Once upon a time: Anthony Paull and Something Spilled Productions represent SRQ at this year’s LGBT Film Festival.

Published August 18, 2010

This weekend Burns Court Cinemas invites Sarasota to celebrate diversity with The Fabulous LGBT Film Festival, a two-day event featuring six feature-length films, four opening with a short by local filmmaker and writer Anthony Paull. The Once and Future Me is Paull’s directing debut and the second short he’s written and filmed in Sarasota through Something Spilled Productions, which Paull started with locals Steve Lesser and Heather Manley. The company was named after an incident that happened while Manley and Paull were covering the Sundance Film Festival. Paull had spilled some wine during an after party at a swanky house and had told the maid, “Something spilled over there.”

The first film to emerge from Something Spilled was a short called The Green, Green Heart, which screened at the Delray Beach Film Festival. A promising outcome for such a low budget project, the trio decided to up the ante and hired a professional cinematographer and assistant director for The Once and Future Me. “It looks hot,” says Paull, “I mean, compared to our first film? Our first film was like a porno.”

Paull, who also stars in the film along with Manley, wrote the story line directly from events that were taking place in his life at the time. He was in a long-term relationship that was experiencing a lull and he began trying to alter himself in an effort to change the situation. “I was doing all of these things to improve myself and spark the fire again, just trying to be perfect so I could get the attention I got when we first met,” says Paull, “so it turned into this.”

The eight-minute film isn’t that easily spelled out for the viewer, however, as Paull incorporates fantasy by having his character, Paul, encounter his future self, who has arrived by way of spaceship from 50 years in the future to show him the final result of his current bodily modifications — he will eventually become a woman named Belinda, played by Manley. “Something I learned a long time ago is that you don’t fear things that haven’t happened,” says Paull, “that’s what [Belinda is] trying to say: ‘You don’t fear turning into this because it hasn’t happened to you yet. I fear it because it’s happened to me and I don’t want to be this person.’”

The soundtrack for the movie is provided by local trance-dance band meteorEyes, their song “Splish-Splash” opening many of the scenes throughout. The tune includes the line “We will be the change when you open your eyes,” singer Shannon Fortner’s mantra for LGBT equal civil rights. “As soon as I heard that song I really connected with it,” says Paull. “I was just like, ‘Oh my God, this song is what I’m going through. This is my life.” Fortner has been an inspiration to Paull since the two met a few year’s ago. He often listens to meteorEyes when writing: “Heather is definitely my muse, she’s my actress. And then Shannon is my singer.”

Paull is now finishing up work on his second novel and also writes a popular LGBT column that currently runs in ten states. But screenwriting is something that comes more naturally to him. He’s already working on another short based in Sarasota calledAir Signs. “To me it’s definitely easier to write a script. Whenever I write I picture everything in my head. The new book I’m writing, I can see it as a movie and I’m definitely writing it as a movie, because I want it to become a movie.”

PHOTO COURTESY ANTHONY PAULL

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