It was a warm summer Thursday night at the Standard Hotel on Sunset and all sorts of sordid scenarios were playing out on a film screen by the pool. There were drug dealers, drag queens and narcocorrido crooners blown up outdoors for the third and final installment of the Short Shorts film series. Four short films by emerging directors were shown and then followed by conversations with the film-makers.
This screening was presented by NewFilmmakers Los Angeles in conjunction with Standard Talks. The Standard Hotels created Standard Talks as a venue for artists from a wide range of disciplines to come together and discuss topics spanning the fields of art, fashion, design, culture, sex, entertainment, science, and architecture. The conversational series was launched in March 2011 at The Standard, High Line, in New York City and will continue to evolve at the Standard Hotels in both New York and Los Angeles.
The first film screened Thursday night, Queen, was directed by Adam Rose and it is about a cabaret drag queen seeking to define family in his life. Rose is a film and television actor who has appeared in the films Up in the Air, The Back-Up Plan and The Squid and the Whale; and in television series Weeds, The Sopranos and Bones. Queen is his directorial debut.
The Hollywood Reporter spoke with the film-maker after the screenings. He cites Woody Allen, P.T. Anderson and Quentin Tarantino as primary influences in his many levels of involvement in film. He also mentioned emerging, ‘indie’ directors like James Ponsoldt and his recent feature The Spectacular Now as big inspiration. The ambitious role of the heart-broken queen, Nikki Holiday, is played by Rose’s fellow actor/director friend Ryan Eggold.
According to Rose, Eggold was impressive in his transgender role because he is “the most masculine guy – he drives a pickup truck and works out a lot. It couldn’t be farther from him – this character. It’s something he wanted to do to challenge himself as an actor and that’s something that I respect.”
About the the style of the film, Rose went on to say, “I was inspired a lot by Chicago for the look of this film. I love Rob Marshall in general.”
The three other films were Little Odessa by Natan Moss; Stealing Time by Alex Calleros; and Narcocorrido by Ryan Prows.
Narcocorrido, meaning ‘drug running’ , dramatizes a botched trafficking operation. A tough black female deputy, Naija Dillon, is seriously ill, and the drama of her predicament is compounded by very human, racially charged situation where she finds herself. There is no clear right and wrong as the characters in this unlawful caper are portrayed with a realism that breaks down our preconceptions of good and bad. The core drama is framed by a riveting Narcocorrida (Mexican folk country gangsta rap – Google it) quartet who foreshadow and later sum up the tragedy encased.
The Fall series of Standard Talks in LA has yet to be announced, but stay tuned at standardculture.com for upcoming events.