With a title like Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, you just know it isn’t going to take itself too seriously. And filmmaker Madeleine Olnek is okay with that, as she presents her homage to 1950s sci-fi b-movies at this year’s Vancouver Queer Film Festival.
“One of the great joys of comedy is how life affirming they are and how they literally change your brain chemistry,” said Olnek by phone from New York. “It is unfortunate that often comedies are not taken as seriously and I think there is room for more than just dramas in our LGBT festivals.”
But before you think Olnek is only in it for the laughs, she is quick to point out the serious side of comedy: “there is something wrong with a world where kids are killing themselves because of who they are. Comedy gives people massive coping tools and great joy and is a very important part of our community”.
The movie’s quirky premise reaches deep into b-movie territory. Following the adventures of three lesbian space aliens on Earth and the romance that blossoms between shy greeting card store employee Jane and one of the aliens. Add to the mix two government agents who are tracking the aliens and it is no wonder the film was described as "a hilarious date movie for couples of all orientations" in the Hollywood Reporter and a "sweet, funny, clever comedy" by Variety’s John Anderson.
Premiering at the internationally renowned Sundance Film Festival in 2011, Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same is not only Olnek’s first feature, it was also shot
entirely in black and white.
“It is definitely a b-movie parody but it also references a whole bunch of film genres including the black and white Woody Allen movies and even 1994’s Lesbian drama, Go Fish,” she explained. “It seemed very honest doing it in black and white and brings out another layer in the story
that colour could not. Oddly there are some benefits as well as the movie really looks fabulous. Considering it is low budget, people are actually stunned by the cinematography.”
But where most Woody Allen movies would probably not be considered family-friendly, Olnek says her
movie is something you could even bring your parents and grandparents to see. And apparently it is even suitable for Mormons. At a screening in Salt Lake City Olnek says the theatre was half filled with members of the LGBTQ community and the other half with members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“It was really odd,” said Olnek. “We did a Q&A after the film and everyone was so engaged and asking all kinds of questions as if they didn’t want to leave.”
Shot in just 15 days of what she called intensive principal photography around her hometown of New York, Olnek says she sees her first feature as a natural progression from the shorts she has done in the past.
“It is so much a bigger project, much like a coming of age,” she said. “With shorts you feel like you are at the kiddies’ table. Shorts can be hard but doesn’t compare to going through the whole process from filming to editing to post-production. It is definitely much more consuming. But so worth it.”
Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same
Saturday, 13 August 2011 @ 9:30pm
Visit http://queerfilmfestival.ca for more information.