Stars Turn Out For Queer Lounge's Third Smash Year at Sundance

Queer Lounge Brings Out Celebs from Nick Nolte to Toni Collette; Fest's Top Prize Goes to Gay Filmmakers

Los Angeles, CA (February 10, 2006) – Capping nine days of star-studded parties, packed panel discussions, and queer-friendly networking, Queer Lounge wrapped up its third smash year in Park City, Utah celebrating Quinceanera, a breakout film directed by two gay filmmakers that took home the 2006 Sundance Film Festival's top prizes.

Hailed by the Hollywood Reporter as "ground zero" for the more than 40 queer-related films screened in Park City, the 2006 Queer Lounge rolled out the red carpet for a revolving door of queer and queer-friendly filmmakers, actors, and performers including: Toni Collette, John Waters, Gus Van Sant, Sting, Timothy Hutton, Nick Nolte, Anne Heche, Helena Christensen, Patrick Fugit, Daniela Sea, David LaChapelle, Armistead Maupin, Ruby Dee, and Dave Matthews.

Performers taking the stage at Queer Lounge parties included Liz Phair at The Barclay Butera/Hollywood Life party, The Brazilian Girls at Homos Away from Home, and The East Village Opera Company at Glamdance, Queer Lounge's opening night party.

Leading the charge of queer-related films was Quinceanera, which was named Best Dramatic Film by both the 2006 Sundance Film Festival jury and audience members. Set among Hispanic teenagers in East Los Angeles, Quinceanera features a lead gay character and was directed by out filmmakers Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer.

Launched in 2004, Queer Lounge is a hot spot with a year-round mission: building mainstream audiences and boosting box office sales for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) films and filmmakers. The only gay organization sanctioned by the 2006 Sundance Film Festival., Queer Lounge 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. Queer Lounge will make its international debut at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2006.

"The success of Quinceanera proves that the definition of 'queer film' is evolving, expanding, and becoming more universal," said Ellen Huang, founder and executive director of Queer Lounge. "This year we saw films portray gay characters and tackle gay issues in exciting, moving, and surprising new ways. The future looks very bright for gay films in the post-Brokeback Mountain world."

Contributing to the wild popularity of this year's Queer Lounge was its expanded new headquarters at The Gateway Center, which was designed and furnished by celebrated interior designer, retailer, and Queer Lounge sponsor Barclay Butera. Sporting a classic, 1940's Hollywood motif, The Queer Lounge featured lush sofas, ottomans, and a stunning antler chandelier. Many of the pieces, including a Barclay Butera white leather chair signed by Queer Lounge visitors, such as Nick Nolte, Liz Phair, and Timothy Hutton, were auctioned off, with the proceeds benefiting Queer Lounge.

According to Huang, other queer-related films making a splash included: "The Night Listener," based on Armistead Maupin's dark novel starring Robin Williams and Toni Collette; "Puccini for Beginners," a film starring Gretchen Mol by director Maria Maggenti; "Small Town Gay Bar," a documentary about the patrons of two local gays bars produced by Kevin Smith (Clerks); "Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner," a documentary about playwright Tony Kushner; "All Aboard! Rosie's Family Cruise," which chronicles the first-ever gay and lesbian family cruise chartered by Rosie and Kelli O'Donnell, international feature, "The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros," about a petty thief's involvement with a rookie cop, and "Bugcrush," about the sinister repercussions of a high school crush, which took top honors in the short films division.

A highlight of Queer Lounge programming was its panel series, which explored individual films, filmmakers, and industry trends. Participants included Gus Van Sant, Maria Maggenti, Jennie Livingston ("Through the Ice"), Freida Lee Mock ("Wrestling with Angels"), and Kirby Dick ("This Film is Not Yet Rated"). Panelist Armistead Maupin summed up the success of this year's Queer Lounge best:

"Queer Lounge is like an island of tranquility in a sea of feral children," said Maupin.

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

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