Wash West

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Wash Westmoreland (born March 4, 1966) is an independent film director who has worked in television, documentaries, independent films. His 2006 release, Quinceañera, had a double Sundance win (Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize), and also picked up the Humanitas Prize, and the John Cassavetes Spirit Award. In 2008, Westmoreland produced an MTV film Pedro about AIDS activist Pedro Zamora that was introduced on MTV by U.S. President Bill Clinton. Working with his partner Richard Glatzer, he directed The Last of Robin Hood in 2012 starring Kevin Kline, Susan Sarandon and Dakota Fanning that was released in August 2014 by Goldwyn. The duo's next film Still Alice, based on Lisa Genova's NYT bestselling book, stars Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, and Alec Baldwin. It premiered at Toronto Film Festival in 2014 and was considered the discovery of the festival.

Early years[edit]

Wash Westmoreland was born Paul Westmoreland in Leeds, England on March 4, 1966.[1] His father was a maintenance engineer for the CEGB and his mother worked as a receptionist at a local hair salon. He was named "Paul" after a member of the The Beatles but received the nickname "Wash" as a child.[1] He finished high school intending to pursue science at university level, but after a short disruptive spell in a religious cult changed his direction to study social science. Westmoreland earned his college degree in Politics and East Asian Studies at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Fukuoka University in Japan, graduating in 1990. He emigrated to America in 1992, initially living in New York City, then moving to New Orleans and finally to Los Angeles in 1995.

Early career[edit]

After working as a camera assistant on Bruce LaBruce's movie Hustler White, Westmoreland decided to enter the Adult Entertainment world to try to research a feature film project The Fluffer. He managed to land a job directing for BIG Video, a minor label and directed under the name Wash West and started making movies that challenged the conventional norms of the industry. Toolbox and Dr Jerkoff and Mr Hard were his first significant films. Then, in 1997, he wrote and directed Naked Highway for BIG Video which swept both the 1997 Adult Erotic Gay Video Awards and the 1998 AVN Awards.

It was also during this time that Westmoreland started to make his presence in mainstream films felt. He appeared briefly in Velvet Goldmine by director Todd Haynes. Haynes would go on to work with Westmoreland as a producer on Quinceañera.

Westmoreland went on to direct the cat-and-mouse thriller Animus for All Worlds Video, which channeled the millennium fears of the time (1999) and featured performances from Blake Harper and Thomas Lloyd, who both won GayVN Awards for their work. Then he directed, The Devil is a Bottom which won the 2001 GayVN Award as Best Sex Comedy and was surprisingly listed as one of the LA Weekly Critic's Top Ten Movies of the year.[2]

His work culminated in 2001 independent film The Fluffer, which was loosely based on many real events and characters. Around this time he gave a candid interview about his experiences in the industry to Terri Gross on NPR's Fresh Air. After this he only made two more adult movies; Seven Deadly Sins Gluttony for All Worlds Video, based on Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray and a parody of the horror film The Ring called The Hole for Jet Set Productions. Westmoreland picked up many GayVN Awards for both titles.

Since the late 1990s, Wash Westmoreland has worked predominantly with his collaborator and husband Richard Glatzer, wiring and directing an eclectic set of independent movies. The two are based in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles California.

Later career[edit]

2001: The Fluffer[edit]

Main article: The Fluffer

Glatzer and Washmoreland's first collaboration was The Fluffer, a look at obsession, addiction and power relationships in the gay porn industry. It premiered at Berlin and Toronto Film Festivals in 2001 and secured US distribution from First Run Features. It received mixed positive reviews and gained almost instant cult status, John Waters including it in his famous series Ten Movies That Will Corrupt You. The film starred Michael Cunio, Roxanne Day, Scott Gurney, and Deborah Harry.

2004: Gay Republicans[edit]

Working alone, Westmoreland made a documentary during the 2004 election season, following four Log Cabin Republicans as they responded to President George W. Bush's initiative to alter the US Constitution to ensure that marriage was only legal between a man and a woman. The documentary was produced for Andrew Cohen at Bravo, and Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato at World of Wonder.[3] An extended version of the film premiered at the AFI festival in 2004 to a riotous response. It ended up winning the festival's documentary prize and gaining a distribution deal on DVD.

2006: Quinceañera[edit]

Main article: Quinceañera (film)

Made for a budget of under $500,000, and featuring many first-time actors, Quinceañera ended up winning both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. It went on to win the prestigious Humanitas Prize, the John Cassavetes Prize at the Spirit Award in 2007, and many other film festival prizes all over the world.[4] It was picked up for the U.S. by Sony Pictures Classics and distributed in over 25 countries worldwide.[5]

The plot focussed on a multigenerational Mexican-American family preparing for their daughter's quinceañera against the back drop of a gentrifying neighborhood. The film was entirely shot in Echo Park, which is where the directors live. On release, it received strong positive reviews scoring 87% on Rotten Tomatoes.[6] The lead actress, Emily Rios, went on to have a successful career starring in Friday Night Lights, Breaking Bad, and "The Bridge".

2008: Pedro[edit]

Main article: Pedro (film)

Working with Bunim-Murray productions, Glatzer and Washmoreland executive-produced a move called Pedro about Pedro Zamora – the AIDS activist who was cast on MTV's The Real World in 1993.[7] The movie was directed by Nick Oceano and produced by Maggie Malina and Jon Murray. For a made for MTV movie, Pedro enjoyed a surprise International festival run. It premiered at Toronto Film Festival 2007 and Berlin 2008. President Bill Clinton recorded a special introduction for it when it premiered on television.

2013: The Last of Robin Hood[edit]

Glatzer originally heard of a book about Errol Flynn's last love affair The Big Love through his mentor, Jay Presson Allen, the screenwriter of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Cabaret. The story is told by Flynn's girlfriend's mother, Florence Aadland with co-writer Tedd Thomey and has been praised by the likes of William Styron and W.H. Auden as the ultimate unreliable narrator story. Glatzer and Westmoreland started researching the screenplay in 2003, earning the trust of Florence's daughter, Beverly, and the friendship of author Tedd Thomey and Flynn's chauffeur in his final years, Ronnie Shedlo.[8] They wrote the first draft of the screenplay in 2007 but it was not until 2011, and the attachment of Kevin Kline, that things started to move forward. Killer Films' Christine Vachon and Pam Koffler came on to produce, and Susan Sarandon and Dakota Fanning signed on for the mother-daughter team of Florence and Beverly.[9] Production took place in Atlanta Georgia in 2013. The city's various locations were used to represent Los Angeles, New York, French Equatorial Africa, Cuba and Vancouver.

The movie premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in 2013[10] to a mixed critical response. Several critics praised Kline's performance as Oscar worthy,[11] whereas other seemed confounded by the movie's lack of a moral stance.[12] Glatzer and Washmoreland's intent had always been to focus on the permission for the relationship, afforded by the mother, rather than its morality.

2014: Still Alice[edit]

Main article: Still Alice

Based on a book written by Lisa Genova, Still Alice is a movie about a fifty year-old linguistics professor who develops early onset Alzheimer's disease. Glatzer and Washmoreland were hired to adapt the book in 2011 by UK-based producing duo Lex Lutzus and James Brown.[13] Killer Films' Christine Vachon and Pam Koffler then came on as US production partners and Maria Shriver and Elizabeth Gelfand Stearns came on as executives and co-executive producers. Julianne Moore was Glatzer and Washmoreland's first choice to play Alice. She was soon joined by Kristen Stewart and Kate Bosworth, who had been a long time fan of the book.[14] Alec Baldwin then came on to round out the cast, he and Moore's having worked together on the TV show 30 Rock.[15]

Glatzer and Washmoreland changed the location for the film from Boston to New York and the university from Harvard to Columbia. Shooting took place over 23 days in March 2014.

The movie was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics, and released in December 2014.[16] Glatzer is living with ALS and some critics have suggested a connection between his own battle with illness and the raw, honest depiction of illness in the film.[17] Moore won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.

Filmography[edit]

As Wash Westmoreland
  • 1996 – Hustler White actor, assistant camera
  • 1998 – Velvet Goldmine actor
  • 2001 – The Fluffer writer, director
  • 2003 – Totally Gay director (for VH-1)
  • 2004 – Gay Republicans writer, director
  • 2006 – Quinceañera writer, director
  • 2008 – Pedro exec producer
  • 2012 – America's Next Top Model director
  • 2013 – The Last of Robin Hood writer, director
  • 2014 – Still Alice co-director
As Wash West
  • 1995 – Squishy Does Porno writer, director
  • 1996 – Taking the Plunge!director, writer
  • 1996 – Dr Jerkoff and Mr Hard writer, director, videographer
  • 1998 – Toolbox writer, director
  • 1997 – Naked Highway writer, director, videographer
  • 1999 – Technical Ecstasy writer, director
  • 1999 – Animus writer, director, videographer
  • 2001 – Seven Deadly Sins: Gluttony aka The Porno Picture of Dorian Gray writer, director, videographer
  • 2002 – Rubber is Natural (short) director
  • 2003 – The Hole writer, director
As Bud Light
  • 1998 – Red Hot and Safe producer
  • 1999 – Lost Exit videographer
  • 2000 – Florida Erection producer
  • 2000 – The Devil is a Bottom producer
  • 2000 – Brothers in Arms producer
  • 2002 – Porn Academy producer
  • 2004 – Jet Set Direct: Take One producer (one scene only)
  • 2005 – Jet Set Direct: Take Two producer (one scene only)

Awards[edit]

In addition, Wash West directed the following winners for Best Gay Video:

He also directed the following Best Sex Scene Winners:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

These websites may contain graphic pornographic images