Fresno’s Reel Pride returns with 5 days of movies
Olympia Dukakis is excited her film “Cloudburst” is one of the featured screenings at “The 23rd Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival.” She says her role in the film is one of the best characters she has played in her long and honored career.
“I believe the work I did in ‘Steel Magnolias’ or ‘Moonstruck’ might be better but this character is so rich. After I saw the film, I was very shocked by what I saw in myself,” Dukakis says.
The Oscar-winning actress stars with Brenda Fricker as a lesbian couple who, after being together for 31 years, travel to Canada to get married.
“Cloudburst” is just one of the featured films at the five-day festival that runs tonight through Sunday and showcases movies with gay, lesbian and transgender stories. Along with the movie screenings, there are receptions, parties and appearances by filmmakers and stars. It is the sixth oldest gay and lesbian film festival in America.
This year’s more than 50 feature and short films will be shown in three venues: the Tower Theatre, 815 E. Olive Ave.; the Starline Lounge, 831 E. Fern; and The Voice Shop, 1296 N. Wishon Ave.
“Cloudburst” plays Sunday at the Tower Theatre to close the festival.
Stella, the character Dukakis plays, is a little shocking, especially when it comes to what she will say.
Not only is Stella more than willing to speak her mind, she often accents what she says with colorful language. Dukakis laughs at the mention of Stella’s dirty mouth and says that was the easy part of the movie because, when necessary, she can speak in quite colorful terms.
Dukakis got involved in the film through writer/director Thom Fitzgerald, who originally penned “Cloudburst” as a stage production. It was the director who talked Dukakis through some of her concerns about the role, such as playing the character too feminine or fully showing the price Stella has to pay because of her rebellious nature.
“Thom stayed on me about these concerns. I totally trusted him and in the end, it really worked,” Dukakis says.
Dukakis is proud the film is part of the festival, but she hopes it will attract a larger audience because of its universal story of love and commitment. No matter the gender, all couples deal with the familiarity that comes with being together for a long time, the little things about each other that are annoying and the support they give each other.
If there’s one thing Dukakis understands, that’s long-term commitments. She and husband Louis Zorich are about to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
Reel Pride opens at 7:30 p.m. today with “Struck By Lightning,” a film written by and starring Clovis East graduate Chris Colfer.
For more information on the film festival, go to reelpride.com/2012/page/contact-us or call (559) 999-7971.
By Rick Bentley