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.
Relationships are complicated. In the LGBT community, relationships are inherently complicated as they can challenge notions of sex, gender, and more. They are at the heart of the LGBT community and, even with gay marriage today, practicing the relationships we want is still an issue. Filmmaker Ian Samuels is confronting an LGBT relationship in his short film The Eyes And The Ice. In the film, a young man must confront a lot, all of which is set agains his relationship with an older man. The film plays with a lot in its eleven minutes, which is awesome considering this is Ian’s first Outfest entry.
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?
This is my first screening at Outfest! I’m so thrilled to be a part of the Outfest community.
When I was maybe 10, I found a cloudy human eye frozen in some ice on my driveway in Massachusetts. I waited for the thaw to discover it was just some left over melting Halloween candy. I still like finding fantastic stories in banal everyday life. Now I’m making shorts and ads and hybrid puppetry work about them.
My short contextualizes this image of the eye in the ice within the story of a young man coming to terms with his relationship with an older man. The discovery of the eye opens up a lot of questions, without being too explicit: feelings of insecurity, of immaturity, of looking at things superficially.
This is also the most overtly autobiographical film I’ve made. I made it while in a deep relationship with an older man. I’m happy to participate in Outfest for the first time with a film that is so close to me, from the images to the characters and their core complexities.
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?
This gets me thinking how much LGBT filmmaking has changed with the LGBT politics in the past 30 years. I notice a lot of modern LGBT films exploring specific types of relationships (cultures, dynamics, gender roles). An audience member in San Francisco said he was releived to see a middle aged man in my film. The truth is, not every gay relationship is actually about cherubic 20-something year olds hooking up.
The gay relationship in my short is incidental, but core to the story. Both characters are on equal gender identifying grounds… and age becomes the sole curiosity. It’s a specific, underrepresented dynamic that I think will complement the range of relationships depicted at the festival this year.
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 hope audiences get a sense of my point of view as a filmmaker. And that they open to the humanity, however complex, of different kinds of relationships and the legitimacy of different kinds of relationships.
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?
The landscape will be familiar to a lot of Angelenos. It was filmed nearby in Big Bear. But I think the audience here has a unique perspective since LGBT relationships are fairly visible in this city. I’m hoping local audiences will focus more on the characters and heart over the unconventional nature of the relationship.
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’m screening next in New York City at Newfest and then on to other festivals. I hope to share this story with as many different communities as I can. It’s important to expose sincere voices of gay relationships as America argues over the definition of marriage and suggests the illigitimacy of certain types of love, something that will inevitably play a role in the upcoming election. I just finished a new short called Caterwaul that deals with another unconventional relationship… between a Cape Cod fisherman and a lobster. Some catch. I’m hoping to get that out for similar reasons. And then I’m working on short form ad work and a feature that will take all of these themes and hybrid puppetry to another level.
The Eyes And The Ice will be screening twice at Outfest. The first screening will be this Sunday at July 15 at Harmony Gold (which we will be at!) as well as July 21 at the Director’s Guild. Both will be included in a group of similarly as wonderful short pieces. For more on the film, check out Ian’s website. It’s a great little movie.