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.
One thing Outfest champions through its films is sex. If we learned anything from Outfest opening film Vito, it is the practice and embracing of how people have sex is integral to the LGBT community. There is one film that will be screening Sunday at Outfest that is carrying the sex in film torch quite far–so far that it is an NC-17! The film is Kyle Henry‘s Fourplay. The film shares a series of four sex filled vignettes and is guaranteed to give viewers a fun sex fantasy of a film experience. We spoke with Henry–who directed the film–on its inclusion at Outfest, what it means to be NC-17, and how Michael Stipe is involved in all of this.
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’m Kyle Henry, the director of Fourplay, four short tales of sexual intimacy. In the film, a lesbian singer’s crush on her choir partner takes an unexpected turn when she’s asked to dogsit, a couple arrive at a turning point in their relationship while visiting the back room of a porno arcade, a poorly endowed man finds himself in the cruisiest bathroom ever, and a cross-dressing sex-worker helps an ill john find peace. Two of the four tales have played previously at Outfest, as well as Sundance and Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight, so in many ways this feels like a homecoming for me and the film. It was Outfest who first took a chance on the sex-worker short, which went on to win awards at Newfest and many other festivals. I’ve been making films for over 15 years now, and my first feature doc about a gay rodeo champ, American Cowboy, played at Outfest in 1997. I’m the son of an ex-Marine Corp drill instructor father and elementary arts school educator mother … which explains a lot for those who see Fourplay.
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?
We’re here at Outfest to keep the radical cinema flame burning bright with the best that film has to offer: big laughs, shocking insights, playful critique, and hopefully a little insight into the thing that none of us feel really comfortable approaching with honesty… sex. Guaranteed, you’ve never seen anything like this! You’ll never think of little fluffy white dogs the same way again, and you’ll certainly never guess what “visitations” can occur at your local mall restroom. Most importantly, you’ll hopefully have PLENTY to talk about afterward. Again, when’s the last time you saw an NC-17 rated slap-stick gang-bang bathroom farce? Or a touching and emotionally gripping story about a sex-worker and a disabled client? Oh, and the film is executive produced by Michael Stipe!
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 want the audience to laugh and cry and in the end, leave a little bit of shame behind them regarding their own sexual peccadillos. The stories of Fourplay deal with deviance, but they challenge you to empathize and care for the participants, and hopefully they hold up an honest mirror to the audiences’ own diverse sexual history. Films you remember are cathartic, they need to take you scary places you didn’t even know you needed to explore, but once you make it to the end, they should mark you. Come get your drink on at the pre-screening reception at 7:30PM to get properly in the mood for love!
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?
Perhaps the one thing that might hit Angelenos deeper is the film’s challenge to look beyond of the surface, but this is probably a stereotype as Los Angeles is an amazingly diverse city, not just the Hollywood glitter palace it sells itself to be to the rest of the country. Again, the film is sophisticated and moving, which I think will shock some people who think perhaps just because it’s NC-17 stuff it’s all about titillation or eroticism. Unfortunately, when you deal candidly but creatively with stories about sex, where the acts of sex themselves are vital elements of the stories, American’s sometimes freak out. Have you seen how few NC-17 films are produced each year? And how few actually have the goal of eradicating shame versus promulgating it?
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?
Immediately after Outfest, I’m going with Fourplay to San Miguel Allende for the Guanajuato International Film Fest‘s crazy Midnight Madness section, where they screen LGBT work in an underground cavern complex. Nuts! In the more distant future, we’ll hopefully find a distributor after Outfest to make the film available both online and on DVD after a mini-theatrical run in early 2013, which will hopefully include LA. Finally, I hope the film sparks conversation wherever it continues to play about sex and shame. More sex, less shame.
Does Fourplay *not* sound amazing? We’re so excited to see it!! Even if we can’t make it Sunday, we’re pumped to see it at some point. The movie is screening at Director’s Guild at 9:30PM on the 15th. You can also give the film a Like on Facebook to keep up with what is going on with the film.