Shout OUT: Jim Brunzell

These are the people in our gayborhood: Cinema Savvy Ally

Shout OUT: Jim Brunzell
Courtesy of Jim Brunzell

Name: Jim Brunzell
Status: Austin, TX, Originally MN.
ID: Ally
Queerly Quotable: "I would love to see every single screen and theatre packed. I want all the films to be successful in their own way, and I want people to walk away learning something new, or discovering a filmmaker they haven’t heard of before."

Yes, it's Pride Week, and we are already thinking ahead to our LGBTQ film festival. Sue us. In celebration of aGLIFF’s 28th season, September 10-13, we’re giving a Shout OUT to Jim Brunzell. Originally from Saint Paul, Minnesota, Brunzell is the program director for Austin’s longest running film festival.

According to Brunzell, “The one misconception of this job is that all I do is watch movies." Brunzell also prides himself on selecting the films that screen at aGLIFF, as well as providing an extensive wealth of knowledge on other film festivals and upcoming films in post-production, recruiting jury members, and organizing and arranging the formatting of the films. In reality, Brunzell says, watching movies is only about a quarter of the job.

Being that 2015 has turned out to be a year of great societal change and prosperity for the LGBT community, this cinema addict wanted to get all the ins and outs on this year's lineup: “Transgender individuals have become a huge focal point in 2015," says Brunzell, "especially with the announcement of Bruce Jenner becoming Caitlyn Jenner, so we have a lot of transgender films at the festival this year." Moreover, Brunzell explains that as a result of SCOTUS ruling in favor of same-sex marriages countrywide, aGLIFF fans can also anticipate a shorts program this year entitled #LoveWins.

Grateful that aGLIFF took a chance on someone who is not only straight but a yankee to boot, Brunzell says, "It’s opened up my eyes and my mind to a lot of different stories that I wasn’t really involved with prior to aGLIFF, like Mala Mala," a documentary on transgender life in Puerto Rico. Brunzell explains how the film had a positive impact on his perception of the transgender community and how the film speaks volumes to what is going on in the world today. He hopes that in the next five years he'll be able to continue bringing Austin an abundance of LGBT cinema as aGLIFF's program director.

Inside Scoop: He's been writing film reviews since he was 9 years old. Growing up, he looked to his father, pro wrestling star "Jumping" Jim Brunzell as a role model. A "die-hard Minnesota Vikings fan," when he isn't getting ready for the aGLIFF season, Brunzell says he's usually watching a game and unwinding. When asked who would play him in the Hollywood version of his life, Brunzell says, "Matt Dillon, because he is in my favorite movie of all time, Drug Store Cowboy, and I’ve been told that I looked like him when I was younger."

For more on aGLIFF, follow them on Facebook, Twitter @aGLIFF, Instagram, or YouTube.

Watch out for more Shout OUTs coming to a Gay Place near you!

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