Reel Affirmations 2006
Review by Tim Plant
Rating: (3 out of 5)
Monday, 10/16/2006, 9:00 PM
Feature presentation, $9 at Lincoln Theatre
KIRK SHANNON-BUTTS’S debut feature-length film, Blueprint, was funded in part by Reel Affirmation’s ”Plant a Seed” program, which awards grants to up-and-coming film makers. Blueprint demonstrates that Shannon-Butts has great potential and could become an important voice in GLBT cinema — even in an unfinished version, Blueprint has the components to be a powerful film.
Blueprint is the tender story of two young men who are just beginning to explore their feelings for each other. Rather than letting their differences keep them apart, ultimately they find common ground on which to stand. The question is, however, for how long? With a predominantly African-American cast, Blueprint is a refreshing change to the typical gay cinema coming out of the United States.
Blake Young-Fountain is wonderful as the shy and reserved Keith, who needs to be pushed to step outside his neat life. However, Damien Lee truly shines as the wild, yet romantic, Nathan. The interaction between the two displays the awkwardness and questioning that all young couples experience. Whether they’re buying toothpaste or exploring life outside New York City, Keith and Nathan are traveling without a map, but headed in the right direction.
Blueprint has all the potential for being a great story, but suffers some of the pitfalls of a first film. Extraneous scenes added for comic relief or character development for non-principal parts do little more than disrupt the pace of the film, which is already in danger of being too slow. The key elements of a solid film are present, they just need to be massaged to their full potential.
Once Blueprint is more polished, it could become an important addition to gay film. Shannon-Butts is definitely a director to watch. — TP