Gregg Araki’s “Kaboom” was announced today as the winner of the inaugural Queer Palm, awarded to an LGBT film at the Cannes Film Festival, at a ceremony held at Zanzibar, the oldest gay bar in Europe and popular with gay fest goers. Sponsored by Gallic filmmakers Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau (“Cote d’Azur,” “The Adventures of Felix”), the Queer Palm joins Berlin’s Teddy and Venice’s Queer Lion, similar LGBT-themed awards at other major world festivals.
The Queer Palm jury consisted of Benoit Arnulf (Nice’s LGBT fest), Florence Ben Sadoun (director), Romain Charbon (film journalist), Mike Goodridge (Screen), Xavier Leherpeur (film journalist), Ivan Mitifiot (Lyon’s LGBT fest), Pascale Ourbih (Chéries chéris Paris LGBT fest), and Brian Robinson (London LGBT fest).
“Within minutes of Gregg Araki’s ‘Kaboom,’ a familiar world comes together,” indieWIRE‘s Eric Kohn wrote in his review. “The man responsible for subversive American indie delights like ‘The Living End” and ‘The Doom Generation’ now introduces Smith (Thomas Dekker), a shy college student majoring in film studies and toying around with bisexuality. In case that last clause made it unclear, ‘Kaboom’ offers a welcome return to Araki’s self-made universe.”
“Kaboom” was acquired by IFC Films out of the festival.
UPDATE: Gregg Araki released a statement this morning, thanking the jury for the prize:
“I was so deeply honored and humbled when I learned KABOOM had been chosen to participate in this year’s Main Selection. Like the protagonist of my movie, I was a Film Studies major in college and I never even dreamed that one day a film of mine might show in the Palais where all the legendary auteurs I’ve admired and idolized over the years have screened their films. To win the festival’s first Queer Palm Award on top of all this is almost beyond belief! Thanks to Thierry Fremeaux and everyone at the festival, to Pascal Caucheteux and Sebastian Lemercier of Why Not and Vincent Maraval of Wild Bunch, to my producer Andrea Sperling, to my amazing cast and crew and most of all to the incredible, crazy audience that turned out for our movie last Saturday and made that night the most unforgettable and extraordinary night of my life. Merci beaucoup!” – Gregg Araki