The Set-up

Sundance 2008 blog Bruce LaBruce is one of Canada’s most audacious filmmakers. His satiric, sexually graphic work includes Super 8 ½ (1993), Hustler White (1996) and The Raspberry Reich (2004). His latest picture is the gay zombie film Otto; or Up with Dead People. The film has its world premiere at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, which runs Jan. 17-27. LaBruce will be blogging about his adventures at Sundance for

Filmmaker Bruce LaBruce. (Bruce LaBruce)

This is the fourth time I’ve been invited to Park City, Utah to attend Bob Redford’s little vanity project (which has become one of the top five film festivals on the planet), and it’s my third world premiere. Funny place to have a world premiere, in a remote mountain ski resort in one of the more conservative states of America — especially considering I don’t ski — but that’s show business.

When I first traveled to Sundance in 1995 with my movie Super 8 ½, the festival was essentially two snow banks and a pre-eyeliner Jared Leto. But even then it had apparently become too mainstream for some disgruntled film folk, who started up a parallel film festival, Slamdance, that year. (A few years later, an alternative to the alternative, called Slamdunk, would emerge, followed by Tromadance, the only festival with no entry fee and free screenings.)

I can’t remember much about my screening in 1995, but I do vividly recall attending Larry Clark’s Kids, the sensation of the festival, as the guest of its executive producer, Gus Van Sant, and its writer, Harmony Korine. I remember because Gus and his then-boyfriend, D-J, and I smuggled a bottle of tequila into the screening and kept slipping it to Harmony, who was under the legal drinking age. Fun times!

The following year, I presented the world premiere of my movie Hustler White. at Sundance. Hollywood had really begun to descend on the festival with a vengeance, like a plague of sewage (see: the South Park episode about Sundance). It was still fun, but there were too many agents and entertainment lawyers and other men in black running rings around the poor Parker Poseys, desperately looking for the next big thing. As I had partly financed my film by pre-selling U.S. rights, they pretty much left me alone. Besides, a movie featuring an amputee hustler who pleasures his clients with his leg stump isn’t necessarily the kind of indie fare they’re looking for to break into the multiplexes.

Four years ago I returned to Sundance with The Raspberry Reich, a sexually explicit movie about the leader of a gang of extreme left-wing terrorists who makes her straight male followers have sex with each other to prove their revolutionary commitment. Once again, it wasn’t exactly Little Miss Sunshine, and as it had been pre-sold to US. distributor Strand Releasing, I wasn’t paid much mind, although the film did go on to play at over 150 film festivals worldwide. This time I was a little shocked to discover that Sundance had become so overrun by Hollywood types that Paris Hilton herself was in attendance. In fact, at one party, I was asked to relinquish my banquette beside the DJ booth to make way for the Queen of All Emptiness. Only to prove that chivalry wasn’t quite dead yet, I magnanimously complied.

Returning this year with my new movie, Otto; or, Up with Dead People, all bets are off. It’s another world premiere, but this time we haven’t pre-sold the U.S. territory. I will be attending with my Canadian co-producers, Jennifer Jonas and Leonard Farlinger of New Real Films, and our sales agent, Charlotte Mickie of Maximum Films, who will have the pleasure of trying to sell a melancholy gay zombie movie with political overtones to a mob of distributors looking for the next Juno. On the upside, I’m in the Park City at Midnight section alongside Diary of the Dead, directed by recent Toronto resident George A. Romero, the master of the zombie genre. Apparently we used the same camera to shoot our respective zombie movies, the Panasonic 900 HDX. I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Main | Next Post »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.




Good on CBC. Bruce Labruce is the perfect antithesis for Sundance coverage.
We are eagerly awaiting more installments.

Posted January 17, 2008 09:07 AM



hey bruce la b. - very droll but also very funny - look forward to more entries.
stick to your guns with the "emptiness" factor a the festival - beware of hanger-ons and keep it real ... oh btw - good luck with selling your film.

Posted January 17, 2008 10:35 AM

Anthony Glassman

If there is one person whose experiences at Sundance could be expected to be interesting, amusing, witty, incisive and completely honest, it's Bruce LaBruce. One can only hope he's so tired of her publicity that this year, instead of relinquishing a banquette next to the DJ booth to her, he instead slaps Paris Hilton.

Posted January 17, 2008 10:35 AM


It must be the end of the world. Bruce LaBruce at! Finally, some real counter-culture for the Corp. It hasn't been the same since Brave New Waves was cancelled (and even then... not since Brent left BNW).

Posted January 17, 2008 11:02 AM


Who woulda figured a boy from Port Elgin (or was it Kincardine) would become such a darling of the dark-star set? We love you Bruce!

Posted January 17, 2008 07:12 PM

Laurie Gordon

...and now here I am at Sundance about to venture out.I will comment here perhaps on my Sundance newbie Sundance impressions. Personally I am happy to shmooze top level execs in the hopes my film(s) and ideas become as commercial as heck so Canada can be proud of me and claim me as their own. Oh Canada still doesn't recognize my brand of CHIWAWA music but are supporting our films (the Late Ryan Larkin's animation film Spare Change and a documentary on his reanimation to creativity) are in production and the Canadian film industry has been by far kinder to me then the Canadian music insiders. Viva Sundance.I'll keep you posted on my hopes, hits and disappointments.
cha cha cha
Laurie Gordon

Posted January 18, 2008 10:48 AM



Yes, it is a relief to see Bruce blogging for the CBC. Laurels (this time) to the CBC. As a media junkie, it's refreshing to come across honest (or is it un-self-censored?) commentary. It's equally interesting that the CBC recognizes that art and artists have something more to say than their art alone offers. I'm impressed. Thanks Bruce. Have fun for us all, B.

Posted January 18, 2008 03:44 PM

Jon Champion

Who are you? Since the demise of UK's The Face I thought all underground pop-culture was dead.. fantastic read...thought provoking and quite interesting...writing as an australian in toronto at the moment (-10 not really my thing) its intriguing to see this kind of post on a conglomerate news website...especially considering how commercialised the bbc has become... will definately be tracking down some of your films... who knows maybe someone will put them up on the end of the world is coming and i love it! rock on

Posted January 22, 2008 03:45 AM

Laurie Gordon

I've slept two hours and I am exhausted.I have a meeting in two hours with one network and a half hour later with a second. I want to sleep for the next 48 but life has it that this is impossible. I have been in the same breathing space as many celebrities in the last 100 hours and as many investors.
I am happy to say that I am happy , impressed and at times thoroughly disgusted. All at once, with the beautiful, deranged, ugly, and persistent I am me in the abstract. I have been in a house with 50 Cent - who was in a secured room playing Celebrity Poker. Stakes at amounts like $60,000.00...beautiful girls with dilated pupils headed the way of Edie Sedgwick. Harry O's, the disco everyone's there aligned with giant body guards bigger than vikings. The excess and the pretense is worthy of an anthropological study. Deirdre Hall from Days of Our Lives is nice. Morgan Freeman is suffering from altitude sickness...couldn't get up Main street easily..."Wait Up..."Val Kilmer who seems to be at a normal wait again and actress who's name escapes me are serious tennis players and trained yesterday...Kanye West plays tonight. Now time to be a filmmaker.Off to meeting I will be uploading moving images soon...later.
I am proud of my Canada pin pinned ( freak in a parka image) to my coat next to my NERD button. . I love saying I am Canadian. Montreal has the cool factor. "WOW, I LOVE Montreal." jazz fest....
yawn Yippee
ps saw Bruce at the TELEFILM Lounge at the Yarrow Hotel..."who's that? "Oh , that's Bruce LaBruce."
No introduction and off he, Bruce, went after delivering poster...

Posted January 22, 2008 10:50 AM

Main | Next Post »

Post a Comment


Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Note: Due to volume there will be a delay before your comment is processed. Your comment will go through even if you leave this page immediately afterwards.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy


World »

Somali cabinet minister who called Toronto home killed in Al-Shabaab hotel siege
A Somali cabinet minister who called Toronto home was among 15 people killed Saturday when gunmen stormed a hotel in that country’s capital in an hours-long attack that reportedly began with a suicide bomber detonating a vehicle loaded with explosives at its gate.
British pound slips once more as Asian markets open
Asian stocks fell and the British pound tumbled more than two per cent in early trade on Monday as markets struggled to shake off deep uncertainty sparked by Britain's decision to leave the European Union.
Analysis In the U.S., same-sex marriage a milestone, not the finish line
Love knows no borders — except, it seems, in 32 states in America. A year after a June 26, 2015 Supreme Court ruling granted marriage equality nationwide, same-sex couples have not shaken the last vestiges of discrimination.
more »

Canada »

Squamish BASE jumper dead after parachute reportedly malfunctions
A BASE jumper who leaped off a climbing spot on the Stawamus Chief has died after a parachute failed to deploy properly, Squamish RCMP said.
Heavy rain floods homes, washes over curbs
The city of Thunder Bay in northwestern Ontario is drying out after a heavy downpour caused flooding in some areas of the city on Saturday.
Saskatoon's south bridge could share its name with Mr. Hockey
On Monday’s city council meeting, Coun. Darren Hill plans to bring forward a motion to name the Circle Drive South Bridge after the late Gordie Howe.
more »

Politics »

Analysis Justin Trudeau's fight with the forces of Brexit and Donald Trump video
There are hints that what happened in Britain on Thursday was driven by economic exclusion, political alienation and fears about immigration. Precisely the sorts of things Justin Trudeau has seemed eager to be seen as standing against.
U.K. wants free trade deal with Canada, high commissioner says audio
Britain's high commissioner is open to signing a free trade deal with Canada now that the United Kingdom has opted out of the European Union.
Analysis Rebuilding conservative coalition in Alberta a job like no other in Canadian politics
While conservatives wait to see if Jason Kenney will quit federal politics, the prospect of what he seeks to do in Alberta is a daunting one. Can Kenney succeed where Jim Prentice failed?
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

2016 BET Awards: Prince, political content loom large
The BET Awards — or "The Prince Tribute Show" — featured emotional and energetic performances from Sheila E., Stevie Wonder and Jennifer Hudson honoring the Purple One, along with political statements on issues ranging from racial injustice to the U.S. presidential election.
Austin Clarke, author of The Polished Hoe, dead at 81
Canadian writer Austin Clarke died on Sunday, June 26 at the age of 81, CBC Books has confirmed.
Kanye West dares Famous celebs to sue him, then changes his mind
Kanye West might profess to be millions of dollars in debt, but that's not stopping him from asking to be sued by the people in his new video for the song Famous.
more »

Technology & Science »

Soap slides out of plastic bottles spray-coated with silica nanoparticles
The aggravation of not getting the last drop of shampoo out of the bottle may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to research on a microscopic coating that makes soap droplets bead and flow more easily.
Analysis Why ad blocking hangs like a dark cloud over online advertising audio
Just about any time advertisers and publishers get together these days, the question of what to do about ad blocking is usually high on the agenda, Ira Basen writes.
Tape over your laptop camera? Why it might not be as paranoid as it seems
A curious photo circulating online of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's personal laptop has ignited a conversation about data security, and how people can protect themselves against hackers.
more »

Money »

British pound slips once more as Asian markets open
Asian stocks fell and the British pound tumbled more than two per cent in early trade on Monday as markets struggled to shake off deep uncertainty sparked by Britain's decision to leave the European Union.
Analysis Is it time for a crackdown on B.C.'s real estate industry?
You have to hand it to Carolyn Rogers. The head of B.C.'s Financial Commission clearly has a flair for drama. With just weeks left on the job, Rogers is set to deliver a much-anticipated swan song this week, her report on the state of the province's most hotly debated industry: real estate.
Analysis No clear end to financial uncertainty after Brexit vote: Don Pittis video
Experts predicted a clear Brexit decision would clear the air and put markets back on track. Maybe so if the vote had been for Britain to remain in the European Union. But the vote to leave means uncertainty could continue to roil financial markets for months or years to come, Don Pittis writes.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Breaking Lionel Messi says he's retiring from international soccer: report
Lionel Messi tells Argentine network TyC Sports he's quitting national soccer team after losing to Chile in Copa America final.
Preview Canadian women's artistic gymnastics Olympic team to be decided at Rio selection camp
Canada's women's artistic gymnastics team secured its spot in the Olympics last October, but this week's qualification camp will pit teammate vs. teammate to determine who will be going to Rio 2016.
Recap Copa America: Chile repeats as champions with penalty-kicks win over Argentina
Chile upset favourites Argentina with a a penalty shootout victory in the Copa America final at MetLife Stadium on Sunday to retain their title in the world's oldest continental soccer competition.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »