Meeting Real World’s Pam & Judd at Fusion 2009
No, Pam & Judd are not a singing duo. They’re Judd Winick and Pam Ling from The Real World: San Francisco, the memorable third season of the MTV sbow that is still a hit 15 years later. Pam and Judd, who became close friends of Pedro Zamora while doing the show and also fell in love with each other, have gone on to successful careers in medicine and entertainment, respectively. I was so thrilled to meet them at last night’s screening of the new MTV movie Pedro (they are portrayed by actors but do have a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo) at last night’s Fusion 2009: The Los Angeles LGBT People of Color Film Festival. (They are pictured with actors Hale Appleman and Jenn Liu who portray them in the movie).
“It’s thrilling, here we are 15 years later,” Judd said. “Pedro gave us this great gift by sharing with everyone his story and it’s really heartening that after all these years, people have gotten together to tell his story yet again – openly and honestly. It’s more than we could hope for.”
Added Pam: “I think it’s really thrilling that a whole new generation of young people are going to be able to get to know Pedro’s story and, through the film, get to know him.”
The movie itself is deeply moving so I am disconcerted to see how many sites have judged it crummy after seeing the trailer. It’s a movie about family, courage, friendship and carried a strong message about the dangers of HIV/AIDS which killed Pedro when he was just 22. Click HERE to read my review of the film.
Anyway, Saturday night’s screening of Pedro was a complete sell-out and drew such out stars as Wilson Cruz, Robert Gant (pictured with me, left) and Jason Stuart, much of the main cast of Pedro, out directors Nick Oceano (Pedro), Patrik-Ian Polk (Noah’s Arc), Q. Allan Brocka (Boy Culture) and Jonah Markowitz, (Shelter) as well as Real World creator Jon Murray.
Oceano said even though Pedro had already screened at film festivals in Toronto and Berlin, Saturday night’s premiere in Hollywood had special significance: “There’s nothing like the hometown screening. So much of the cast and crew are here. It’s a predominately LGBT crowd and there’s nothing like showing it to your people – our people. To take a story a story that has so much meaning to the gay and lesbian community and to bring it home to this audience, it’s very exciting.”
I did loads of red carpet interviews which you’ll be seeing in the coming days and it was great to see all kinds of friends who were so encouraging about the new site including photographer Brian Putnam, writer James F. Mills, publicist Dominic Friesen and the great promoter Nelson Melegrito. I sat with my friend Jonathan Aubry of Regent Releasing during the film and tried not to let on that I was about to burst into tears the entire last 15 minutes. Jonathan is riding high because the company’s release, Departures from Japan, won the Oscar two weeks ago for best foreign language film.
I spoke with Outfest Executive Director Todd Heustess who was thrilled with the record turnout for Fusion, now in its sixth year.
“We sold out two nights, at least double the amount of admissions than we actually projected.” he said. “I think there’s a lot of excitement around Pedro and this being the LA premiere. I also think the timing is right. It’s a good time to bring the community together, that’s what I keep hearing from everybody. It feels like it’s time for us to have a little fun and celebrate and come together as a community. The energy and the vibe the last couple of days has just been incredible.”
There’s that, and then there’s also Facebook.
“We really perfected with Fusion the social networking aspect of getting the message out there,” Todd said. “We had over 2,000 people RSVP through Facebook. I think we’re really realizing the benefit of that as a marketing tool – a free marketing tool.”
Photos courtesy of Brian Putnam