Cinema Diverse: What Makes It So Special?
Though Palm Springs has become home to multiple film festivals featuring a myriad LGBT productions, Cinema Diverse, now in its sixth year, remains the desert’s only strictly gay filmfest. The Rage Monthly asked Executive Director Michael C. Green for some insight about what’s special about Cinema Diverse 2013 on Thursday, September 19 through Sunday, September 22.
Turns out, there’s a lot to distinguish this year’s event because there are many intriguing titles among the Cinema Diverse entrants this year. Perhaps the most intriguing "Chicken Soup with Knives," the most provocative could be "Undressing Israel (Gay Men in the Promised Land)." Of course, "Hot Guys with Guns" has to be the most overtly sexual title this year. But, is it fair to say that "Southern Fried Sissies" is the most anticipated film this year?
That is a tough one to answer. Del Shores is extremely popular in Palm Springs, so it probably is the most highly-anticipated film.
Can you give us a little background about what makes Cinema Diverse different from other LGBT-themed film festivals?
We are the only one that focuses exclusively on LGBT films and filmmakers. Our festival also pairs a short and a feature together for each screening, so you always see one of each. In addition, we accept shorts that are longer than most film festivals typically accept. We will consider a short that is over 20 minutes and up to 30 minutes. Last year, several of our 30-minute shorts were among our most popular.
For the uninitiated, what are some do’s and don’ts to remember at any film festival?
Always plan out your screenings and purchase your tickets early. Likewise, try to arrive a bit early, especially if you think it will be a popular screening.
What are the pricing options?
The All Access Pass is, of course the best deal. But we understand that folks may not have the free time to see all, or most of the films. For them, we offer a six-pack deal. Tickets to individual screenings are $13 each.
How has Cinema Diverse evolved through the years?
We’ve grown quite a bit, especially in the last couple of years. Last year, we more than doubled the number of screenings, and this year we’ve maintained that level of programming and even grown it a little. Four days is a good size for us.
Please tell us about some of the successful filmmakers and artists who made their debuts or early appearances in Cinema Diverse entry films.
Because we’re a smaller festival, we don’t get as many premieres as the larger festivals. At the same time, though, we’ve grown along with some of our filmmakers (like Chad Darnell), seen them get their start, do a couple of shorts, then move to features. It’s exciting to be a part of that growth.
Another thing we’re able to do as a smaller festival that comes after so many of the larger, is to really focus on finding the best of the best to screen at our festival.
Who should we keep our eyes on this year?
This was a banner year in LGBT filmmaking, so many great films! I’m excited about so many of them - Jane Clark’s extraordinary film, "Meth Head"; a dark psychological thriller called "Celluloid from Great Britain"; Michael Lucas’ documentary, "Undressing Israel (Gay Men in the Promised Land)"; Leora Eisenstein’s powerful documentary "Me’rak Of Im Sakinim" about searching for her roots and lost family property taken during the Holocaust; "Leather," an award-winning film about male relationships, fathers and sons and common interests.
I could go on and on. You really have to read through the schedule. It is absolutely filled with gems!