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Published on April 2nd, 2014 | by Jeremy Brown

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Fusion Festival 2014

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By Jeremy Brown

Fusion is a near and dear friend to Palette. We’ve gone for a couple of years now and it’s no mystery why we have an affinity for the festival. We focus on People of Color who work behind the scenes in Entertainment; Fusion is an extension of OUTFest and focuses not only on LGBTQ Films and Filmmakers, but even more specifically LGBTQ films made for and often by People of Color. Awesome. And a match made in diversity heaven. This year was no exception. The line up had so many amazing selections and I was lucky enough to be there for the Screening Debut of Patrick-Ian Polk’s Blackbird.

Let me start by saying that the film was sweet. The story was really well dealt with and had a rich plot that gave enough sexual tension to be reminiscent of male adolescence without making it uncomfortable to watch very young people making out and having sex.

Any time a gay, Black film opens with a choir singing a Gospel song I lift my hand for a very holy facepalm. Who needs another “Jesus hates Gays so my parents hate me” movie? No one. Anywhere. Like even that indigenous tribe of Black people with blonde hair and blue eyes off of Australia’s Coast doesn’t want another one. And although there is a slight touch of that in this movie, there’s enough other stuff to sink your teeth into that it’s easily forgiven.

There were some obvious problems with the film and many of my filmmaker friends spent one Sunday brunch listing them out for me (you know who you are). But I said it over banana waffles and I’ll say it again: it’s hard to make a film with little to no funding. And when you do niche films it gets even tougher. And this was a gay, Black film with a Christian theme. So the fact that this film was produced is a feat of exception. Add names like Mo’Nique and Isaiah Washington and you begin to understand how this project seemed miraculous to a tall, skinny, gay, Black boy who’s only made four other films (and had one groundbreaking TV series that changed the way gay, Black men are viewed by society). And to that we say congratulations, Patrick-Ian Polk!

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