Thursday, February 2, 2017
Awesome Chat W Richard Ross Makes One Love Sound of Breaking Glass 'Cause There's Something New
The awesome gay-themed theatrical and DVD releases that Philadelphia-based breaking glass pictures (and breaking subsidiary QC Cinema) make available at least once a month reflects the hard work and commitment to quality of breaking co-presidents Richard Wolff and Richard Ross. Their pre-breaking history dates back to corner offices at the Philadelphia-based gay-themed film company tla video.
Although Wolff was on a business trip, a chance for a telephone chat with Ross exceeded expectations regarding insight into breaking and the film industry. Introductory pleasantries including discussing the term "filthy whore" in conjunction with a breaking tweet referring to the Chris Elliott comedy "Cabin Boy" got things off to a great start. The entire session seemed as if it were a casual lunch with a fellow cinephile at a Philadelphia cheese steak restaurant.
Thin White Duke
Knowing that the company name is a direct homage to a David Bowie song with the same title and that the lyrics of the latter include "you got problems oh-oh-oh-oh; I'll never touch you" screamed for asking Ross if identifying his company in that manner reflected a less-than-stellar experience at tla.
The unequivocal response was "Absolutely not; we (Wolff and Ross) were huge David Bowie fans before we met." Ross added that he and his new partner in crime films wanted to honor Bowie in 2009 by using the title of this obscure song as the name of their new company.
Ross then stated that he understood my speculation and explained that the song represented a course of action, rather than a rebellious act.
This topic led to Ross volunteering that he and Wolff "have always been on the lookout for anything related to him (Bowie.)" Ross added that breaking pursued acquiring the rights to a documentary about Bowie soon after the 2016 death of that singer/actor but that that deal fell through for those young Americans.
Insider the Distributor's Studio
The aforementioned love of breaking titles made the chance to ask Ross about the criteria for adding a film to the catalog of the company a special treat. The thoughtful answer noted the difficulty regarding such decisions and acknowledged that such choices had to reflect that he and Wolff were running a business.
Ross stated as well that "we certainly welcome anything queer-related" and that a theatrical run ahead of a DVD release was a large plus. He added that a festival run provided films a large boost, sharing that a film that sold out at a festival could put very few butts in seats in a general showing in the same city the following week.
This film veteran attributed the contrast regarding box office totals to festival excitement. The better news was that exuberant festival goers boosted DVD sales by sharing their enthusiasm for the one-time showing of the film with friends, family, and social-media followers.
Ross explained that breaking did not consider running its own festival because a friend of both breaking and its principals (as well as its principles) already organized Qfest in Philadelphia. This support included the (Unreal TV reviewed) breaking movie "People You May Know" being a Qfest opening night film.
Praise for fellow festival (and also Unreal TV reviewed) film "Lazy Eye" included the observation that that one had an incredible festival run that may have been the best one that Ross has experienced in his career.
An aside related to this was that your not-so-humble reviewer shared that Nick Corporon, who was the writer/director of the recent breaking film "Retake," stated in an interview that it seemed that festivals paired "Eye" and "Retake." Corporon joked regarding that that the films belonged to a subgenre of gay men in the desert.
Considerations related to the art v. commerce debate that pervades the film industry in this Snyder-dominated era prompted Ross to share that "we must look at the necessary requirements or the expenses of the film." These factors included contractual obligations regarding the aforementioned theatrical runs.
Surprising candor related to this came in the form of Ross stating that "you start the life of a film after a (money-losing) theatrical run in a hole; the question is how deep is the hole?"
Relatability of Modern Gay-Themed Films
"Eye" and "Retake" coming up in the chat opened the door to discussing whether many gay-oriented breaking and QC films revolving around universal themes was intentional. Ross began this dialogue with observing that "we are at the point in this country that we have to ask 'what is gay?'" He raised the related speculation that having Trump in the Oval Office may require once again asking if a movie is a gay one.
Ross further said that "Lazy Eye" could have been made with a heterosexual couple as the main focus in this film that examined whether a spark really existed at the beginning of a romance with a traumatic end for two men who reunited 15 years later. He added the breaking "always looks for edgy content."
DVD v. Streaming
Both strongly preferring DVD over streaming and being amazed that the former has not moved beyond being an endangered species required asking Ross for his thoughts regarding those formats. His encouraging news was that an annual evaluation showed that "2016 was a fantastic year for DVDs" at breaking. He noted that the company released more than 90-percent of its titles in that format.
The even better news was that Ross described DVD sales of all LGBT-related releases as "brisk."
This led to Ross discussing the strong breaking commitment to including bonus material in DVD releases. He noted that these often were Q&A sessions at film festivals and/or short films by the maker (or makers) of the main feature. He properly took additional pride regarding those special features adding up to 60 -minutes of content to a DVD release.
Que Sera Sera
The conversation with Ross beginning with a discussion of the music of David Bowie makes ending it on a musical note apt. In this case, the Doris Day song from the '50s. In this case, "what will be will be" means that Ross and Wolff will continue seeking out films, such as the (Unreal TV reviewed) "Godless" that sensitively tackles the delicate issue of brother-brother incest, that go where larger studios fear to tread.
These true gentlemen and scholars also will continue bringing films that show that the gay experience is not so different than the straight one to light.
Folks whose tastes run to less cerebral subjects can look forward to breaking releases such as the scifi film "Robot Wars."
Anyone with questions or comments regarding Ross, breaking, or genuine Philadelphia cheesesteaks is strongly encouraged to email me. You also can connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.