Category Archives: GLBT Film

“HELLO AGAIN”— Ten Characters

“Hello Again”

Ten Characters

Amos Lassen

Director Tom Gustafson has adapted the off-Broadway musical, “Hello Again” into a delightful film about ten different characters that are connected through an erotic chain of pansexual trysts that span the 20th century. This a musical daisy chain with a wonderful cast made up of Martha Plimpton, Cheyenne Jackson, T.R. Knight, Rumer Willis, Jenna Ushkowitz, and Audra McDonald.

We look at a time that is not far behind us on which music and sex come together to show us the human desire for connection with others and that this connection goes beyond sex and sexual orientation.

Arthur Schnitzler’s classic play depicts a series of interconnected sexual liaisons has been adapted innumerable times since its 1920 premiere. It also has inspired an equally countless number of film, theater and literary works, including this 1993 musical that debuted at Lincoln Center. It is a series of ten vignettes that take place over different decades of the 20th century. One performer from each scene appears in the next, often as a character similar to the one they’ve just played.

Unfortunately the individual segments aren’t very impactful. Some, such as the 1920s-set one in which Rumer Willis plays a married woman who enjoys a liaison with a younger lover in a movie theater, or the disco-era scene featuring Cheyenne Jackson as a music producer who does more than tweak knobs for his singer and lover (McDonald), are somewhat engaging. Others are risible, such as the segment set on the Titanic in which T.R. Knight plays a closeted first-class passenger who doesn’t tell his male lover from steerage that the ship is sinking, just so that they can enjoy a quickie before it does. Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” will never sound the same again.

There are some impressive performances. McDonald, who also plays the lover of a female senator (Martha Plimpton, who also appears in the film’s ineffective framing device), not only acts but sings up a storm, especially in the pastiche music video featuring a new number, “Beyond the Moon,” written especially for the movie. Plimpton is impressive as always, and there are striking turns by Sam Underwood as a cross-dressing prostitute and Jenna Ushkowitz as a particularly solicitous home healthcare aide.

“MIDAQ ALLEY”— Conflict and Passion

“MIDAQ ALLEY”

Conflict and Passion

Amos Lassen

 ”Midaq Alley” was made in Mexico in 1994 and adapted from a novel by Naguib Mahfouz, the Egyptian who won the 1988 Nobel Prize for literature. The locale was shifted from Cairo in the 1940’s to a busy street in Mexico City in the 1990’s. It tells overlapping stories of the local people.

The first of the stories centers on Rutilio (Ernesto Gomez Cruz), the married middle-aged owner of the local cantina, whose decision to try homosexuality prompts Chava (Juan Manuel Bernal), his only son, to assault Rutilio’s young partner, outrage his father and flee, hoping to realize his dream of life in the United States.

The second story focuses on Alma (Ms. Hayek), whose budding love affair with the young barber Abel (Bruno Bichir) is interrupted when Abel responds to his desperate friend Chava’s plea to join him in an attempt to cross the border. The idealistic Abel leaves, though not before pledging his love for Alma and telling her to wait for him to return to marry her. Before he is long gone, Alma’s mother tries to marry her off to a much older man, but Alma is interested in Jose Luis (Daniel Gimenez Cacho), a dashing and wealthy scoundrel who turns her into one of his high-class cocaine-using prostitutes kept in a lavish brothel.

The third episode revolves around Susanita (Margarita Sanz), the very plain spinster who is the landlady of the premises that are home to Rutilio and his family, Alma and her mother and Abel. Susanita is desperate for romance and thinks she has found love with the much younger Guicho (Luis Felipe Tovar), Rutilio’s thieving waiter, who thinks he has found an easy mark.

“Midaq Alley” is one of the classics of Mexican Cinema and is now available on Blu-ray and DVD with a new digital restoration from Film Movement Classics. It includes a behind-the-scenes featurette and a newly written essay. Director Jorge Fons, follows a group of overlapping characters through four distinct episodes. The film is the winner of more awards than any other film in the history of Mexican Cinema. It is probably best known as the breakout performance for telenovela star Salma Hayek, who soon found international stardom. 

In the final chapter (or the fourth chapter) all the stories are resolved.

“LA BOYITA”— Unexpected Changes

“La Boyita”

Unexpected Changes

Amos Lassen

Young Jorgelina (Guadalupe Alonso) feels estranged from her boy-crazy older sister, Luciana (María Clara Merendino) who has entered adolescence and doesn’t want to hand around with little kids anymore. Finding refuge in their Boyita camper-van, Jorgelina travels with her father to the countryside, where her lifelong playmate Mario is undergoing some unexpected changes of his own.

Jorgelina is a little girl who will spend the holidays with his father on a farm. There she makes friends with Mario (Nicolás Treise), and she notices a blood stain on the seat that they occupied . The stain will reveal such secrets for Mario and Jorgelina , which will lead them to a journey of discovery and of sexuality and build a great friendship.

The director, Julia Solomonoff, chose the path of subtlety and let pictures be worth a thousand words. We discover the story slowly and it holds our attention. The two child actors are charming and were the right choices to bring lightness to a film dense. Another highlight is the girl’s father, who is a caring person who is understandable and accountable despite the way he looks.

For many years, 12 -year-old Jorgelina had a deep friendship with her older sister, Luciana, but lately it seemed more and more distant. Suddenly , the guys a topic, the clothes – especially the more scarce – are borne significantly more often, and where the two exchanged earlier about everything , is suddenly knocked on more privacy. Sure, they see white as the daughter of a doctor from his books and observations about what’s in front of him , but really they cannot do it yet . Therefore, Jorgelina also so disappointed when they travel only with their father in the holidays and spend time alone must be on the farm. The story is mainly told from the perspective of Jorgelina with all of her cuteness and naiveté. It is a classic feel-good coming- of-age movie with a sympathetic leading lady and some very cute moments.

“Face Your Fears” by Bill Mathis— What is Normalcy?

Mathis, Bill. “Face Your Fears”, Rogue Phoenix Press, 2018.

What is Normalcy?

Amos Lassen

Over the years that I have been reviewing, I have come across several books that stun me and among them are the thrilling fiction and nonfiction of Edmund White, the lyrical prose of Andre Aciman, the gorgeous poetry Emmanuel Xavier and the journalistic skills of Robert Fieseler in “Tinderbox”. I am now going to add “Face Your Fears” by Bill Mathis to that list of books that I cannot imagine being without. The prose is beautiful, the characters are real people who we come to know and love and the idea is brilliant.

Some of you may know that I have, of late, become active in making the world a better place for those with disabilities and this has come out of a friendship with Lisa, a member of my temple who is totally blind. I was never aware that those with disabilities are treated different than those who are “normal” but I have seen it time and time and it break my heart especially because there is o not one person who has a disability that chose to be that way. I have seen bus and train drivers ignore the fact that someone has a hard time getting on the train because they are blind and I have seen riders ignore the fact that someone with a disability is forced to stand while they are comfortably ensconced in seats reading their I-phones. Not all of us are so lucky to have bodies that work properly and those of us that do should help those who do not. All of this is taking us to my review of “Face Your Fears”, a book that dares to “challenge those traditional concepts of normalcy, family, disability and love”.

We meet Nate McGuire, a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy who is being raised in a family of achievers. That should be plenty enough of a challenge but Nate has to be fed, dressed and toileted. He is a beautiful person who also has unique skills and abilities that he gradually becomes aware of. Jude Totsian is one of 10 children raised on a Iowa farm. He has no disability and can change diapers, cook, fix broken equipment and milk cows. He has discovered his vocation as a physical therapist. While these two guys are seemingly total opposites, they both experience tragic teen-age losses, deal with family tragedies, and accept who they are and make peace with what they have been dealt. They both also gay men and eventually together. I found that “Face Your Fears” forced me to reconsider the meaning of the world normal and understand that there are many degrees of the meaning of normal. Bill Mathis does not just share the stories of Nate and Jude but as the story builds, we get a look at how homosexuality was considered in Midwest America before the Supreme Court granted our equality. “…even in 1993, this whole area and school still isn’t ready to handle gays in a respectful manner. You must be careful. You must lead a double life. It’s not fair, but it is what it is”.

We are pulled into the lives of Nate and Jude and into their world where they realize that they are so different from others. We come to understand that they see three reasons for this; physical disability, sexuality and family confusion. It is not enough to have special needs, there are issues of sexuality. We see the challenges that they face and we understand them. In doing so, we fall in love with them, see what they see and feel what they feel. We meet both Nate and Jude as youngsters and are with them through adulthood sharing their lives. This is a love story that is replete with strong characters and who triumph over what has held them back. We have had so many coming-of-age stories and coming out stories that it is wonderful to have one that is different and touches our emotions. I could feel myself both smiling and shedding tears as I read.

The novel is told by Nate and Jude in alternating chapters written in the first person. I found myself waxing nostalgic over my own years as a teen as I read how they dealt with theirs. (Remember how much we all wanted to be in the “A” group only to discover that there was always an “A plus” group?). Teen years are traditionally a time of self-discovery and turmoil and being gay and disabled adds to the anxiety. We find ourselves on an emotional journey filed with intensity.

This is a character driven novel filled with nuanced character development of Nate and Jude and there are wonderful supporting characters, there’s a great range of fully formed characters from family members, friends to lovers, and it is through their interactions that we see and examine their family and social dynamics.

As the story alternates narrators, we join them on their journey and as we do we wan them to succeed at every thing they do. I know that I felt early on that I wanted them to be together. Nate and Jude stay with us after we close the covers. Like I said earlier, we live what Nate and Jude live and we also get a chance to learn about their families. I can imagine that it was not easy for writer Mathis to balance the differing perspectives and he does a very fine job of it. I love this book so much that I am rereading it now.

“BITTER MELON”— A Family

“Bitter Melon”

A Family

Amos Lassen

H.P. Mendoza’s “Bitter Melon” uses raw reality and crude emotions to tell a story that shows us how our psyche functions in his new drama. Declan (Jon Norman Schneider), a young man from Manhattan, and his older brother, Moe (Brian Rivera), have experienced all kinds of neglect and violence growing up, from being abandoned by their parent to having to live with an alcoholic and abusive father. After many years of no contact, the two decide to return to their hometown for a family reunion at Christmas time. When they get there they realize that their other brother, Troy (Patrick Epino) is physically and emotionally abusive towards his wife, Shelly (Theresa Navarro). Their mother, Prisa (Josephine de Jesus) defends and rationalizes his behavior, having been a victim of domestic violence herself. As the story moves forward, family members decide something needs to change and plot together to murder Troy.

As we become involved in the characters’ lives, we see that there are much deeper insights into taboo subjects (the root of dysfunctional behaviors and the desire for revenge). “Bitter Melon” dares to find an explanation for abuse and to presents the shortcomings of trying to solve cruelty with even more cruelty. On the surface, the film is a light-hearted comedy but then it shows sorrow and trauma. We see that dark humor is only a reliable means of delivering sensitive information and truth in an original way that keeps the audience captivated by what they see.

Even though the film deals with a dark subject, it manages to be entertaining and amusing. In the dialogue we hear the clichés that surround domestic violence and intervention. The only bond between our characters is a sort of disturbed, morbid togetherness that comes about as a result of the abuse, abandonment and rejection that they all experienced during childhood. Mendoza manages to create a form of surreal humor that raises essential questions about revenge, the strategies used to help victims and the long-lasting impact of at the lack of love and acceptance. The film makes fun of the quest for justice that is focused on individual punishment rather than a systemic understanding of domestic violence.

The film exaggerates the traits of toxic behaviors, showing the excesses of clinging to familial obligation in spite of blatant abuse. We also get an exploration of feelings of isolation and how we relate to the outside world and each other. “Bitter Melon” has flair, quirkiness and a very strong message.

DADDYHUNT: THE SERIAL Season 3 – Oct. 24th 

DADDYHUNT: THE SERIAL Season 3 – Oct. 24th 

Check out Trailer Premiere on Out.com 

DADDYHUNT: THE SERIAL – SEASON 3 debuts on Oct. 24th and can be viewed and shared on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Daddyhunt or on the Daddyhunt YouTube Channel.

 SEASON 3 SYNOPSIS:

DADDYHUNT: THE SERIAL – SEASON 3 continues the saga of two men who connect on the social network Daddyhunt.  As Season 2 took on the issue of PrEP, Season 3 builds on that with an emphasis on STD testing and partner notification….3 months later. 

The DADDY and BOY’s happy romance is tested when a past love brings to the surface some insecurities and doubts that have profound consequences on the couple.

Meanwhile, the BFF meets his romantic match in a self-depreciating dork, but things take a turn for the worse once his HIV status is discovered.

And the EX’s hopes of a reconciliation with the DADDY may be within reach, with a little help…

Two months later, all their lives converge and each needs to decide whether to let history hold them back or to take a second chance on love.

ABOUT DADDYHUNT

Responding to a surge in those who subscribe to the Daddy label, the Daddyhunt app and website has become one of the largest and fastest growing social networks for men seeking a more authentic approach to meeting guys. On Daddyhunt, members never need to lie about their age — or anything else — just to meet other men.  Daddyhunt celebrates older men and their admirers.

ABOUT BUILDING HEALTHY ONLINE COMMUNITIES (BHOC)

Building Healthy Online Communities is a public-private partnership between dating sites and apps and HIV and STD prevention organizations including the National Coalition of STD Directors, NASTAD, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Project Inform, and AIDS United.

“MAKING MONTGOMERY CLIFT”— A Troubled Life

“MAKING MONTGOMERY CLIFT”

A Troubled Life

Amos Lassen

“Making Montgomery Clift” is a new documentary that gives us a unique look beyond the self-destructive and tortured soul that we have come to associate with the late Montgomery Clift. The film focuses on the happier parts of Clift’s life.

The film was produced and directed by Clift’s nephew, Robert Clift, and his wife, Hillary Demmon “I was always aware that there was a disconnect” between the public perception of Clift and the man his loved ones knew, Robert Clift says. “It was just never addressed in any systematic manner. This film gave me an opportunity to explore that.”

Those of us who remember Clift know that he was a contemporary of Marlon Brando and James Dean and starred in such iconic films as “The Misfits”, “From Here To Eternity”, and “A Place in the Sun”. He was rumored to be gay or bisexual and he was plagued by drug and alcohol addiction for much of his life. He suffered poor health and died of a heart attack at age 45.

Probably the reason that Montgomery Clift has been viewed as a tragic case was the publication of Patricia Bosworth’s 1978 biography, where his image became set as an innovative and very beautiful gay or bisexual actor who destroyed himself due to the external pressures of society.

However, his nephew Robert Clift seeks to give a more nuanced portrait of his uncle in “Making Montgomery Clift,” that is based around a collection of audio tapes and other memorabilia kept by Robert’s father Brooks, who was Clift’s older brother. The Clift remembered here is not the doomed victim but a “highly intelligent, mordantly funny man who successfully fought to keep his creative and sexual integrity intact.”

Clift himself might have enjoyed the title “Making Montgomery Clift” because of its double meaning; to “make” someone, in old-fashioned slang, is to sleep with them, but this is also a movie about the making of Clift’s posthumous image, and Robert Clift very carefully separates fact from fiction or misrepresentation here. He moves beyond most of the sub-Freudian interpretation of his uncle’s life that seemed reasonable or fashionable 40 years ago.

We hear audio recordings of Clift’s mother Sunny speaking to Brooks about the first biography of her son and she is angry and upset and urges Brooks to correct the “untruths” in this book, and we also hear her say that anything he could write would be “superior,” a hint of the high opinion she had of herself and her family.

What we learn of Sunny doesn’t necessarily contradict the books that depicted her as a domineering parent, but we do hear a bit of audio between Sunny and Monty that lets us understand the way he dealt with her — with humor. The film makes it apparent that the screen legend was a very funny guy and that people felt lucky to know him.

Clift’s friend and lover Lorenzo James declined to appear on camera, but we hear him saying that “Monty’s personal life didn’t bother him as much as people thought it did.” From the late 1970s to today, the myth of the “tragic gay star” has been used to define him. As early as 1958, Clift was being confronted by interviewers about his supposed urge toward self-destruction, and he deflected this with humor, saying to one of them that he “enjoyed jokes” too much to kill himself. “

The film fleshes out the actor’s creative integrity and we can see just how much of his own dialogue he edited and re-wrote himself for movies like “The Search” and “From Here to Eternity.”

We also see photos he took during his early theater days of stars he worked with, like Tallulah Bankhead and Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, and a portrait emerges of Clift here as the complete actor as artist. The movie ends at the cemetery where Montgomery Clift is buried (in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, which is not open to the public) and we see that Monty is next to his brother Brooks, who was such a key ally both in life and after his death.

Instead of being a straight-out biography, the film looks at the danger of misconstruing even the smallest of details in someone’s life and behavior. In what feels like a personal, familiar, curious, and compassionate piece, Robert Clift shows us the treatment of a man at the top of his game when gay during the golden years of cinema.

When Montgomery Clift refused to play the studio game in the ’40s and ’50s, it was the only game in town for actors. He wouldn’t sign a contract, he dropped out of Sunset Blvd. just before shooting began, and he turned down many films. His talent was as dazzling as his beauty and Hollywood met him on his exacting terms, and even with a “filmography that numbers fewer than 20 features, his groundbreaking screen performances (four of them Oscar-nominated) are indelible.”

However, the legacy of one of the screen’s greatest actors gave way to tabloid melodrama with his death at 45: Clift became the embodiment of tormented homosexuality, reportedly conflicted over his identity and committing “slow suicide” by booze and pills. Blurring the line between his life and his work, some people were convinced that his anguished performance in “Judgment at Nuremberg” wasn’t acting; it was a nervous breakdown caught on film.

Both Montgomery Clift and his older brother — the filmmaker’s father, Brooks Clift obsessively recorded phone calls, providing a wealth of material for the documentary. The recordings include Brooks’ conversations with Patricia Bosworth, one of the film’s interview subjects and the author of a 1978 biography of Clift that became the mother lode for future chroniclers. Her book, with its questionable conclusions and careless conflation of homosexuality with pederasty, has been the inspiration for many unproduced biopics.

This film unravels the accepted wisdom that Clift’s life was one of inner conflict and painfully guarded truths. In footage of him at leisure, his happiness lights up the screen. He might not have been “out” but his intimates testify that he was anything but closeted. By refusing to sign a studio contract, he was not only maintaining his artistic independence but also protecting his private life from a show marriage, like Rock Hudson’s, that the Hollywood publicity machine insisted on for gay stars.

The directors acknowledge Clift’s problem with alcohol and drugs only slightly and likewise dismiss ideas that he could be difficult to work with. They offer Brooks’ theory that his downward spiral was not a reflection of self-loathing but, in large part, the result of a lawsuit by John Huston over the film “Freud” and a legal bind that essentially prevented a committed artist from doing what he loved for four years. But the filmmakers also let us hear the troubling defensiveness, bordering on incoherence, in Clift’s voice when he discusses the matter on one of those taped calls.

The focus is shifted from Montgomery Clift as a portrait of self-destruction to a serious assessment of his work.

“The Wounded Muse” by Robert F. Delaney

Delaney, Robert F. “The Wounded Muse”, Mosaic Press, 2018.

Transformations

Amos Lassen

 When Qiang returns to his homeland of China from Silicon Valley, he finds Beijing amidst a chaotic transformation as the city prepares to host the 2008 Olympic Games. Entire neighborhoods are being knocked down to make way for new structures that are more in line with the government’s vision of a modern China. What is going on inspires Qiang to film a documentary about the loss of affordable housing and quite naturally security officials become quite interested in what he is doing draws the attention of public security officials. He is suddenly arrested by local police and his friend Jake, an American journalist tries to figure out how to end the detention.

There are two other men who are caught up with what is going on. Teen Dawei meets middle aged Zhihong in Macau, where both men pursue their dreams of being in the movie industry. The four come together when police hold Qiang for the threat they suspect that his documentary presents. Jake is also pulled into an argument between Dawei and Zhihong, who are also now in Beijing, over a movie script. All four men must decide what battle is ultimately worth the fight.

We move back and forth in time. Beginning in 2006, the plot looks at the near and distant past and gives us the back stories of Jake, Qiang, Dawei and Zhihong. The action really picks up at the end, between April 19-24, 2007, before Qiang’s potential release. The plot is quite complicated and we see how each character has planned his life. The story is filled with wonderful descriptions of Beijing as well as what goes on in the heart of our four characters, all of whom are gay men. However, this is not a gay novel—it just so happens that the characters are gay. The various threads are not always easy to follow but that makes this a challenging and exciting read. This is a political thriller as well as something of a love story and is the author’s first novel. The story is based on real events.

“NEVER STEADY, NEVER STILL”— Mother and Son

“Never Steady, Never Still”

Mother and Son

Amos Lassen

Kathleen Hepburn’s feature film is filled with confidence as it brings us the story of Judy (Shirley Henderson), a mother in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease. At the same time, her 19-year-old son Jamie (Théodore Pellerin) is in the advanced stages of sexual confusion which become worse when he leaves the family’s home for a job in the oil fields of Alberta.

The film’s power comes from small moments with big existential rewards such as Jamie finding his mother struggling to clean an oven at 4 a.m., or when he has to lift the helpless Judy out of a freezing bath.

Visually, the film is stunning with British Columbia, providing a gorgeous juxtaposition backdrop for the intimate study of lives narrowed by circumstance. Filmmaker Kathleen Hepburn has expanded her award-winning short that was based upon her own experiences with her mother’s suffering with Parkinson’s Disease. The film is actually a study of familial relationships straining and strengthening under the pressure of serious illness.

Judy is a woman in her 50s who has suffered from Parkinson’s for 19 of her 23 years of marriage to Ed (Nicholas Campbell). The couple live on the very edge of the expansive Stuart Lake, where Ed helps Judy button her jeans and take her pills. They share a relationship of mutual care, affection and easy humor. Judy is fiercely independent despite her advanced illness. Jamie seems to be drifting through life. He spends most of his time with best friend Danny (Jonathan Whitesell). When his parents insist that he go off to work in the oil fields of Alberta, Jamie finds himself in a testosterone-fuelled world that forces him to quiet down and toughen up. When catastrophe strikes at home, Jamie must finally learn to step up to his responsibilities.

Henderson’s performance not only shows us the relentless motion of Judith’s disease but we also see the dignified resignation of a life lived with affliction. We do not get many performances of this caliber and it is often devastating to watch. We also witness

Jamie’s ongoing search for his place in the world. He is both drawn to and repelled by his mother’s disease. He struggles with the enormity of it as well as also dealing with his own issues, especially his sexuality; he briefly fantasizes about kissing Danny, and engages in a couple of short-lived fumbles with a bored prostitute and sweet, heavily pregnant local girl Kaly.

Shooting on 35mm, Norm Li’s expressive cinematography underscores the emotional tumult playing out in this peaceful locale. Long held wide shots take in the still isolation of the landscape, and some are painterly in their composition — a vase reflects the clouds, a boat rests on the shore.  Similarly, the evocative score by Ben Fox has an aural duality, layering soft, reverberating chords over more frantic, pulsing strings.

Hepburn avoids the histrionics and melodrama often associated with such stories and instead gives a keen-eyed, compassionate observation of the impact of illness that. She does not avoid the disease’s emotional toll even as she celebrates the strength and sanctuary a family can provide.

“ROOM TO GROW”— Series Premiere  October 11th,  National Coming Out Day

 

“ROOM TO GROW”

Series Premiere  October 11th,  National Coming Out Day

Amos Lassen

Premiering on Oct. 11th, this inspiringly heartwarming docu-series chronicling the lives of LGBTQ+ teens and families in cities across North America, offering an intimate glimpse into their daily lives as they endeavor to find an identity that fits and a place in their communities.  The premiere episode introduces Savannah (star of the HBO doc BELIEVER about Imagine Dragon’s Dan Reynold’s charity) and her viral moment of being shut out of the Mormon church.  

“Fascinating…fresh, compelling…rousing and eye-opening…affecting…moving…most engaging. All but the most intolerant members of our society will have some of their assumptions shaken by these forthright and intelligent kids.”  – Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter

 A Revry Original

Directed, Produced and Cinematography by Matt Albers & Jon Garcia

“An intriguing cast of teenage characters enlivens…triumphant moments…with racial as well as sexual or gender issues…poignantly caught…throughout this humane document.” – Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter

Revry Original docu-series ROOM TO GROW chronicles the lives and stories of LGBTQ+ teens and families in cities across North America, offering an up-close and intimate glimpse into their daily lives as they endeavor to find an identity that fits and a place in  their communities.  ROOM TO GROW shows just how important it is for LGBTQ+ teenagers to receive the support they need at home, at school, at church, and in the world to reach their full potential.  Kids grow up fast, and it’s amazing how much these teenagers changed within 12 months.  The Bridging Voices Queer Youth Chorus is a Portland singing group that provides a safe and supportive space for LGBTQ+ youth.  

Matt Alber – Co-Director / Producer

Matt Alber is a two-time Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, filmmaker and LGBTQ+ youth educator based in Portland, OR.  Matt’s music has been featured on ABC’s The Fosters and Bones.  He has performed on stages world-wide from Lincoln Center to Tchaikovsky Hall.  In 2015, the U.S. State Department sent Matt to Russia, Hungary, Kosovo, Estonia, Finland and Sudan as an Artist Diplomat to work with young artists and at-risk youth.  He holds a degree in voice and composition and is the co-founder of Room To Grow Productions, a documentary-focused film studio in Portland, OR.

Jon Garcia – Co-Director / Producer

Jon Garcia is an accomplished musician and Emmy-nominated filmmaker currently living in Portland, OR.  He earned a BA in Film Studies from Portland State University.  He has released feature films in varying genres in his short career as a filmmaker, including the cult trilogy THE FALLS, THE FALLS: TESTAMENT OF LOVE, and THE FALLS: COVENANT OF GRACE being the most well known.  The films have screened in film festivals all over the world and have been available on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, iTunes and many other platforms.  He is also the co-founder of Room To Grow Productions, a documentary-focused film studio in Portland, OR.

About Revry

Revry is the first global queer streaming network, available in 35 million homes in over 100 countries, with a uniquely curated selection of LGBTQ+ film, series, and originals along with the world’s largest queer libraries of groundbreaking podcasts, albums and music videos. Revry is available worldwide on seven OTT, mobile, and online platforms, and hosts the exclusive LGBTQ+ channels on Pluto TV and XUMO. Headquartered in Los Angeles, Revry is led by an inclusive team of queer, multi-ethnic and allied partners who bring decades of experience in the fields of tech, digital media, and LGBTQ+ advocacy.  Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @REVRYTV. Go Online to: https://revry.tv.