Why I Love TLA

For the month of August, TLA Video ran a contest called "TLA Gives It Away" where the web site asked contestants to "Think about what you love about TLA." Being that I've been following TLA for a while now, and not just on Twitter, I did just that.

In April 2001, I decided to volunteer for the 10th Philadelphia Film Festival or, as it was called back then, the Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema. I still have the T-shirt they gave me, and if you look at the bottom of the graphic printed on the shirt, you'll see that TLA Entertainment managed that festival. That was my introduction to TLA. I worked as an usher at the Annenberg Center and as a ticket taker at the Ritz Bourse. I met a lot of cool people and I saw a lot of really cool movies. I also had a lot of really cool fun.

In 2003, I was able to return to the festival, not as a volunteer but this time as a patron. Every year, the Philadelphia Film Society publishes a book listing all the details of the festival. I saved that book and each subsequent one as a memento. As I flipped through 2003's pages, one movie jumped out at me. It was the film on page 66 called 9 Dead Gay Guys. It was the only film with the word "gay" in the title and the only film dealing with gay characters, so I bought a ticket and went to the premiere at the Prince Music Theater. I bought tickets for three other movies earlier that afternoon. On the back of which were coupons for TLA Video, even one for three free rentals.

I liked the three other movies, but I was so impressed with 9 Dead Gay Guys, which TLA was distributing, that I wanted to write about it. At the time, I was taking a freelance writing course at my college and I needed a final subject before the course ended and felt this movie would be a good one. This was after I saw online that people walked out of this movie at the Cannes Film Festival.

I still have the college folder where I kept all the research for my paper. I even have the email from Lewis Tice who sent me some very useful information. I still have the paper I wrote, which my professor gave me a 84 out of 100. Not so bad! But, working on that paper only confirmed my love for TLA and confirmed that I would be going to the festival the following April 2004.

I don't know why I didn't notice it, but every July, TLA also sponsors a second film festival, the Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. The 10th annual was the first one I attended, and its lineup was great. I ended up seeing 13 movies over the course of 4 days, including Noah's Arc, Shiner, Graffiti Artist, Brother to Brother, Dorian Blues, Sugar and Harry and Max, the majority of which were TLA-distributed movies, and it was cool because for the first time I was seeing films that reflected what I felt inside and what I was going through.

After that visit to the festival, I scoured both the April and July festivals of subsequent years for all the TLA-distributed films that I could find. I cherished them because it was TLA that showed me my first gay film on the big screen. TLA popped my gay film cherry, as it were. Changes to the April festival began in 2009 and the July event is now called Qfest, but I haven't missed a festival up until 2011. I eagerly get TLA's DVD catalog, which features all its festival films but I think I love TLA the most because this past July, TLA retweeted my review of its most recent release, eCupid.

Thanks for all you do. I love you, TLA!


Popular Posts