- 1998 Sundance Film Festival
Set against the romantic imagery of old Hollywood, Tommy O’Haver’s superbly crafted feature debut, Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss tells the story of a modern romance struggling to bloom into the Hollywood ideal. Billy Collier, a young photographer and movie buff, finds himself out of work and at the end of another dismal relationship. “Boy meets boy” in the form of Gabriel, a gorgeous young musician who works at the local coffeehouse. As luck will have it, combined with some serious prodding from his roommate Georgiana, aka George, Billy convinces Gabriel to model for his new project, a series of romantic film stills. In every Hollywood romance, there is one thing that stands between the leading man and happiness. In this case, Billy must find the answer to that nagging question: Is Gabriel straight or gay?
Beginning with one of the wildest credit sequences ever in independent film, O’Haver employs a range of interesting artistic choices, including Polaroid freezes, wonderful dream sequences, and eye-catching CinemaScope photography to establish he has a firm grasp on the art of filmmaking. The cast are mostly unknown, but they are thoroughly engaging and bring real presence to the screen with characters who are sweet but never cloying. If Billy is a film buff, O’Haver must be one, too, for his genuine love for film shines through. Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss is a smart film by a filmmaker who knows cinematic tradition and enlists it adeptly to tell an unconventional love story.
Tommy O’Haver, Director
Tommy O’Haver was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1968. After graduating from Indiana University, he moved to Los Angeles, where he cowrote the short film The Pitch, which appeared on Showtime. He then enrolled at USC, where he wrote and directed several more shorts, including Happy Hour and Catalina. These films have screened at the New York Film Festival, the British Film Institute, and Sundance. Billy’s Hollwood Screen Kiss is his first feature.
— John Cooper