Cinevegas's Gay Fare
BY Steve Friess
June 11 2009 12:00 AM ET
Another documentary that delves into the same era to some extent is It Came From Kuchar , an intriguing look into the lives of gay filmmaking twins George and Mike Kuchar, who are scheduled to attend the movie's three Vegas screenings and receive the festival's Vanguard Director award. The Kuchars are legendary schlockmeisters whose low-budget cult films starring their friends, neighbors, relatives, and students were the quintessence of the 1960s and 1970s "underground cinema" movement, but director Jennifer M. Kroot brings the decidedly weird duo into the present day as well through extensive interviews with the likes of Pink Flamingos auteur John Waters, who credits them as a major inspiration.
Alvarez had submitted Easier With Practice to Sundance and was asked by Groth to instead premiere it at Cinevegas. The young director, who quit a gig as Warren Beatty's assistant to pursue the making of the $1 million picture, is grateful, hoping that the Vegas audiences will enjoy the first entry of a career in which he is eager to examine issues of sexuality in a variety of ways.
"Some of the films I loved growing up always dealt with gay issues but never immediately, films like Chuck and Buck and Mysterious Skin ," said Alvarez, whose partner of five years, Gary Barbosa, is also his art director.
Whether the main character of Easier With Practice is gay is an important question mark in the film, but another movie at this year's Cinevegas, Humpday, features a pair of definitely straight college buddies in Seattle who dare one another to make a gay porno together for a Seattle alt-weekly newspaper contest. The surprise of the film, which won director Lynn Shelton a special jury prize at Sundance this year, is how deftly it allows the two male leads' difficulties with engaging in same-sex relations to be insightful about their views of masculinity without devolving into homophobia.