nominee in this category starred a little person actor, following last year's The Dress.

MD Rating: 6/10


The Red Suitcase, Cyrus Neshvad (Luxembourg, 18 min.), trailer.

A young Iranian girl (Nawelle Ewad), her suitcase filled with her dreams of being an artist, arrives in Luxembourg where she is to meet the older man she has been betrothed to against her wishes. An intriguing set up is hampered (again) by the short runtime as well as its execution, where it appears that these two characters are the only ones in the airport considering how easy it is for one to follow the other.

Oscar connection: Luxembourg previously had an Oscar winner with the animated short film Mr. Hublot (2013).

MD Rating: 6/10

Coming soon: Reviews of the Oscar nominees for Best Documentary Short Film.

Click here for part one, with reviews of the Animated Short Film nominees.

Reviews by Kirby Holt, Movie Dearest creator, editor and head writer.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Short Cuts 2023, Part 1: Oscar's Animated Short Film Nominees

For the 18th year, ShortsTV presents this year's Academy Award nominated animated, live action and documentary short films where they should be seen, at a theater near you, beginning February 17th (watch the trailer here). In the first of three parts, Movie Dearest takes a look at this year's five nominees for Best Animated Short Film.

Unlike last year's nominees, there's only one instance of nudity here... and, based on the titles, it's not where you think.

And the nominees are...

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, Matthew Freud & Charlie Mackesy (UK/US, 32 min.), trailer.

The titular foursome meet in a snow covered forest and become an unlikely family. A beautifully realized parable of life, love and cakes, the simple story delivers lessons of exceptance, both of others and of oneself, with an elegance that overcomes any potential triteness. The trio of name-actors who voice the animals – Tom Hollander, Idris Elba and Gabriel Byrne, respectively – help capture the tale's A.A. Milne qualities, particularly Hollander as the dessert-loving mole. Just lovely.

Oscar Connection: In addition to the Oscar, this short is nominated for a BAFTA Award and seven Annie Awards.

MD Rating: 9/10

The Flying Sailor, Amanda Forbis & Wendy Tilby (Canada, 8 min.), trailer.

Meet Charlie Mayers, a Halifax seaman who survived the 1917 boat explosion that stripped him naked and sent him flying over two kilometers. His death-defying experience is compellingly visualized in this "based on a true story" Sundance winner (from the venerable National Film Board of Canada) that leans a bit too much into the "life flashing before your eyes" trope.

Oscar Connection: Forbis and Tilby were previously nominated for their shorts When the Day Breaks (2000) and Wild Life (2011), and Tilby was also nominated for Strings (1991).

MD Rating: 6/10


Ice Merchants, João Gonzalez & Bruno Caetano (Portugal/UK/France, 15 min.), trailer.

A jarringly long-legged man and his young son live precariously on the side of a mountain, skydiving daily to the village below to sell ice. The most surreal of this year's nominees, this Cannes Film Festival award winner may be a little too odd, but the sweet affection shown between the father and son is endearing enough to keep it whimsically unpretentious.

Oscar Connection: The first Portuguese film to be nominated for an Academy Award.

MD Rating: 7/10


My Year of Dicks, Sara Gunnarsdóttir & Pamela Ribon (US/Iceland, 26 min.), trailer.

An intrepid teenage girl sets out to lose her virginity in 365 days or less. Riz Ahmed hilariously uttering the words "my year of dicks" on Oscar nomination morning instantly made this the contender to watch... at least first. The tale may be familiar, and the resolution obvious from the get go, but its creative mixture of styles (from arthouse to anime to horror flick) and sharp wit elevate it to one of the funniest teen comedies in years.

Oscar Connection: Ribon, whose memoir Notes To Boys: And Other Things I Shouldn't Share in Public is the basis of this short, also worked on the Oscar nominated animated features Moana and Ralph Breaks the Internet.

MD Rating: 8/10

An Ostrich Told Me the World is Fake and I Think I Believe Him, Lachlan Pendragon (Australia, 11 min.), trailer.

An underachieving office drone inadvertently stumbles upon the revelation that life is not at all what it seems. Just in case you didn't get it from that comically long title, this is a wacky meta-commentary on the futility of existence told through stop motion animation... as it is being animated. Despite its overused setting, this is a clever romp into satirical absurdity.

Oscar Connection:Winner of this year's Student Academy Award for Animation.

MD Rating: 7/10

Coming soon: Reviews of the Oscar nominees for Best Live Action Short Film and Best Documentary Short Film.

Reviews by Kirby Holt, Movie Dearest creator, editor and head writer.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Reverend's Interview: New Movie "Of An Age" Will Touch All Ages

Out director Goran Stolevski might not be a household name yet, but just give him a little more time. The 37-year old filmmaker made a big splash internationally last year with his first feature, You Won’t Be Alone. He’s set to make an even bigger splash this year, especially among gay audiences, with his new movie Of An Age. It is scheduled for release throughout the US by Focus Features on Friday, February 17th.

The film opens during the summer of 1999. In blue-collar North Melbourne, Australia, 18-year-old Serbian immigrant Kol (played by Elias Anton) is out of school forever. He’s preparing for the Australian Dance finals when he receives a distress call from his dance partner, Ebony, who has woken up on an unfamiliar beach after a big night out. With the help of Ebony’s older brother, Adam (Thom Green), they attempt to make it to the finals on time.

When Kol and Adam get stuck in traffic, however, they begin to realize they have more in common than they first thought. Over the course of the next 24 hours, an unexpected and intense romance blossoms between them. They are separated all too quickly when Adam moves to South America, but meet again a decade later for Ebony’s wedding and a bittersweet reunion.

Of An Age is an authentic, achingly romantic, sexy and moving film. Sensitively directed by Stolevski and beautifully acted by Green and Anton, it will touch any gay men who came of age between the 1990’s and the late 2000’s. Heck, I could identify with it even though I came out in the 1980’s.

Stolevski was born and grew up in North Macedonia before migrating to Australia at the age of 12. He completed a Bachelor of Creative Arts degree at the University of Melbourne and a Masters in Film and Television at the Victorian College of the Arts. He won the Ruben Mamoulian Best Director Award at the 2016 Sydney Film Festival before attending the Berlinale Talent Campus and MIFF Accelerator as well as receiving the $50,000 Lexus Fellowship for his short film, My Boy Oleg. His 25 shorts have variously screened at more than 100 festivals across six continents. He also directed three episodes of the International Emmy-winning series Nowhere Boys before making his feature film debut in 2022.

Though hard at work editing his next LGBTQ-themed movie, Stolevski recently took time to speak with this writer via Zoom during a cold winter night here and a sunny summer morning in Australia (given the 16-hour time difference).

CC: In the press notes, you say this isn’t really an autobiographical story, yet it feels so authentic. Why do you think that is?
GS: It’s not autobiographical in the sense that the events depicted didn’t really happen to me and I’m not either of the characters. I don’t dance, I’m not a dancer, I’ve never been to Argentina, but it is a little bit of an emotional diary of what 1999 felt like to me, in the place I found myself in at the time. In my high school years, I was very much kind of absent from my life. I was a massive film nerd at the time and I was sort of really living my life or looking for a life through movies, both what was coming out in cinemas as well as Katharine Hepburn movies. That’s what I thought is real life. Day-to-day school and other things happening around me were just things that were kind of gray and a blur. I was thinking back to that time in my life and how it was just a blank of six years, which were my teenage years and high school. And then trying to kind of excavate the feelings of that time, and I kind of felt like for life to have meaning or value it had to be something that was like cinematic, or literary, or artistic. I felt like the life I was living in suburbia was the opposite of cinematic, so I just wanted to write something that honored the kind of people I was around and the kind of place I was in and make it feel cinematic and meaningful.

CC: Would you say you are more like Kol or more like Adam, or both equally?
GS: I don’t really know, to be honest. I mean, Kol is me at 14 probably, not really 17. I was militantly and openly gay in my final year of high school, so I’m not that boy. And I’ve been happily married for almost 20 years. Well, not married legally for 20 years but in a relationship and then we got married. I think there is a little bit of me in both of them. I’m also Adam, mentally anyway. I’m also very much Ebony, to be honest (laughs), so you know it all comes from here ultimately (points to his head). I feel like yes, it comes from my brain and I wrote it but after all that it has its own life, especially once the film was cast. The kids — I call them the kids but they’re all adults — I’m very connected to them now. In bringing in the energies of Elias, Thom and Hattie Hook (who plays Ebony), the film wasn't really about my life at that point. But there were surreal moments like turning up to a unit and seeing a sea of vans and catering trucks outside the house that I grew up in, because that's where we needed to park that day.

CC: Your husband was reportedly very moved by your initial script. What does he think of the finished film? I’m assuming he’s seen it by now.
GS: Yeah. You know, it was 1:00 AM (when he was first inspired to write the story) but I jumped out of bed and started typing frantically. The first 75 minutes of the film, including most of the dialogues, were written in that one early morning sitting. The writer-director’s usual process is to let an idea gestate and not write until it's cohered into a world and a story in his head, so the experience was new and exhilarating. The story flooded out of me. The next day I started writing it out as a screenplay. I wrote all the 1999 time period scenes in a week, in a stream, and then realized the script was only 75 pages and no one’s going to make this film. (Laugh) The next day I thought: ‘Fuck it, I’m just going to write another 25 minutes in 2010,’ and I did that next day. That was the screenplay I sent to my husband, and he became very emotional. I thought at that point that maybe it’s good. Normally, he’s very blunt with me, and he didn’t say anything bad. He’s seen the movie a hundred times now and loves it, even though he’s an asshole. (Said sarcastically with a laugh.)

CC: You mentioned earlier that you watched a lot of movies starring the great Katharine Hepburn while you were growing up. Can you say a little more about that?
GS: I make this joke all the time: my friends growing up were Katharine Hepburn and Ingmar Bergman. I didn't have any friends in real life, and I was in this limbo state waiting for life to begin. When I completed the script (for Of An Age), I realized that no, life was going on then and there. I felt like I had not missed out on it, but I wasn't present in it. So this film would be about being present in that moment so that I feel like I lived it to its fullest. I do believe art is what makes life important, so I think that's the motivation to capture some of it so it doesn't go away.

CC: What do you hope young gay or queer men today will take away from Of An Age?
GS: That their feelings are universal. That we all have stories worth telling; all our lives can be cinematic. That we are all connected across generations. The experience of filming it was mind blowing, soul expanding, so that was enough in itself. I hope they can feel that. I think (the movie) really captures what I set out to capture: what a deep connection feels like and can feel like, and how rare that is and to appreciate it.

Reviews by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film and stage critic of Movie Dearest and Rage Monthly Magazine.