Queer Lounge, Hot Spot with a Mission Returns to Sundance with Buzz-heavy Slate of Parties, Panels, and Networking Events

Who's Who of Queer VIPs, including Rosie O'Donnell, Gus Van Sant, and Armistead Maupin to Headline 9 Days of Events; Over 40 Gay Films To Screen in Park City

Los Angeles, CA (January 12, 2006) — Kicking off its third smash year, Queer Lounge will return to Park City next week as the only gay organization sanctioned by the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.

Launched at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, Queer Lounge is the one festival hot spot with a year-round mission: building mainstream audiences and boosting box office for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) films and filmmakers.

Organizers today unveiled a stellar line-up of panels, parties, readings, and networking events dedicated to shaping a new generation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) film that attracts and inspires all audiences.

Sundance 2006 comes on the heels of Brokeback Mountain's critical and box-office success -- a beacon for the future of queer film, according to Queer Lounge founder and executive director Ellen Huang.

"This is an incredibly exciting time for queer film and the amazing slate of LGBT-related films at this year's Sundance make it clear that Brokeback is just the tip of the iceberg," said Huang. "It's especially gratifying to see major stars, respected filmmakers, and emerging talent collaborating on films that tackle gay stories with such honesty, integrity, and humanity."

Huang said this year's Sundance and surrounding festivals boast over 40 films either exploring queer issues or created by LGBT filmmakers, many of which will serve as the centerpiece for Queer Lounge events from January 20 – 28.

Founded by Huang, a former feature film executive, Queer Lounge is a non-profit organization that creates queer-friendly hubs at major film festivals where up-and-coming LGBT filmmakers and artists can connect with industry leaders, audiences, and each other.

In its first year, Queer Lounge drew over 10% of Sundance's 40,000 visitors, with attendance doubling in 2005. Since then, Queer Lounge has become a Sundance phenomenon, producing some of the festival's most talked-about events and attracting celebrities from Naomi Watts and Jared Leto to Paris Hilton and Pamela Anderson. For the first time ever, Queer Lounge will make its debut at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2006.

According to Huang, some of the most hotly anticipated queer-related films this year include: "The Night Listener," based on Armistead Maupin's dark novel about a gay radio host played by Robin Williams; "Small Town Gay Bar," a documentary about the patrons of two local gays bars produced by Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy); "All Aboard! Rosie's Family Cruise," which chronicles the first-ever gay and lesbian family cruise chartered by Rosie and Kelli O'Donnell, "Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner," a documentary about playwright Tony Kushner; and "Puccini for Beginners," a new film starring Gretchen Mol by director Maria Maggenti ("The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love"). See full list of queer-related festival films screening in Park City below or at http://queerloungeonline.com/content/view/25/54/

Putting a spotlight on this year's breakout queer films and filmmakers, Queer Lounge will also present daily panel discussions exploring individual films, filmmakers, and industry trends. Confirmed participants include Gus Van Sant, Rosie O'Donnell, Armistead Maupin, Maria Maggenti, and Jennie Livingston ("Paris is Burning"). See full schedule of Queer Lounge panel discussions below or at http://queerloungeonline.com/content/view/36/80/.

"Queer Lounge shares our commitment to making sure that great LGBT films and filmmakers find larger audiences," said Frank Olsen, CEO and Founder of Q Television Network, a premium LGBT channel. "We're thrilled to be working with Queer Lounge on raising the visibility for some of today's most exciting up-and-coming queer filmmakers."

Living up to its reputation for hosting the festival's most wild, welcoming, and star-studded parties, Queer Lounge will also be rolling out the red carpet every night for a revolving door of parties, including Glamdance, its opening night party honoring the film "Wrestling with Angels," the GLAAD Media Awards nominations announcement and reception, and its infamous Homos Away from Home party. In addition to celebrity DJs like John Cameron Mitchell ("Hedwig and the Angry Inch") and actress Shannyn Sossamon ("Wristcutters"), parties will feature performances by musical acts to be announced in the coming days. See full list of Queer Lounge parties below.

Located in expanded headquarters at The Gateway Center (136 Heber Avenue) next to the Sundance box office, this year's Queer Lounge will showcase a classic, 1940's Hollywood theme with furnishings provided by celebrated designer and Queer Lounge sponsor Barclay Butera.

Other Queer Lounge partners this year include Presenting Partners Q Television, Network, Absolut Vodka, and Intel.

"Intel strives to ensure that diversity is honored and all employees feel accepted and part of the worldwide Intel community," said Ralph Bond, consumer education manager, Intel Corporation. "For example, Intel's LGBT employee group fosters employee networking, breaking isolation and providing support in the work environment. Given our diversity embracing culture, it's a natural fit for Intel to be a sponsor of Queer Lounge's event at the Sundance Film Festival."

Queer Lounge Presenting Sponsors are: Q Television Network, Absolut Vodka, Intel; Premiere Sponsors: Barclay Butera, Instinct Magazine | Twist Radio; Official Sponsors: All Seasons Resort, Bud Light; Official Car Sponsor: Volkswagen, Co-Sponsor: PlanetOut.com; Foundation Support: BW Bastian Foundation; Project Sponsor: Frivole; Day Sponsors: Elbow Grease, Pisco Fuegos, Pacific Title, Yes Design Group, Wolfe Video; Program Sponsors: BMI, OUTFEST, Peery Hotel, Picture This! Entertainment, Wild Oats; Community Sponsors: Altoids, Aquafina, Café Press, GLBT Community Center of Utah, Human Rights Campaign, InFocus, Monster Energy Drink, Turning Leaf, Wisdom Natural Brands; Media Sponsors: AfterEllen.com, Gay Web Monkey, Genre Magazine, Girlfriends Magazine, HX Magazine, Lesbian News, Passport Magazine, Salt Lake Metro, Scene Magazine.

Patrick Kowalczyk, patrick@mkpr.com
Jill Feldman, jill@mkpr.com
Michael Kaminer Public Relations, 212.627.8098

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