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Xtra Xposed – Amber Dawn, Vancouver Queer Film Festival

So who caught the latest round of Hook Me Up: I Want A Modeling Contract Sunday night at Pulse? Those models…ughn! Congrats to Rob and Brandon and team for putting on a great show. I hosted the bejeesus out of that shit with my partner in crime Rob Easton. Hope y'all had fun.

Okay. The countdown in on for the Vancouver Queer Film Festival. In advance of the opening gala this Thursday, I sat down with Amber Dawn, who took over the role as Director of Programming this past January, for Up Your Alley's most recent Xtra Xposed segment. Former Hero of the Year winner, Amber is a writer, community activist and performance artist extraordinaire. I've had the pleasure of sharing a stage with her on multiple occassions. Here's what she had to say about the upcoming festival:

Up Your Alley (UYA): If you were to recommend one of your books to someone unfamiliar to your
work, which one(s) would it be?

I would recommend “Fist of the Spider Woman: Tales of Queer Fear
and Desire.” It’s an anthology which asks 15 women authors “what
do you fear most?” and “what do you desire most.” The stories
and poems range from lesbian vampire erotic fantasy fiction to a poetic
conversation between a third-wave feminist and the Marquis de Sade.

UYA: After years of freelancing and touring as a writer and performance artist,
what made you join forces with OOS?

I truly believe that my greatest art is “making sh*t happen.”
I thrive on art that engages a larger community and I love to collaborate with others.
Out On Screen is my perfect work environment. The have a 21 year history of
making magic happen on a dime and a dream. The Queer Film Festival is like no
other event I know of for it’s ability to bring our community together
with integrity, spirit and celebration. I very much hope to do the Festival
audience proud.

UYA: What aesthetic have you brought to this year's programming and why?

It was fairly easy to program a dynamic festival because there is an
ever-growing pool of queer films to choose from. From horror flicks to sweet
romantic comedies to eye-opening documentaries to family films … there
isn’t a genre that queer directors have shyed away from. You’ll
notice in the Festival guide the Focus on Hope and Focus on Asian Voices –
Focus on Hope showcases documentaries that aim to inspire dialogue and change.
These documentaries feature many outstanding queer heroes from around the world.
Focus on Asian Voices brings us the best from queer Asian directors.

UYA: Talk to me a little bit about the theme to this year's festival: Satisfy
Your Cravings…

First off, it’s fun. Secondly, the message is about encouragement.
We’re encouraging our audience to experience their desires, hopes,
thoughts and passions to the fullest at our Festival. Last, it speaks to our
aim that we bring a little something for everyone’s tastes, whether that
be it political documentaries or quirky musicals or one of our many parties.

UYA: What are the must-see films this year? 

Gosh, it’s hard to say. FIG TREES is by my favorite Canadian
director, John Greyson, and I believe it is his very best work. I knew within
the first 5 minutes of watching that film that I wanted to bring it to our
Festival. HALF LIFE is part of our Focus on Asian Voices and is a very unique,
very beautiful science fiction domestic drama; very fresh story line that will
keep you guessing what will happen next. The STRACHEY gay detective double
feature on Saturday August 15th will be a ton of fun and was filmed
here in Vancouver.
And TARNATION … whether you’ve seen this film before or not, I’d
strongly suggest coming out to meet our Spotlight Director Jonathan Caouette
and watch his very brave and personal autobiographical documentary about growing
up queer in Texas
with his mentally ill mother; this is a hard knocks story with a lot of heart.

UYA: What's next for Amber Dawn?

Are you kidding, I’m sticking around the Festival for the next
three years at least. Oh, and I have my first novel coming out with Arsenal
Pulp Press in Fall 2010; it’s a magical realism novel about runaway girls
called SUBROSA.


For more information on the VQFF, please click here.