One of the few disappointing films I saw at Sundance was small town gay bar, a documentary about, well, gay bars in small towns in Mississippi. I was really interested in seeing this film; it's the first documentary effort by Malcolm Ingram, who previously directed a couple of comedies: Drawing Flies in 1996 (for which he and co-director Matthew Gissing were able to recruit their friend Kevin Smith and much of the cast of Mallrats, including Joey Lauren Adams and Jason Lee); and Tail Lights Fade, directed by Ingram and co-written by Gissing, with an uncredited exec-produce by Smith.
small town gay bar, exec produced by Smith, is Ingram's first foray out of the realm of comedy and into the more cerebral dominion of documentary, and he needs a bit more practice to get the knack of documentary filmmaking down. The topic itself is interesting: Ingram explores what it's like to be gay in small Southern towns and how gay bars serve as an oasis of tolerance amid a desert of ignorance and prejudice. Ingram explores his topic through a series of interviews with an array of small town subjects, and a look at two of small town gay bars in rural Mississippi: Rumors, in tiny Shannon, and Crossroads, a wild-and-crazy-anything-goes circus of an establishment (complete with a ring of buses around the place that served as "hotel rooms" for patrons), tucked away in the woods outside Meridian. Crossroads, we learn, was shut down two years ago.