“A Marine Story” wins top awards at Outfest 2010

By Oliver Carnay

Los Angeles, CA – A story about courage and honor won three major awards at the recent 28th annual Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (also known as OUTFEST 2010). Husband and wife team -- writer-director Ned Farr and star of the film Dreya Weber, returns to Outfest (won Best Audience Award in 2006 for “The Gymnast”) with their credibly written, acted, and directed new film, “A Marine Story,” winning the AUDIENCE Award for Outstanding DRAMATIC FEATURE FILM, Grand Jury Award for Outstanding U.S. DRAMATIC FEATURE FILM, and Grand Jury Award for Outstanding ACTRESS IN A FEATURE FILM.

Photo: Writer-Director Ned Farr with wife Dreya Weber (Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Best Actress in a Feature Film)

Dreya Weber plays a marine major officer who leaves the military and returns to her conservative Mojave Desert hometown with a secret – charged with preparing a tempestuous teenage girl for boot camp. “I’d like to thank every gay and lesbian currently serving in the military that doesn’t allow them to have full lives. … There’s no better feeling than putting things out in to the world that you can fully stand behind and say, ‘Yes!’ Weber said in her acceptance speech. “This really was unexpected. We hope that things changed very soon and that our ending wasn’t some kind of fantasy,” director Ned Farr added in surprised, overwhelmed tone.

Photo: Stephen Guarino (2nd from left) wins Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Actor in a Feature Film together with screenwriters Doug Langway and Lawrence Ferber and crew of the film.

“Bear City,” a romantic comedy about a “twink” who leaves behind his carb-phobic pals and moves in with a bear couple, won Doug Langway and Lawrence Ferber the Grand Jury Award for Outstanding SCREENWRITING and also a Grand Jury Award for Outstanding ACTOR IN A FEATURE FILM for Stephen Guarino. “I’m totally shocked, that movie is a total ensemble piece” … To shoot a feature film in a 100 degrees in New York at The Eagle at 11 am in the morning, it’s not pretty honey. It’s just a beautiful movie… Oh my God!” he uttered receiving his award at the podium, in disbelief.

Photo: Drew Droege received the Outfest 2010 Emerging Talent Award

For the Special Programming Awards, the documentary film “The Topp Twins” (directed by Leanne Pooley) received the FREEDOM Award; actor Drew Droege got the EMERGING TALENT Award, while this year’s featured Centerpiece Gala movie “ContraCorriente” (subtitled “Undertow”) won the ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT Award, directed by Javier Fuentes-Leon. “It’s been an amazing week! I’m kind of speechless about the whole experience. The screening of my film on Tuesday … I felt like Cinderella … and I still feel like that!” Fuentes-Leon said with a big sigh.

Other winners at Outfest 2010 are:

Audience Award for Outstanding DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM – “I’m Just Anneke,” directed by Jonathan Skurnik; Audience Award for Outstanding DRAMATIC SHORT FILM – “You Move Me,” directed by Gina Hirsch; Audience Award for Outstanding DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM – “Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight,” directed by Michelle Lawler.

Audience Award for Outstanding FIRST U.S. DRAMATIC FEATURE FILM – “The Four-Faced Liar,” directed by Jacob Chase; Grand Jury Award for Outstanding DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM – “Close,” directed by Lucia Von Horn Pagano; Grand Jury Award for Outstanding DRAMATIC SHORT FILM – “Samaritan,” directed by Magnus Mork; Grand Jury Award for Outstanding DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM – “Strange Powers: Stephen Merritt & The Magnetic Fields,” directed by Kerthy Fix and Gail O’Hara; Grand Jury Award for Outstanding INTERNATIONAL DRAMATIC FEATURE FILM – “The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister,” directed by James Kent.

Outfest, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing, showcasing and protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT), the nation’s leading LGBT festival and the oldest continuously running festival in the city ran from July 8 through the 18th. In addition to the 147 films (60 features and 87 shorts) from 23 countries, Outfest hosted over a dozen panel discussions and special events at venues across Los Angeles, including West Hollywood, Hollywood and Downtown. The festival opened with “Howl,” starring James Franco, and closed with the special premier screening ofJ.B. Ghuman’s “Spork.”

For more information about the festival and the organization, please log on at www.Outfest.org