Stage Left: A Story of Theater in San Francisco
Sunday, June 1 at 11:00pm
Inspired by a Western history of risk taking and exploration, a climate of political activism, and a geography that is seismically unstable, San Francisco theater artists have focused on pushing the boundaries of the form. On any given day in the last 50 years, a person in the Bay Area might attend a performance for the sake of pure entertainment, a theatrical political protest, a bacchanalian festival, a humorous satire, a surrealist manifesto, a gay fantasia, or perhaps all of the above. Stage Left presents this rich culture through film clips of these groundbreaking performances, and by hearing from the artists themselves about the impetus behind their creativity. The documentary traces the evolution of contemporary theater from the founding of the avant-garde collaborative theater company The San Francisco Actor’s Workshop in 1952 through present day. The film features interviews with such key figures as Herbert Blau of the Actor’s Workshop, R.G. Davis of the SF Mime Troupe, Luis Valdez of El Teatro Campesino, mime Bill Irwin, Tony Taccone of the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Carey Perloff of the American Conservatory Theater, Scrumbly Koldewyn of the Cockettes, and actors Peter Coyote and Robin Williams.
Sunday, June 8 at 11:00pm
Sonali Gulati, an associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, never had the chance to tell her mother she was a lesbian. Now living in the United States, Gulati returns to India to meet with parents of other gay and lesbian South Asians. As she speaks to the parents, she pieces together the fabric of what family means in a landscape where homosexuality was until recently a criminal offense. With daring, determination, and humor, the parents in India share untold stories of their gay and lesbian children that have thus far remained in the realm of secrecy and silence. Though the stories are Indian, the theme of understanding and acceptance within a family are universal. Professor Sam Kauffmann of Boston University called the film “. . . sad, funny, tragic, elegiac, historic and above all triumphant. It is a personal story and a story about an entire continent.”
Sunday, June 15 at 11:30pm
People who don’t conform to heteronormative expectations of society face unique challenges in their lives. These challenges are compounded if they move to a new country and have to start life alone in an unfamiliar territory. Beyond Boundaries takes a close look into the lives of immigrants in the United States who have diverse sexualities, focusing on the immigrants’ challenges, triumphs, and dreams. The film’s producer-director Betsy Jose, herself an immigrant from India, is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Gender Studies at Indiana University-Bloomington. Beyond Boundaries has been screened at 2012 Big Ten Counseling Conference in Bloomington and at festivals both within and outside the U.S. It has received several nominations including Best Gay/Lesbian Film at the Great Lakes International Film Festival 2010; Best Documentary Short at the 2010 Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival in Mumbai, India; and Best Short Documentary at the 2009 Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival.
Sunday, June 22 at 11:00pm
The Campaign follows ordinary people caught in the political firestorm of the campaign to defeat California’s Proposition 8 and to defend same-sex marriage. With exclusive access to the statewide headquarters of “No On 8,” the film follows five activists through emotional battles to protect their families, their rights, and their dignity. The activists learn that growing social acceptance does not always translate into votes, but that participating in the political process transforms them, whether they win or lose. The film reaches beyond the issues to explore themes of mixed emotions of family relationships, self-empowerment through activism, and the struggle in deciding how much of oneself to sacrifice for the cause. From the activists’ initial confidence that Proposition 8 will be defeated, through their frustrating experiences of unfavorable polling numbers, to their defeat on election night and the turmoil beyond, The Campaign is a heartbreaking, inspiring drama of lives in the balance.
# # #
WTIU Media Contact: