At the same time, Britain's Channel 4 commissioned The Pink Triangle, a myth-buster about the experience of gay Germans during and after World War II. Produced with Michael Ehrenzweig and Janet Cole, the doc will cover not only gays who survived the camps or fought in the resistance, but those who joined the Nazi party and the German army. "We hope to reveal a range of experiences and choices and responses," Epstein explains. "People have an investment -- and we did -- in believing that gay people are good and gay people are victims. This film is about getting beyond victimhood." Friedman notes that gay history currently allows for a more complex and critical analysis than was possible when gay-themed films focused on self-respect and self-esteem. "It was important to have role models in the '70s, but now it's time to move beyond that and look at what our real history is."
And that's not all. Fox Searchlight has optioned a feature screenplay (from an original story by Epstein, Friedman, and Craig Chester) for a dark love story set in suburban Dallas and Manhattan. "It's a film that won't be easy on the gay experience," Epstein says. "It asks tough questions of ourselves, although it's a romantic comedy. We wouldn't have been ready to make this film 10 years ago, nor would an audience have been receptive to it." Says Friedman, "I feel like we're moving into a new stage as filmmakers. I'm hoping that the gay community is moving into a new stage as an audience as well."
Beat the Devil
Local producer Henry Rosenthal was at the Berlin Film Festival recently nailing down a world sales deal, including U.S. theatrical distribution, for Conceiving Ada. Lynn Hershman's high-tech feminist parable, starring a sublime Tilda Swinton, won't hit local theaters until fall. Fox Lorber (keep an eye open for its upcoming revivals of Costa-Gavras' Z and Wertmuller's Swept Away ...) snapped up Ada despite a lukewarm review in Variety. It's probably just a coincidence, but the critic's ex-wife is married to Ada's cinematographer (the remarkable Hiro Narita). You do believe in coincidences, don't you?
By Michael Fox