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PALM SPRINGS -- The highlight of this year’s Gay!La program at the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films is a trilogy of films by Alain Hain.
The films, "Curious Thing," "the in-between" and "A Lack of Gravity" are narrative-style documentaries examining contemporary gay life.
Alain Hain’s trilogy screens as part of the Gay!La shorts program, “Couple Up,” Thursday, June 24, 7:30 p.m. at the Camelot Theatre.
I recently spoke with Hain about his work.
What is your background as a filmmaker?
I started as a filmmaker by producing independent music videos. From there I went on to writing, directing and producing educational and industrial films for corporate clients. It wasn’t until Jason Mills and I formed Fine Young Man Productions two years ago that we ventured into the independent film world.
Could you, in your own words, describe the three films we'll be seeing later this month?
The first film, "Curious Thing," deals with the new friendship between two young men, one gay and one straight, as their relationship reaches a turning point.
"the in-between," film two, takes our main character, Jared, into what he wants to believe is a committed relationship. We focus our attention on the uncertainty that builds in Jared as he becomes more and more aware of his partner’s infidelities.
And in the final film, "A Lack of Gravity," Jared attempts to settle down in the suburbs. Feeling emotionally secure, at last, with a life partner, we turn our attention toward the external struggles that they are confronted with, including homophobia, hate crimes, and the pursuit of happiness.
What prompted you and writer Jason Mills to undertake this project?
We wanted to explore the idea of fusing documentary and narrative storytelling techniques to create something that would really resonate with audiences.
We conducted interviews with over a dozen gay men, which eventually became the audio narration for the series. The interviews do not simply comment or explain the action on screen, but reinforce the emotional development in what feels very much like an interior monologue.
As far as the visual construction is concerned, those stories were all written, beautifully if I may add, by Jason with a concise visceral experience in mind.
What type of research was involved in preparing these stories?
The approach to researching these films primarily focused around the hours and hours of interviews that were conducted with the audio subjects. The goal of the interviews was to capture not only these men’s stories but also the deep emotional impact that the events had on their lives.
What was the most difficult part of getting these three films made? And conversely, what was the most rewarding part?
I felt like Jason and I both had a tremendous amount of pressure applied because we were telling very personal, honest, and true stories that had been shared with us and we wanted to do them justice.
Funny enough, the most rewarding part of the process was seeing the reactions from all of the various people involved. With film being the collaborative medium that it is, it’s the most wonderful feeling to know that everyone that worked on the projects could be proud of what they created together.
All of our actors were superb, but Danny Bernardy, our lead in each film, is the glue that holds these pieces together. Danny was able to embrace, shape, and immerse himself so deeply into the character that when he emerged it was with nothing less than a beautiful work of art.
What is your next project?
In addition the many corporate clients that Fine Young Man Productions works for we are also in the process of developing a few feature scripts, a television pilot, and a documentary.
If you go
The Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films and Film Market through June 28. All films are screened at the Camelot Theatres at 2300 E. Baristo Road in Palm Springs. For tickets, information and a complete schedule of films and events, visit psfilmfest.org or call (800) 898-7526.