This is not your father’s same old coming-out, coming-of-age story.
Good, low-budget films often seem effortless. They’re not. Like the polished public speaker or the unkempt drop-dead gorgeous object of your desire, much work goes into slick or sexy. To pull off a finished product as compelling as Shelter, quite a lot of work is required.
Start with a story that is worth telling, generate a script that tells that story well, add actors that can convince you they are who they pretend, include a cinematographer who can capture the scene and the actors, and bring it all together in the editing room.
The story is about coming of age and coming out, and courtesy of Jonah Markowitz’s script and direction, it broadens to touch universally accessible issues of family, parenting, and sacrifice.
Zach is torn between his art, his nephew, his long-time girlfriend and his best friend’s older brother. Tina Holmes, a familiar face for fans of Six Feet Under and her 1998 debut Edge of Seventeen, keeps it real as Zach’s single-mom
Trevor Wright as surfing, skate-boarding, tag artist Zach and Brad Rowe as Shaun, the older brother of Zach’s testosterone-fueled best friend, make for two characters about whom we care and care deeply. The story is deep, the script smart, the acting compelling, and the cinematography brilliant. The opening sequence of Zach skateboarding through San Pedro is beautiful.
Shelter is the all-too-rare film where each of the parts is polished to perfection and the finished product shines like a diamond.
Shelter airs on here! TV (www.heretv.com) throughout May, before landing on DVD on May 27.
John Stiles (www.johnwstiles.com) writes regularly for OutSmart magazine.
Photo caption: Let the sunshine in: Zach (Trevor Wright, left) and Shaun (Brad Rowe) take time to bask in Shelter. Others Rowe has basked with onscreen include Janeane Garofolo (Nadine in Dateland, 2005) and Sean Hayes (Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss, 1998). Watch for Rowe to act again with Garofalo, this time in For Better or Worse, an upcoming improvisational film about gay marriage.
What’s next — ‘The M Word’?
Breast cancer. Transgender issues. Don’t ask, don’t tell. Little controversial territory was left untouched by The L Word‘s femme friends since debuting on Showtime in 2004. Accordingly, its sixth season will be its last. “I am thrilled that Showtime has given us this final opportunity to conclude this journey we have all taken together,” says TLW creator and executive producer, Ilene Chaiken. It may be even more thrilling to see if Bette and Tina settle in, if Shane settles down, and if Jenny just settles. The swan song season premieres in early 2009. Details: www.sho.com. — Nancy Ford
‘John Waters: This Filthy World’
We all know about his favorite star eating dog poo, the chicken-snuffing story, and his other auteur atrocities. But did you know John Waters also filmed The Diane Linkletter Story a mere day after Art Linkletter’s daughter (allegedly) committed LSD-induced suicide? Tune in to learn these dirty details and more about the King of Trash in this one-man show filmed live in New York. Airs May 8, 10 p.m., on Showtime (www.sho.com). — Nancy Ford