“BEARS” (2007) D- Marc Klasfeld W-Marc Klasfeld 

Screened as part of the 2007 OUTFEST film festival

“Bears” is all about the  silly beauty contest that takes place at, and I suppose is the real reason for, Bear Rendezvous in San Francisco each February.

The train wreck of an event documented was the 2004 IBR.

I won’t go further into my own opinion of this sort of thing, I’ll just focus on the film itself.

It was awful.

It was badly edited, over long, and horribly, horribly biased in it’s coverage. The director, Marc Klasfeld, obviously wanted to make it a little spicier by inventing his own narrative by molding, through clever editing, the winner of the contest into the villain of the piece.

The film was structured to introduce the contestants individually using interviews and vignettes of their lives. This was done in order to make the audience identify with them and root for their favorite.

Scott Hunter, second from right, was the 2004 IBR winner

The winner of the contest, Scott Hunter of Los Angeles, was never interviewed in the film at all. In  fact he was not even seen or mentioned until 1 hour into the film. No interviews or sympathetic vignettes of him. Only a couple of scenes where he was promoting himself during the contest weekend were seen. Using this method of sniper editing, it was made to look like he and , by very obvious and unsubtle connection, Southern California, was crass and rude.

After the screening, I left the theatre and Scott was standing outside by himself smoking a cigarette. He tried to smile, and as I hugged him, I could see he had been crying. He’d not seen the film prior to the screening. Seeing himself up there on the big screen and having the audience boo and hiss him was harrowing for him.

The after party was at the Faultline, and the director, Mark Klasfeld, was there. I approached him. He turned to me smiling, expecting a fawning compliment I suppose. I introduced myself and immediatley said that his film was an awfully edited hack job on my friend Scott and that I very much resented his film and him. He stuttered and sputtered. I went on to point out his obvious biased coverage against Scott and told him that he’d really hurt someone. Regaining his composure, he tried to cover by claiming that they’d somehow lost all the footage of interviews with Scott. (Sorry teacher! My dog ate my homework! honest injun!) I said that that’s bullshit, that Scott had told me himself that he was cut and pasted to look like a fool. Klasfeld said that was untrue and that if Scott himself was there, he’d love to talk to him. I said “Oh yeah? Wait here” I went and grabbed Scott and took him over and the last I saw of them they were walking outside to discuss it. I didn’t read in the paper this morning of a Hollywood director slaying, so I guess Scott controlled himself.

Update: I just read the director’s bio. Wow. I chewed out “one of the finest music video directors working today”

Miss this movie. It’s worse than actually attending one of those beauty contests.


4 responses to ““Bears”

  1. Howdy Rich,

    Remeber me, we’ve met several times in LA.

    Though I agree this movie was not very good I take exception to you calling Bear contests “Silly Beauty Contests”. The men who compete (and the eventual title holders) work very hard to raise awareness of the Bear community and to also raise money for charity. This is no different than drag queens, leather men, the Sisters or anyone else who is out there in the community having fun and raising awareness while helping others.
    Scott worked very hard during his year as Mr. International Bear and yet here you talk about the director smearing him and then you do it yourself by smeaing the contest he was a part of.

    I know you, and I know you are a good person. Not many people stood by Scott after he won as there were rumors of him “buying” the judges and so on. (Which is not at all possible and he won fair and square.) Defending him to the director’s face was a great thing and I’m sure Scott appreciates your friendship. In the future I hope you’ll think twice about what you write. You talk about the director hurting Scott’s feelings and I want you to know that what you wrote here has upset me and discounts the hard work of a lot of people.


    David Mendelson
    International Mr. Grizzly Bear 2003
    Seattle, WA

  2. Hey there Rich. This is actually kind of a response to David Mendelson’s response of your blog.
    David, with all due respect, I kind of understand Rich’s comments. You know before “bear” became the new aesthetic, or a reemergence from the 70’s that saw “men with fur” as the defenition of the masculine gay man, the bear man tended to be nicer, far more approachable. But now that it’s become the desired standard, there’s become a coolness about them that breeds contempt for the non-bear.
    I’m certainly not suggesting that all bears are like that but I’m afraid that I have to agree with Rich.
    I find the beauty contests – and yes they do work for charities – slightly contradictory to the nature of masculinity.
    At least with Female beauty contests they need to show some kind of talent. Some ability that shines beyond the gifts that God gave them.
    I don’t have a lot of hair on my chest. Nor can I grow a full, lush, deep beard, and while I love it on other men (for I will admit; -BEAR is my aesthetic) that in and of itself forbids me from a true bear contest, doesn’t it?
    Don’t these contests just reenforce the divisions that should have been broken down with the breaking down of society’s acceptance of homosexuality?
    David, I’m trying not too diminish your accomplishments, or those of your brethren. Remember, I love “bear”. My motto is “grease me up and throw me in” and hell, if I can’t have sex AND floss my teeth at the same time, it just aint sex but I do understand Rich’s frustration with it.
    Just my opinion.

  3. Pingback: Da Bears! : Scoundrel In Wonderland

  4. creo que los hombres Bear son la perfeccion en el ser humano masculino y el mejor ejemplo de ello es BRAD KALVO que considero es uno de los hombres mas bellos del planeta.

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