Stars Turn Out For Queer Lounge's First Smash Year In Toronto

John Cameron Mitchell, Parker Posey, and Lance Bass Make Queer Lounge's "Shortbus" Premiere Extravaganza a Highlight of the Film Festival

Toronto (September 18, 2006) — Parker Posey, John Cameron Mitchell, and Lance Bass were among the VIPs who turned out in full force this week to celebrate Queer Lounge's debut during the Toronto International Film Festival® (TIFF).

Said Ellen Huang, Queer Lounge founder and Executive Director, "The verdict's in, and we clearly rocked Toronto! Despite fierce competition among parties and events, everyone could not stop talking about Queer Lounge."

With a series of star-studded parties, panel discussions, and a high-powered industry brunch, Queer Lounge helped shine an international spotlight on the Festival's stellar roster of gay films and filmmakers, including Mitchell's acclaimed new film Shortbus and Eytan Fox's The Bubble.

Hailed as "one of the most outrageous events of Toronto's festival" by The Toronto Sun, Queer Lounge's Shortbus premiere party and concert extravaganza was the most talked about party of the week. Parker Posey, Lance Bass and Reichen Lehmkuhl, Jennifer Coolidge, Shawn Ashmore (X-Men: The Last Stand), L Word stars Daniela Sea and Bitch and celeblogger Perez Hilton were just a few of the stars who turned out for an evening of go-go dancers and over-the-top live performances by the cast of Shortbus joined by indie bands Hidden Cameras, Gentleman Reg, Kids on TV, the acrobatic Wau Wau Sisters and members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The show, produced by James Coppola, saw a group finale that had over 40 performers on stage at once. The night was also highlighted by an electrifying performance by Mitchell singing selections from Hedwig and the Angry Inch and stage diving into the audience. Over 1,100 revelers were in attendance.

The cast and crew of Shortbus also participated in a panel hosted by Queer Lounge featuring a provocative discussion of the film's bold embrace of sexuality.

Other Queer Lounge highlights included an industry brunch, panel discussions on financing gay films in the Post-Brokeback Mountain era and the making of The Bubble, and a premiere party and concert for The Bubble featuring performances by Israel's top recording artist, Ivri Lider, glam singer-songwriter Hawksley Workman, and comedians Scott Thompson and Elvira Kurt.

Canadian V.I.P.s made their presence felt at Queer Lounge events, including government officials Steven Davidson [Assistant Deputy Minister of Culture for Ontario], John Tory [Leader of the Ontario Progressive Party] and Toronto City Councillor Kyle Rae. Top TIFF officials—including Co-Director of Toronto International Film Festival Noah Cowan, Managing Director Michelle Maheux and brunch Host Committee member Allison Bain—were seen at Queer Lounge events, as were cultural luminaries like David Usher [lead singer of Moist], producer Robert Lantos, singer/songwriter Carole Pope, Canadian Idol judge Jake Gold, director Jeremy Podeswa, Much Music VJ contestant Sean Gehon, and Juno-nominee and R&B artist Cory Lee.

Launched in 2004, Queer Lounge is a hot spot with a year-round mission: fostering—and building mainstream audiences—for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) films and filmmakers. The first organization ever to be recognized with the distinction of "TIFF Extra" by the Festival's organizers, Queer Lounge creates queer-friendly hubs at major, mainstream film festivals where up-and-coming LGBT filmmakers and artists can connect with industry leaders, audiences, and each other.

According to Queer Lounge founder and Executive Director Ellen Huang, other queer-related films making a splash at TIFF included: "Volver," the latest from auteur Pedro Almodovar and starring Penelope Cruz; "This Filthy World," Jeff Garlin's look at John Waters' storied career; "Infamous," a lighter, New York-centered look at Truman Capote's period writing In Cold Blood; "Twilight Dancers," a disturbing yet humorous look at gay bars and dancers in the Philippines, the acclaimed South Korean film, "King and the Clown" about a medieval king who falls for a male court jester, "L'Homme De Sa Vie" involving a romantic triangle between a married couple and their gay neighbor, and "Love and Other Disasters," the latest project from "Truth or Dare" director Alex Keshishian.

Said Huang, "Queer Lounge is about spreading awareness of gay films and connecting gay artists with industry leaders. There's still a lot of ghettoization and homophobia resulting in few gay-themed films that have the resources to crossover. Queer Lounge's mission is to take gay film to a broad audience where it can impact the mainstream."

Queer Lounge major partners this year include Star!, Xtra! and Eye Weekly, RBC Financial Group, Liberty Entertainment Group, Starbucks Duetto Visa Card, the Ontario Tourism Commission, Coors Light, and Splash Entertainment.

®Toronto International Film Festival is a registered trademark of Toronto International Film Festival Inc.

Patrick Kowalczyk,
Scott Piro,
MKPR, 212.627.8098 (U.S.)

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