By Albert H. Fulcher | Editor
Trick or treat? Definitely both.
On April 17, a full house packed Landmark’s Hillcrest Cinemas for a one-night only showing of the 1999 very gay comedy romance “Trick,” written by Jason Schafer and directed by Jim Fall. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, FilmOut San Diego presented this film as part of this year’s lineup of programs, with Fall in the house for a Q&A after the film.
When “Trick” first debuted, it was a breath of fresh air for many of those that lived through the height of the AIDS epidemic. There were many gay-themed movies coming out during this time, but this was one of the first since the epidemic didn’t try and tackle all of the social issues of the times. Simply, it was funny, sexy and cutely romantic. At least for a one-night stand.
And that’s how the movie begins. Introverted and insecure, and a musical playwright in the making, Gabriel (Christian Campbell) meets Mark (John Paul Pitoc), a hot go-go dancer at a local gay bar and they spend misfortune and disruption in trying to find a place to get some action together. Also starring Tori Spelling as Katherine, Gabriel’s best friend, and Clinton Leupp as the amazing Miss Coco Peru, the night is filled with everything with the exception of Gabriel and Mark getting it on and getting off. Instead, their night is filled with one obstacle after another and thwarted at every attempt to find time alone. This is just as much a belly laugh of a movie today as it was 20 years ago.
During the Q&A, director Jim Fall said that it took five years and $450,000 to bring the movie to the screen, and 21 days to film it (with actual film). He said the movie grossed more than $2 million, which was impressive for an independent film at that time and has enjoyed a solid following ever since. Fall explained that in 1998, casting was difficult because no one wanted to play “gay” in the movies. He said however, most of the people in the movie were gay, with the exception of the two lead characters.
Fall said in the original script, they finally get to screw in the bathroom scene and then it’s over. “I actually never wanted them to actually end up having sex,” Fall said. “So that bathroom scene is a tease. So then I had them come outside and kiss in the sunlight. And if you look on the ground there is a purple stripe. It was actually gay pride morning and we just happened to be shooting that morning.”
With the movie being open-ended and left to the imagination of the future of Gabriel and Mark, Fall said there is a sequel written that takes place 20 years later. So expect to hear more about “Trick 2” in the near future as it starts its Kickstarter campaign. Fall said that all of the original cast has agreed to make the sequel and you can expect a trailer from them as soon as the campaign begins.
As part of FilmOut San Diego’s ongoing film series, on May 15 it is bringing 20 LGBTQ shorts, never before seen in San Diego, to Landmark’s Hillcrest Cinemas, for a one-night, two-track LGBTQ ShortFest. Most movies are making their first U.S. or California premieres with five films featuring San Diego filmmakers.
“Engaged,” directed by David Scala, who earned Outstanding Emerging Talent at FilmOut San Diego in 2013, is about a man who keeps trying — but failing — to propose to his boyfriend.
Turning the table around, “Gay Camp,” by Mark Marchillo, portrays a world where most of the world is gay and children that display heterosexual tendencies are sent to Camp Sahomo to convert them back to their natural homosexual lifestyle.
Jonathan Hammond, another San Diego filmmaker is presenting “Kathy,” a “true(ish)” story of a young boy and his mother who hold afternoon exorcisms in the living room, with a new friend that is so “godly,” she may as well be wicked.
“Romance is Dead,” directed by Todd Jackson, is about a man who turns to his best friend to implement a crazy plan to get his fiancé back after being dumped.
“Pasos en la Noche,” (Steps in the Night) directed by Daniel Garcia and Maximiliano Garcia, is based in 1980s Tijuana where a closeted gay man enters a local cumbia competition in the hopes of dancing with the man he secretly desires.
Tract I starts at 7 p.m. with 10 films, and Tract II starts at 9 p.m. with 10 more. Q&A’s will be held at the end of each tract as time permits.
For more information about LGBTQ ShortFest, visit filmoutsandiego.com.
— Albert Fulcher can be reached at email@example.com.