Monday, June 30, 2008

Behind the Scenes of SHELTER

Today, I'm opening up my private collection of Behind the Scenes stuff from SHELTER.

If you've been living under a rock, I produced a little gay film last year called SHELTER. It just came out on dvd, and here's select clips from the "making of video" that is included in the special features (to see the whole thing, check out the dvd).

If you don't have your copy of SHELTER yet, the BUY button is to your left. You can also rent it at Blockbuster and put it on your netflix cue - but be forwarned, there is currently a one month waitlist for it. We got a B+ from Entertainment Weekly and OUT called it "an instant classic".

The video includes interviews with stars Brad Rowe, Trevor Wright, Tina Holmes, writer/director Jonah Markowitz and myself with set video shot during our 18 day shoot on the beaches of Southern California.

And here are our photos from the set.


I found this script - which was honestly, really good - after Paul Colichman from the here! network contacted me about producing a film for him. Paul wanted to delve into the "film festival independent" rhelm of indie gay film making, and liked my track record. I had another script I wanted to make called ON THE LOW, but here! had just bought The DL Chronicles which had a similar subject matter (but totally different!), so that went out the window.

I had been friends with Jonah through Anne Clements (producer, Quincenera) for years, and I heard through the grapevine that although SHELTER did NOT win the Outfest Screenwriting Lab (a competition each year for lgbt scripts) people kept saying kind things about it. I called him up, he gave it to me and the minute I read it it was a done deal in my book.

It took some slight convincing to sell the project (It was a very ambitious project with an unproven director, plus the development department pitched their own choices for a film I would produce - which were similar to the other films they usually do - see In Her Line of Fire, Trapped and Murder.Com).

Paul got 100% behind it and we set out to shoot it in December - a cold month for the beach, but as Jonah always said, a good month for waves. The film was shot in a record 18 days on super 16mm film with the help of some incredibly talented and dedicated people including the production design department of Denise Hudson, Gabor Norman and Michael Fitzgerald, our editor Michael Hofacre and our director of photography Joe White. We also tapped the talents of an a list surf DP, David Warshauer, who shot all the surfing footage.


Trevor was our first and only choice for ZACH, but Jonah had selected another actor to play SHAUN.

That actor got cold feet about playing gay a few days before our shoot began, so Anne Clements suggested Brad Rowe - a friend of her's - and she did a personal ask to him. Rowe - like the others that came on board - loved the script and agreed to do it. He learned the entire script in two days.

We also had a hard time casting the tough role of Zach's sister, Jeannie. All the women who auditioned played it too one-note or stereotypical. It is a very white trash, fucked up role, but we didn't want it to be cliched.

Our casting director, Jason Wood did a personal ask to Tina Holmes who was in Six Feet Under and Half Nelson. We knew the work of Tina and Brad, and both were cast without auditions.

Once on set, I found it interesting that both Brad and Tina's first films were gay - Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss and Edge of Seventeen (by Todd Stephens director of Another Gay Movie).

The L Word, South of Nowhere, Work Out and Loving Annabelle - together on set

Last week, the stars of several lesbian films and tv shows got together for a good cause: to participate in a public service announcement for The Point Foundation.

The PSA starred Clementine Ford and Rose Rollins from THE L WORD; Katherine Brooks - writer/director of LOVING ANNABELLE and star Erin Kelly; Gabrielle Christian and Maeve Quinlan from SOUTH OF NOWHERE, Jackie Warner and Rebecca Cardon from WORK OUT and Thea Gill from QUEER AS FOLK.

I produced and directed a script by Dara Nai from Dara wrote a very funny script that played on the characters these women portray on film.

Here I am at left trying to work a musical number into the scene.

With or without the musical number, this spot will premiere on the SEASON 5 L WORD DVD. More info on pre ordering that with a special gift at bottom of post.(includes a limited time free gift plus insider info: Wolfe generally ships a bit before the official release date so you may get it early!)

I have to say, as far as shoots go, this one was an absolute blast. Everyone that came in was not only sweet, but fun. Good energy all around. Then I realized - of course we had a great time - this was for charity and everyone there was donating their time for free because they care and want to affect change... so of course they're all so fucking cool!

For a glimpse into the shoot...which was pretty much laughs all day... here are the outtakes.

clementine ford the l word rose rollinsClementine Ford and Rose Rollins from THE L WORD could not stop laughing.

jackie warner rebecca cardonNeither could Jackie Warner and Rebecca Cardon from WORK OUT. Well, Dara's script was very funny.

Charlie David from DANTE'S COVE & MULLIGANS came to support bf Brandon Kneefel who is a Point Scholar. Pictured here with myself, Katherine Brooks, Erin Kelly, Brandon and Dara Nai.
The Point Foundation's Jennifer Kormel gets Scholar Kee Kee Watkins ready for her close up.

All three scholars who starred in this PSA were either kicked out of their homes, or left because of rejection from their parents after coming out as gay. All three actually slept on couches and lived with friends, left without the basic support of a loving family...just because they admitted being gay.

The Point Foundation is an incredible organization that provides full scholarships to LGBT students of merit and need.

In addition to receiving full scholarships, they are also provided a mentor in their field. In return the scholars are required to volunteer for non profit LGBT organizations in their cities.

Point Scholars are currently at colleges all around the US including Havard, NYU, Julliard, Tufts, Vanderbilt, Princeton, Emory, Smith, USC, Georgetown, Brown, Columbia, Yale, Johns Hopkins, and American.

As Dara says, "they are all smarty pants".

Point not only supplies full scholarships and mentors, they also provide support and many refer to the organization as their second family (or in most cases, their only family). Together, the mentors and scholars have created a rich, vibrant community of people who are committed to creating change in our community.

With Point Scholar Britany Bjurstrom from Wellesley College. As you can see, she's very camera shy.

If you need money for college and are LGB or T, go to to find out how to apply for a full college scholarship. .

If you'd like to support educating our youth and building our LGBT leaders of the future, please consider giving a donation. All the actors in this video donated their time in support of this wonderful, life changing organization.

If we continue to be denied rights in this country and opposed by those that seek to silence or condemn us, the least we can do as a community is reach out to our youth and offer them the support and encouragement they deserve, until we do indeed reach a time and place where all men are created and treated equal.

With Cinematographer Kari D'Allessandro. Yes, she's a lesbian too.

Brandon prepares.

Clementine and Thea in hair and make up.

Sam Rowley with Thea Gill.

Gabrielle Christian and Maeve Quinlan play daughter and mother in SOUTH OF NOWHERE.

Rose, Clementine pose with Katherine and Erin.

"Will they ever stop laughing"

" much can we get away with in this script..."

With make up artist Jeffrey Paul. The two butches with the gay - it's the only way movies get made.

"Does this thing get the Playboy channel?"

The PSA will be on the upcoming dvd of Season 5 of THE L WORD, which will come out on October 21.

As you can see, I was totally worn out from directing beautiful women all day.

"Please, no more beautiful women. I can't take any more!"

All photos by Brian Putnam of Putnam Photography.

Director Katherine Brooks and Erin Kelly, the star of her iconic lesbian coming-out-at-catholic-school film LOVING ANNABELLE recorded video at the shoot and did this funny vlog:

The Point Foundation was started by two wealthy gay men who were looking around for a good lgbt org to donate some 0f that cash-dinero to. They found none quite matched their interests, so they started Point. In the first year, Bruce Lindstrom and his partner Carl Strickland put 7 kids through college. Just them. That's right. They personally gave 7 lgbt youths a full college education.

That was in 2001, and subsequently more affluent and influential members of our community have stepped up to donate money. Currently there are 90 scholars, and 42 alumni.

Thank you Point Foundation and all those that support!

Friday, June 27, 2008




No LGBT Filmmakers or Actors were Harmed in this video,

only highly offended.

Things we discussed in the mire:

Charlie David (I'm sorry, honey)
Jonah Blechman
The Muppets
Perez Hilton (I'm not sorry. If he can dish it out he, can take it)
Chad Allen
TR Knight (I apologize)
Margot Kidder (I apologize - it is not polite to make fun of the mentality disabled and we at whole heartedly support and commend all those living with and overcoming mental illness. Heck, that's usually my dating pool!)
Bruce Vilanch
Alexandra Paul
Ron Oliver
Heather Matarazzo
Scott Thompson
Maurice Jamal (especially since Jason is shooting on his new film with him today)
My botox
Jason's hair cut

with reviews and clips from the films:

Mulligans starring Charlie David
On the Other Hand, Death starring Chad Allen
Ski Trip 2 with Maurice Jamal
Were the Wold Mine
U People
Some movie Jason made that didn't get into Outfest

and on set video from


Someone commented that we sounded like Statler and Waldorf reviewing the upcoming LGBT films. One would like to be compared to Angelina Jolie, but you know, there it is.'s the Outfest preview with your own very gay muppets.

For more of my picks for OUTFEST, click here and tune in Monday for more reviews and sneak peaks of films premiering at your local LGBT film festivals this year.

It is with great honor (and surprise at that) that I introduce you to the Jason Stuart vlog affectionately called OYE I CAN'T GET A WORD IN EDGEWISE: The Jason Stuart Vlog with JD.

Please note, he started as a guest on MY vlog. Then it turned into The Jason and JD Vlog. Now it's just the Jason Show and I'm the side kick but such is the business.

In this vlog, no matter the guests, no one will finish a sentence. That's a guarantee.

Generally Jason and I sound like an old Jewish couple on the Jersey shore, so hence he now calls me his "TV wife". He doesn't want to tell his mother he has a wife since he thinks it'll confuse her, but honestly I think she thinks I'm a man anyway.

In this vlog, I've decided NOT to edit out the dishy comments. So please forgive us, it's all in the spirit of honesty.

Jason is an actor, comedian and activist and currently the head of the SAG LGBT Committee in addition to being in like 20 million gay films right now at Blockbuster.

You mighta seen him on WILL & GRACE or EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS so basically any sitcom as the gay man.

He still tours the country doing stand up and also works as an actor in theatre. He also stars in his own special for the here! network called JASON STUART: MAKING IT TO THE MIDDLE.

Jason's also got a few films on the festival circuit now. It's like he's like Ryan Seacrest, only he's out.

He's worked with everyone (as you can see from all the photos on the left which I call his "star fucker gallery") and has something dishy to say about all of 'em.

Anyway, without further ado:

EPISODE 3: Comedianpalooza

Jason's interview with Michele Balan and

Poppy Champlin

There are more one liners in this episode than you can shake a stick (or grown) at.

What happens when three comedians take the stage at once? It'll feel like the Catskills in the 1960's all over again. Get ready for three east coast comedians, live and uncensored.

Poppy Champlin and Michelle Balan have been doing comedy more years than they'll probably let me say. Michelle made a big splash two years ago as the last woman standing on LAST COMIC STANDING.

You can see Poppy once a month at her show at Girl Bar in Los Angeles, and if you've been to Dinah Shore you've probably seen her headline there. She's also been on the Rosie Cruise, RSVP... the whole gay circuit. If you're in P town now, you can catch her there.

We went to the Standard Hotel here in LA on the Sunset Strip one Sunday afternoon to attend the INSTINCT MAGAZINE 10 year anniversary party and that's where we (secretly) filmed this vlog. I kept in the part where we pretend for the waitress that we're not taping. Also Poppy is barely in this vlog mainly because she sat on the side with me eating the chocolate fondue.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The SmokingCocktail Mixer Photos and Dish

Hello darlings, and thank you for making this the biggest SmokingCocktail ever!

Money and awareness was raised for EQUALITY FOR ALL, plus we all got a sneak peak of some of the hot new lgbt films coming out this year (and premiering at OUTFEST). Thank you to OUTFEST for donating so many tickets to the festival, Paige Hurwitz from Last Comic Standing for donating all the wine for your gift bags, Michelle Wong at Warner Brothers for all the juicy dvd's, and TLA video for donating all their lgbt dvd titles.

And now, just in case you don't remember, some photos from last night care of Brian Putnam.

In other news, there will be a new episode of The Jason Stuart Vlog (Oye, I can't Get a Word in Edgewise) tomorrow, Cathy's vlog WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM? on Monday and a special Frameline edition of Ashley's vlog Trans Forming Media next Tuesday.

if you haven't been to one of these yet, here's some photos from past mixers so you can see what all the buzz is about: