My Gay Toronto - Bellini's 8 1/2


by Paul Bellini

Two years ago I started shooting footage of rainy days, first on foot and then later from inside my car. Being a mad obsessive, I shot about 40 hours of this and some of it was both delicate and beautiful. Rain creates lovely refractions and adds mystery to the world. I also shot it in black and white so it would be even moodier.

At a certain point I thought I had something, so I contacted a film editor, a guy from Kingston called James Greatrex. James immediately knew what to do with the footage, and crafted an atmospheric visual poem scored with both thunder sounds and introspective music from my 80s rock band Mouth Congress. The end result, a 12 minute experimental art film called Bellini’s Rain, is a hypnotic comedy about rain’s power to lull us into submission.

So proud, I decided to submit it to various film festivals. Big name festivals passed, and I get it - the short films at TIFF, for instance, come with agents and publicists and producers, all lobbying for that all important AMPAS-qualifying screen time. We didn’t stand a chance. But what about a local queer film festival? Surely they’ve at least heard of me and might consider my work? So I submitted it to the Inside Out Film and Video Festival, which incidentally is currently on right now here in Toronto.

Anyway, I should have saved the forty bucks. It was turned down. Now, I’ve been going to the Inside Out for years, and I’ve had to sit through some of the most excruciating films ever made, so I can’t imagine why they couldn’t have found twelve minutes of screen time for our little movie. Who knows, maybe it wasn’t gay enough. Even I thought it could have used some bare chested hunks. In any event, you be the judge. Here is the link.