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Getting Out to the Movies with Amber Dawn

File this interview under LOST IN THE ARCHIVES.  Reelout had the chance to catch up with the fabulous Amber Dawn in Vancouver at last month’s Vancouver Queer Film Festival and in all the excitement, our interview got lost in the fun.  Amber Dawn is the programming director of Vancouver’s Queer Film Festival and she is also a writer, filmmaker and performance artist.  Her new novel is called Sub Rosa (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2010) and she is the editor of the Lambda Award-nominated Fist of the Spider Woman (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2008) and co-editor of With a Rough Tongue; Femmes Write Porn (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2005).  Her award-winning, genderfuck docu-porn, “Girl on Girl” has been screened in eight countries.  She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia.

Reelout: So Amber, first off, congratulations on the multiple awards and accolades you have been receiving for your writing. In particular, Sub Rosa has been garnering massive attention including the Lambda Literary Award. Is there a chance your cinematic world and your literary world may collide some time soon with a film adaptation?

Amber Dawn: When I was writing Sub Rosa, I very much pictured the story visually in my mind, like a film. There are long passages in the novel that take place in pitch darkness, and I am always delighted when a film director tackles scenes in the dark. I would be greatly honoured if someone wanted to take the novel on as a film project … but I personally have never written a script.

Reelout: This is your fourth year as Director of Programming of the Vancouver Queer Film Festival. What can you say is different about the programming this year in comparison to previous years?

Amber Dawn: One thing I noticed about this years submissions is that there were very few feature-length comedies. Even the lighter and/or sexier films I programmed are still very thought-provoking dramas. These films are emotionally rich with complex plotlines and well-developed characters. If you love a good drama, 2012 is your year!

Reelout: You have some pretty amazing filmmaking visitors coming to this year’s festival. Who can theatre goers have the chance to engage with during this year’s festival?

Amber Dawn: We have several guest artists visiting this year, from as close as Portland, Oregon (Director Jon Garcia, THE FALLS) and as far as Argentina (Director Javier Van De Couter, MIA).


Cute filmmaker Jon Garcia (THE FALLS) will attend his screening and answer questions from the audience.

Reelout: If someone can only make a couple of screenings at the festival, what do you recommend?

Amber Dawn: The biggest complaint I get from our audience is that there are too many films they’d like to see! It’s a good problem to have. But if you can only make it out to a few screenings, I’d recommend NORTH SEA TEXAS and MOSQUITA Y MARI for romantic dramas. Both are coming-of-age stories that star incredible young actors who will steal your heart. For documentaries I recommend DIFFICULT LOVE and INVISIBLE MEN … powerful, eye-opening films!


Difficult Love by Zanele Muholi and Peter Goldsmid based on the photography of Zanele Muholi.

You can order a copy of Amber Dawn’s book SUB ROSA and other of her titles HERE.


About Reelout

We host an 11-day queer film and video festival in Kingston, Canada in January/February each year!

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