Michael Phillis is back in the bay area after a glorious week in the desert!

As his official bio explains, “MICHAEL PHILLIS is a writer, director, performer, and teacher. He began his career as a stage actor upon graduating from the UC Santa Barbara Acting Conservatory in 2004. He is a prolific playwright whose original works include one-man shows D*FACE (2006) and DOLLS (2008) as well as full-length plays FINDING MRS. MILLER (2004), WISH WE WERE HERE (2010), BRIDE OF DEATH (2012), WUNDERWORLD (2013), and IT'S CHRISTMAS, CAROLE! (2013). He co-wrote and starred in the short film LOVE & ANGER (2011) which premiered at the Frameline LGBTQ Film Festival and went on to play festivals around the world. Based in San Francisco, he is an active presence in the City’s thriving drag scene and the creator and director of BALONEY, SF’s popular gay all-male revue. MINI SUPREME (2015) marks his film directorial debut.”

Mini Supreme photo by icole Fraser-Herron.

The official Mini Supreme backgrounder explains:

“MINI SUPREME is an unconventional short film in many ways, from its unlikely protagonist to the way it was funded and filmed.

Shot entirely on location in San Francisco, MINI SUPREME brings together two disparate communities: drag performance and children's pageants. The on-set mingling of seasoned drag queens and four- and five-year-old beauty queens was a singular experience for both cast and crew (though some would argue that these two worlds are more closely related than they appear).

The film was financed using an unorthodox method of crowd-sourcing. Pageant-themed “FULL GLITZ” drag shows drew in crowds of film enthusiasts eager to support the work and cheer on their favorite (21 & over) queens. The result was a community-based fundraiser that simultaneously celebrated and skewered the pageant world. Performances by legendary San Francisco musicians and drag artists brought home the theme of the film: that even the losers can be winners when it comes to life.

Created with the help of Scary Cow Productions, San Francisco’s independent film incubator, MINI SUPREME is a model of community filmmaking. The all-volunteer organization boasts a wide network of artists and technicians ranging from first-timers to seasoned pros. By encouraging filmmakers to learn as they create, Scary Cow empowers imagination and supports self-starters with big dreams.”

Michael says, “PS I love you because…”

  1. You have the coolest short film festival. I saw 100 films, attended incredible parties, and met some amazing filmmakers over the course of 6 days. Every minute was packed with screenings, forums, guest speakers, and the buzzing potential of the film market. I can't wait to come back and do it all over again.
  2. Your people show up. I've been making theater in San Francisco for ten years and it's always a challenge to get people to attend. I tell folks about a must-see event and often hear “I'll try!” (I call this the “California No”). In Palm Springs every event was packed, all the time. People showed up and participated in the conversation– not only that, but everybody we met was awesome! It made for a true community experience. It's always more fun that way.
  3. The kids are all right. One of my favorite moments during my brief stay was a filmmaking talk I gave at the local high school. I got to meet a group of aspiring young filmmakers and chat with them about the art and challenge of visual storytelling– just in time to help them with their class project, a collaborative short film they created from the ground up. Big thanks to Nikki Gordon and the Palm Springs Film Society for creating this program and putting filmmakers and students together to learn from each other. These talented young adults inspired me and made me appreciate the power of creativity and collaboration.
  4. Everyone has a pool! In San Francisco, NO one has a pool. We don't have the space and we don't have the weather. But in Palm Springs a pool is a must-have. When we weren't busy at the film festival, we were inevitably poolside. My friends and I invented a new game called “Noodles of Doom” involving water noodles, an inner tube, and cat-like reflexes. Many laughs ensued and much SPF was applied. 
  5. There's magic in the air. Writer/Director Jason Reitman said, in his keynote address to the ShortFest filmmakers, that Palm Springs has a magic to it that is all its own. I have to agree. There's a crackle of energy, a shimmer in the air that seems just outside your field of vision. You can't see it or touch it but if you take a moment and just breathe, you can feel it. It inspires me. There's something strange and wonderful about Palm Springs– I can't quite put my finger on it but I know I want to feel it again. You just have to be there.

Producer Nicole Fraser-Herron strikes a pose with Michael.

Michael addded, “MINI SUPREME is dedicated to the misfits—to the boy who wanted to wear a dress, the girl who didn't, and everyone who ever came in second place. Enjoy the film!”

I did enjoy the film, Michael, twice, almost as much as I enjoyed meeting you!  We can't wait for your next visit!  Have fun at Frameline and Outfest (the next two film festivals he's headed to)!


Nicholas Snow

Want to be featured in the “PS I love you because…” column?

To be considered, email me (Nicholas Snow, SnowbizNow@gmail.com) your top five answers (they can be short or long) to the statement, “PS I love you because…” and/or “PS I love you because I enjoy…”, along with two or three biographical paragraphs.  Also, send some photos of things you love about the area including, ideally, you doing something you love in the area. Your submission does not guarantee publication.  Thanks!