At the start of its second decade, the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film and Video Festival is finally hitting its stride, says the fest’s exec director Larry Horne. The 238 films and videos being shown at this year’s event, which began Thursday and runs through Sunday at the Director’s Guild of America, is 40 more than last year.
As of the second day of the festival, ticket sales were ahead of 1992 by 150 %. Closing-night programs, the Sandra Bernhard documentary “Confessions of a Pretty Lady” and the comedy “Grief,” were sold out before the festival began, which is “unprecedented,” according to Horne. And at least a dozen other programs were near capacity.
Still, the festival derives only 40% of its annual $ 250,000 budget from ticket sales; sponsorship and individual patrons make up the rest. And here too, Horne said, significant strides have been made. Among sponsors this year were several gay organizations, including GLAAD, Gays and Lesbians in Film & Television and Visual Communications, an Asian-American media group.
In addition, through the groundwork laid by such key fest boosters as writer/producer Richard Kramer and lawyer Alan Hergott, the festival received its first nod from the mainstream film industry, with the likes of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Disney’s Jeffrey Katzenberg and CAA’s Michael Ovitz lending their support.
The festival received more than 400 submissions this year, enabling it to cull for quality, although it failed to obtain three significant films — Goldwyn’s “The Wedding Banquet,” HBO’s “And the Band Played On” and Gramercy’s “Les Nuits Sauvages”– Horne said.