Film festival favorite sparks controversy

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com December 18 2001 12:00 AM ET

Shawn Derr's underground film Fucked in the Face, about a gay man in love with a serial killer, has sparked controversy in Britain, where the film is screening as part of a gay film series. Face, along with Durr's film Meatfucker and a short film about Jeffrey Dahmer, are part of the lineup of "Chicago Deep Dish Underground!", a festival programmed by film theorist and author Jack Sergeant and the London arts group KinoKulture. The organizers describe the program as "an evening of new queer/straight/unsafe/dangerous/sexy fun fun fun hubba hubba hubba porno from America's underbelly." John Beyer, director of Mediawatch UK, told RainbowNetwork.com, "It is harmful to present serial killers as celebrities to emulate or glamorize. It adds to the violence in society rather than stop[s] it. ... There are consequences for society because it harms our civilization and values." Sergeant responded, "If Mediawatch think either the filmmakers or myself are really harming civilization, then I am flattered. However, I would suggest that the way in which people watch films and relate to protagonists is a little more complex than just thinking that a serial killer is 'cool' or whatever. I'd suggest that identification is schizophrenic and switches across protagonists as a narrative progresses. Also, to put it bluntly, I think that people understand the difference between fantasy and reality." Fucked in the Face has screened to great acclaim at several gay and underground film festivals in the United States.