VQFF: Spotlight Director – Bruce LaBruce

Bruce LaBruce photo credit: VQFF

Sunday night’s feature at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival was on the festival’s 6th Annual Spotlight Director – Bruce LaBruce.

Pornographer, enfant terrible, provocateur, punk, pervert, guerrilla filmmaker, smut perveyor…these are just some of the labels applied to Bruce LaBruce over the years, sometimes in a derogatory tone, sometimes not.  LaBruce certainly doesn’t shy away from these labels and in fact ‘owns’ the titles in come cases. The Ontario born and based filmmaker and photographer has been a cutting edge creative force in Canada and around the world for nearly a quarter century.  The young film-school student, first gaining attention (and some notoriety) with his self-produced queer-punk fanzine, J.D.s and short films in the mid-eighties. As his work and experience grew, his provocative mix of gay porn, fetishism and violence both alienated and gained the attention of audiences and censors. The pseudonym, Bruce LaBruce came about as a way to evade possible legal prosecution due to this censorship. However, LaBruce, has never let the negative press and law enforcement keep him from pursuing his own creative passions, style and content. The featured VQFF documentary “Advocate For Fagdom” examines his eclectic career and his influence on other artists and collaborators. Featuring comment from other avant garde directors like; Gus Van Sant, John Waters and Harmony Korine.
Following the documentary LaBruce was present for a question and answer session hosted by local Vancouver artist Michael Venus which gave an even more in-depth view into the work and what else is on the horizon for the artist.  Much recent work has been in Berlin, a city he feels has a good artistic community and encourages a creative culture, he recently produced his first opera in Berlin.  While his features may have grown in budget, due to the nature of his material funding continues to be a challenge.  He is so used to this now that learning to film on a micro-budget has become part of his filmmaking style, many times working without permits and giving his recent 2010 LA Zombie film as an example, doing guerrilla filming in the city’s lanes and alleys.  We can look forward to more artistry from LaBruce as he continues to advance his creativity in print, film and theatre.

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