Outfest 2012 is happening in Los Angeles from July 12 through July 22. To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the Los Angeles LGBT film festival, we will be sharing interviews with filmmakers and persons involved with movies being screened. See all of our Outfest Interviews here.
A few weeks ago, Drew Droege told us that he would be in two musical shorts: dance-turned-civil-war short Big Breakin’ and celebrity packed Weho satirizing Something Real. One of the two caught our ear and rang around our heads as uniquely Los Angeles. Obviously, it’s the one about West Hollywood. The musical short is from filmmaker Guy Shalem, a Los Angeles based writer, director, and producer who has worked on everything from Betty White’s Off Their Rockers to Jeff Marx and Mervyn Warren. We had the chance to speak with him about his all star cast, how West Hollywood can be, and the location, which may be familiar to many.
Outfest is one of the most well known LGBT film festivals in the world and has had films shared that have gone on to have profound affects on the world. Can you tell us a little bit yourself and your film? Is this the first time you’ve had a film shown at Outfest?
I’ve written and directed several half-hour comedy pilots and created the cult comedy Lovespring International for Lifetime, starring Jane Lynch. I presented my short film Gay Shark Tank to Jane at Outfest in 2010. That was my first Outfest film, a commentary on the tough realities gay men face on the Internet. None of us expected a short with talking heads to hold the audience’s attention for 15 minutes, but the Boy’s Shorts audiences seemed to enjoy it that year.
With this new film, Something Real, we set our goal to make a commentary on the gay bar scene in West Hollywood. It’s to the credit of our fantastic crew lead by producers, Felix Pire and Michael Coulombe, that the project went so well. We managed to shoot it in a prime West Hollywood location, Here Lounge, in 7 hours or so, which is incredible if you think about the fact that there’s not only acting in it, but also singing and choreography with over 40 actors and dancers.
There is a lot going on at Outfest this year–and it is the 30th year of the festival! How does your film fit into Outfest? What are you hoping it brings to the wide variety of different films being shared in the festival?
I think that by creating a film that takes on the darker realities of our “gay scene” which we oftentimes don’t like to acknowledge, we did that. In Something Real, we dare to do just that: get real, and we do that using some fun devices like song and dance. Luckily, Outfest saw fit to add a second screening before the feature film, Eliot’s Loves, on July 15th, and we’re very grateful for that.
People will be coming from all over the world to share and see films at Outfest. What are you hoping people take away from your film?
I sincerely hope they have a good time. I mean, yes, we’re being critical, but it’s couched in comedy. C’mon: Bruce Vilanch? Miss Coco Peru? Outfest award-winning Drew Droege and Rex Lee? You know you’re going to laugh… That’s stylistically consistent with the work I like to create. It’s a serious topic that we’re dealing with, but we’re telling our story with as much heart and laughs as we can muster. I hope people go away humming the glorious song that Jeff Marx and Mervyn Warren created. Dark as it may be, it’s still a great deal of fun!
Similarly, is there anything specifically Angelenos can take away from your film? Your work speaks to multiple audiences; however, are there certain themes, images, or concepts that may hit Angelenos deeper than other viewers?
Yes, certainly. This film is all about the unspoken truth of WeHo, who we really are versus how they show us on the nightly news as… You know, with gay liberation and living out in the open, also comes the responsibility of introspection about who we are and how we fit into Los Angeles. Many Angelenos think of us exclusively during the summertime, when Gay Pride is happening, or when we have our annual festival on Halloween, but there are many gays that like to have quiet lives, away from West Hollywood. Angelenos will recognize Here Lounge and especially the truth behind the comedy we’re presenting.
Looking into the future, what’s next for you and the film after Outfest? Where else will your film be going? What are you hopes for the film?
I haven’t considered my next project yet, but I’m forming a new content development company, and have just finished writing feature film screenplay dealing with the contribution of women to the very beginnings of the airline industry, which I’m very excited about! If you’d like to know more, please visit my website.
Something Real is going to be a hoot, most definitely, and will be closing out the Musical Shorts program this Wednesday at 10PM, screening at the DGA. For more on the film, be sure to give them a Like on Facebook.