Stars Turn Out for Queer Lounge's Fourth Smash Year in Park City

Lili Taylor, Chad Allen, Judith Light, Jill Scott, and "The L Word" Stars Shine at Queer Lounge; Two Queer-Interest Films - "Teeth" and "Freeheld" Win Special Jury Prizes

Park City, UT (January 30) — An eclectic group of VIPs, from actors Lili Taylor and Chad Allen to former Representative Dick Gephardt and Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, turned out in full force last week to celebrate Queer Lounge's fourth smash year championing queer films during the Sundance and Slamdance film festivals.

Located in the Silver King Hotel for the first time, festival-goers descended en masse on Queer Lounge for its popular networking events, panel discussions, and nightly pool parties. Other bold-faced names visiting Queer Lounge included: Jill Scott, Judith Light, Reichen Lehmkuhl, "L Word" stars Katherine Moennig and Leisha Hailey and Creator/Executive Producer Ilene Chaiken, and "Save Me" and "Queer as Folk" star Robert Gant.

The record number of queer-interest films at Sundance this year took home two top prizes. A Special Jury Prize was awarded to the documentary short film "Freeheld," directed by Cynthia Wade, which chronicles the last weeks of New Jersey Police Lieutenant Laurel Hester's life and her goal to leave her hard-earned pension to her life partner Stacie. Additionally, Jess Weixler received a Special Jury Prize for Acting for her role in the instant cult-hit, "Teeth," which was directed by openly gay filmmaker Mitchell Lichtenstein.

"Once again, queer-related films were among the festival's true breakouts," said Queer Lounge founder and executive director Ellen Huang. "It was also exciting to see how several queer filmmakers tackled the topics of religion and homosexuality in an honest and refreshing way."

Huang added that many festival-goers told her that Queer Lounge's Gays, Faith & Film panel discussion, featuring the cast and filmmakers of "For the Bible Tells Me So" and "Save Me" and the director of "Trembling before G-D," was one of the best panel discussions they had ever attended during the Festival. All three films explored the reconciliation of religious faith with homosexuality.

Hailed as "ground zero for activity surrounding the [gay] films" in Park City during Sundance by the Hollywood Reporter, Queer Lounge is a hot spot with a year-round mission: fostering—and building mainstream audiences—for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) films and filmmakers. Queer Lounge creates queer-friendly hubs at major, mainstream film festivals where up-and-coming LGBT filmmakers and artists can connect with industry leaders, audiences, and each other. The inspiring mix of programming also included a panel discussion on technology and Filmed Content on the Web.

Said Huang, "Our panels this year, attended by gay and non-gay audiences and press, were particularly successful in accomplishing Queer Lounge's primary goals: to make film a centerpiece of constructive dialogue and to build bridges between communities."

Other Queer Lounge highlights included the "For the Bible Tells Me So" Post-Screening Party co-sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, the live debut of the here! Tunes stage, featuring acoustic sets by three of the new, queer-friendly record label's artists, "The L Word" VIP Party featuring a Q&A with the series' stars and creator, and a "Meet & Greet" with the stars and producers of "Save Me." Also of interest was the OurChart.com Room, introducing a new online networking space aimed at lesbians and their friends. A large-scale photo exhibit dominated the room, along with an "interconnectivity chart" of over 100 filmmakers, VIPs, and festival-goers.

Queer Lounge's sponsors this year included Presenting Sponsor OurChart.com, and major sponsors Instinct magazine, Fun Factory USA, Bud Light, Southwest Airlines, the Silver King Hotel, Vox Entertainment, Modern Materials, here! Tunes, Wolfe Video, Toronto Tourism, and Elizabeth "Beano" Solomon. Foundation Support came from the Bastian Foundation and the Gill Foundation.

More about Queer Lounge

Queer Lounge, a non-profit 501(c)-3 organization, is a hospitality space and networking hub for queer and queer-friendly film professionals. It is not a film festival and is not affiliated with Sundance, Slamdance, or other film festivals in Park City.

Contact:
Patrick Kowalczyk, patrick@mkpr.com
Scott Piro, scott@mkpr.com
MKPR, 212.627.8098 (U.S.)

To view celebrity photos from Queer Lounge/Sundance 2007 events, log onto http://www.queerlounge.org/archive/gallery/index.php. High-resolution versions of all images are available by contacting scott@mkpr.com.

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