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Here and back again: Dorian Blues producer Mary-Beth Taylor and writer-director Tennyson Bardwell before last weekend’s Capital Region premiere.

photo:Chris Shields

Bringing It All Back Home

Dorian Blues, Ballston Spa filmmaker Tennyson Bardwell’s first feature-length production, made its Capital Region debut to sellout audiences last weekend, providing a homecoming of sorts for much of the film’s cast and crew.

“It felt late, because we’ve been out on the festival circuit for two years now,” said Bardwell of the hectic touring schedule that preceded the film’s recent screening at the Spectrum 8 Theatres in Albany.

Shot almost entirely around the Capital Region, the film returned home with a host of awards (including several “Audience Choice” and “Best Feature” awards) from various festivals, and a cast and crew who were thrilled about the opportunity to show off the product of their labor to some familiar faces. Nevertheless, Bardwell quickly discovered that the rave reviews each showing produced came from more people than just those with professional or social connections to the film’s cast and crew.

“I really thought it was just going to be full of people involved with the film, but we had a show of hands and found out that most of the people in the audience weren’t involved in making the film at all,” said Bardwell. “That was definitely a pleasant surprise.”

However, Bardwell said some of the best compliments the film was paid were generated during the Q&A sessions that followed many screenings. As a straight man writing about the trials and tribulations of coming out of the closet for a film he hoped would appeal to straight and gay audiences alike, he wasn’t sure what to expect from each crowd that showed up for screenings.

“Here in Albany, it was a mostly straight crowd, but when we were in San Francisco, the audience was almost entirely gay men,” laughed Bardwell. “It was interesting, because each crowd laughs at different parts of the film.”

“But I realized I must have done something right when I was in San Francisco and the audience wouldn’t believe I was straight,” he added.

The success of the film recently prompted the Spectrum to extend Dorian Blues’ stay through Feb. 16. With the DVD of Dorian Blues hitting shelves less than a week after its theater run ends and The Skeptic, his second film, already in post-production, Bardwell says he hopes his newest film can begin—rather than end—with a Capital Region screening.

“This is where we made Dorian Blues and it’s where we made The Skeptic,” he said. “So this is like our home field.”

—Rick Marshall

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