One of the big hits at the South By Southwest Film Festival in Austin is
also one of the big hits of Sundance. After all, a rose is still a rose,
a romance is a romance even if it is a lesbian love story. Sisters Julia
and Gretchen Dyer have that special shorthand that makes movie making simpler,
and it shows in the direction and screenwriting of "Late Bloomers".
School secretary, Carly Lumpkin thinks that geometry teacher, Dinah Groshardt
is having an affair with her algebra teacher husband. The two women form
a fast friendship once the truth is out and friendship gives way to a goofy
but real romance. The temptation to make a political statement is side-stepped
in favor of a warm and witty love story.
Gretchen Dyer is still looking at distribution deals and it is rewarding
to have recognition after the numerous problems associated with making a
"lesbian" film. Every request but one was turned down for brand-name
product placement. A cheerleading coach was fired for being associated
with the film on the basis of being "a bad role model for teenage girls".
No public high school in Texas wanted to be associated with the subject
matter so the nature of the story was disguised to gain access. But the
local film industry was as generous as the others had been stingy. Even
the two stars, Dee Hennigan and Connie Nelson pitched in with fundraising.
And the results are well worth the effort.