Lesbian Love Story ‘When Night is Falling’ Hits Blu-ray Disc June 25

Kino Lorber has set a June 25 Blu-ray Disc release date for When Night is Falling, a lesbian love story that was in official competition at the 1995 Berlin International Film Festival.

The film centers on the story of Camille (Pascale Bussières), a professor at a Protestant college who is engaged to Martin (Henry Czerny), a respected minister and fellow professor. As “career Christians” they are urged to get married so that they can become co-chaplains of the New College of Faith.

When Camille meets Petra (Rachel Crawford), a wry and flamboyant performer in a modern Felliniesque circus troupe, she is inexplicably drawn to her. Camille pursues this sensual, dream-like woman, throwing her whole conservative life, not to mention her engagement, into disarray.

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Blu-ray Disc extras include an audio commentary and an archival interview with director Patricia Rozema as well as her 2005 short film, Suspect. The disc release also comes with an alternate French audio dub.

‘Sweetheart’ Director Discusses Her Lesbian Coming-of-Age Film, Due on DVD and Digital May 16 From Film Movement

Director Marley Morrison’s feature debut Sweetheart is an uplifting lesbian coming-of-age romance, something that was a rarity she says when she was growing up.

The film — due on DVD and digital May 16 from Film Movement — follows socially awkward lesbian teenager A.J. (Nell Barlow), who begrudgingly joins her British family on a seaside vacation. She finds herself constantly at odds with her painfully “normal” mother and older sister, neither of whom can understand why she doesn’t smile more or “dress like a girl.” Her anticipated “week of hell” takes an unexpected turn when Isla (Ella-Rae Smith), a free-spirited and sun-loving lifeguard, catches her eye.

The film’s accolades include British Independent Film Awards for Breakthrough Performance (Nell Barlow) and Breakthrough Producer (Michelle Antoniades), as well as nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Jo Hartley), Best Debut Screenwriter (Marley Morrison), and the Douglas Hickox Award (Marley Morrison); Frameline SF Int’l LGBTYQ FF nomination for Outstanding First Feature Award; Glasgow Film Festival winner of the Audience Award and Best First Feature; Inside Out Toronto LGBT FF winner of the International Juried Award (Marley Morrison, Hazey Jane Films); L.A. Outfest award for Outstanding Performance in an Int’l Narrative (Nell Barlow); London Critics Circle Film Awards nomination for Breakthrough British Filmmaker of the Year. 

Director Marley Morrison

Media Play News asked Morrison about the themes and aims of her feature film debut.   

MPN: What is the genesis of your feature film debut?

Morrison: I wanted to make an uplifting film about what happens after a young lesbian has “come out,” highlighting the nuances and painfully honest and awkward inter-family relations that a young gay female has to navigate whilst going through life. I also wanted to make something that the young gay community could relate to and specifically for young gender nonconforming lesbians to see themselves reflected on screen in a film that is uplifting.

MPN: This is also Nell Barlow’s feature film debut. How was she cast? What surprised or impressed you about her performance?

Morrison: Nell was cast through our casting director Carolyn McLeod, who was amazing in sourcing some great actors for us. There was something about Nell that was authentic, raw, engaging — and also hilarious. Her comedic timing is great, and she embodied A.J.’s sense of awkward masculine energy in such a naturalistic way, but also a vulnerable way. I think I saw a lot of my younger self in her. Nell is an incredible young actor and I’m so proud of her for trusting me and dedicating herself so honestly to this role.

MPN: How does the film contribute to bringing visibility to the lesbian perspective?

Morrison: Growing up, I watched a lot of films featuring LGBT+ people suffering or dealing with trauma. I always liked the idea that people could see a story with a lesbian character that is uplifting and joyful. To see yourself reflected on screen is intrinsic to owning your sense of self. To see a coming-of-age romance centered around two young women is something I never saw growing up and would have helped me understand that being gay isn’t all trauma and sometimes you can have a happy ending. Just by this film existing in the world it contributes to lesbian visibility as for so long we have been told our stories are not important.

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MPN: What do you hope viewers will take away from the film?

Morrison: I hope it brings back some old nostalgic memories of first loves and summer holidays. I hope it reminds them of the community and joy that can be found in being working class. Mostly, I hope people feel uplifted after seeing it, and it helps bridge those gaps in family communications and helps us understand each other better. I hope it makes young lesbians feel seen and heard, and I hope it helps people understand that everyone is living their own lives and rather than fight against the world we should work to be part of it.

 

LGBTQ+ Coming-of-Age Film ‘Sweetheart’ Due Digitally Feb. 10 From Film Movement

The LGBTQ+ coming-of-age film Sweetheart will be released via VOD and digital sellthrough Feb. 10 from Film Movement.

The film follows socially awkward lesbian teenager A.J. (Nell Barlow), who begrudgingly joins her family on a seaside vacation. She finds herself constantly at odds with her painfully “normal” mother and older sister, neither of whom can understand why she doesn’t smile more or “dress like a girl.” Her anticipated “week of hell” takes an unexpected turn when Isla (Ella-Rae Smith), a free-spirited and sun-loving lifeguard, catches her eye. Full to the brim with teen angst and romantic fumbling, Sweetheart wryly captures the bittersweet pangs of adolescent yearning, self-realization and personal connections, all against the hilarious ups and downs of the quintessential British family holiday.

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Director Marley Morrison’s feature debut, the film’s accolades include British Independent Film Awards for Breakthrough Performance (Nell Barlow) and Breakthrough Producer (Michelle Antoniades), as well as nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Jo Hartley), Best Debut Screenwriter (Marley Morrison), and the Douglas Hickox Award (Marley Morrison); Frameline SF Int’l LGBTYQ FF nomination for Outstanding First Feature Award; Glasgow Film Festival winner of the Audience Award and Best First Feature; Inside Out Toronto LGBT FF winner of the International Juried Award (Marley Morrison, Hazey Jane Films); L.A. Outfest award for Outstanding Performance in an Int’l Narrative (Nell Barlow); London Critics Circle Film Awards nomination for Breakthrough British Filmmaker of the Year.      

Rotten Tomatoes Partners to Launch LGBTQ Scholarship

GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics and content recommendation resource Rotten Tomatoes have launched The Crimson Honors scholarship.

It’s a new college film and TV criticism scholarship program for LGBTQ women and nonbinary students of color in Southern California pursuing a career in journalism or entertainment criticism.

GALECA will award more than $6,000 in financial assistance, funded by Rotten Tomatoes. 

The Crimson Honors scholarship is open to qualifying community or state college students in the Southern California area who are seeking a career in entertainment criticism. A select panel of GALECA members will review and consider all student submissions of film/TV criticism and/or commentary featured in a campus media outlet in 2022, ultimately honoring three students who demonstrate excellence in their craft.

The grand prize winner will receive $3,000, with two finalists each collecting $1,500. All three winners will also receive $100 Fandango and Vudu gift cards to watch movies in theaters or at home, and a complimentary yearlong GALECA membership, with opportunities to meet editors and Advisory Board members in the group.

Rotten Tomatoes’ support of GALECA’s Crimson Honors scholarship is the latest initiative in the brand’s Grants and Scholarships program, established in 2018 to increase inclusion in entertainment criticism and support the next generation of critics through donations to educational programs, film festivals’ inclusion initiatives, and other industry efforts. 

Eligible candidates — including nonbinary persons or women of color who identify as gay, bisexual, transgender or queer — must be students studying journalism, cinema/TV studies or communications at a public two-year community or four-year state college in the Southern California area.

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Applicants may submit to GALECA up to three reviews or essays relating to film and/or TV, each originally published or posted in 2022 by an official campus media offering (newspaper, magazine, website, radio station, podcast, TV/radio program). In addition, applicants must also include a resume as well as a personal 300-word statement on why they hope for a career as a critic and entertainment journalist. 

Applicants can submit all materials here. Materials must be received by 11:59 p.m. PT on Dec. 31, 2022. All entrants will be notified that their submissions were received with winners being announced on Feb. 27, 2023.  Criteria and rules for the Crimson Honors scholarship can be found here.  

LGBTQ Coming-of-Age Drama ‘The Experience’ Due on VOD, EST and DVD Nov. 5 From Random

The LGBTQ coming-of-age drama The Experience will arrive on VOD, EST and DVD Nov. 5 from Random Media.

The film stars Allison Kove (Rotten), Ava Capri (Little Rituals) Shawn Christian (“Days of Our Lives”), Lou Ferrigno Jr. (“S.W.A.T”), Sabina Gadecki (“Entourage”), Brigitte Nielsen (Beverly Hills Cop II) and Gordon Thomson (“Dynasty”).

Set against the unique backdrop of a tough love wilderness program for the wayward children of the elite upper class, The Experience examines the life of Scarlet (Kove), a teenage girl whose ongoing behavior — partying, piercings and suicide attempts — has landed her at the Hills of Heaven wilderness camp, where she begrudgingly hauls a 40-pound backpack in the sweltering heat of an arid, hilly back country. When a mysterious girl named Dillion (Capri) arrives at camp, Scarlet begins to open up and maybe even fall in love. However, just when the girls are making a meaningful connection, they are forced to reconcile their reality in ways they cannot begin to fathom and question the very fabric of their own existence.

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The Experience is a powerful and offbeat coming-of-age story that has every emotion conjured for our teenage lead characters,” said writer-director Katerina Gorshkov in a statement. “We are particularly excited to have powerhouse Brigitte Nielson cast in the film, as her role is not her usual action-thriller villain.”