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FilmOut: Q&A with San Diego native Brenden Shucart, star of “Bug Chaser”

(Editor's note: San Diego Gay & Lesbian News will be previewing the 14th annual FilmOut San Diego LGBT Film Festival, which runs May 30 through June 3 at the historical Birch North Park Theatre. Look for Q&A interviews with celebrities and directors as well as film reviews.)

San Diego native Brenden Shucart plays a sexy gay man who discovers a gross boil on his buttocks after a one-night stand, in the short film “Bug Chaser.”

The short film will be shown at 9:30 pm Saturday, June 2, as a prelude to the full-length film “The Endless Possibility Of Sky.”

In an interview with San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, Shucart shares his unusual experience of performing mostly naked in this “gay-horror-splatter-comedy,” spending time in special-effects make-up, and his passion for LGBT activism through Project Inform.

SDGLN: Tells us about your San Diego connection.

I grew up in San Diego. I graduated from Madison High (go Hawks!). It’s where I snuck into my first gay bar (Rich’s) and learned how to drive. It’s my hometown. But I haven’t been back in almost a decade; I’m a little nervous.

SDGLN: How did you get cast in the “Bug Chaser” short film, and what appealed to you about the story line?

My very talented friend Josh Smith did the cinematography for “Bug Chaser” and he recommended me to Ian Wolfley, the writer/director. Ian pitched the film to me as a “gay-horror-splatter-comedy,” which sounded really easy to do really poorly. But I read the script and it was amazing, really funny with a building sense of dread. I instantly wanted to play Nathan.

SDGLN: Got to say you have balls for spending most of the movie naked and looking at that disgusting boil on your ass! Describe that experience. Did you expect that from the script?

Thank you! I’m pretty comfortable with my body, but there is something about being naked in front of a camera and a room full of people that can make you feel a little bit vulnerable. But the pantslessness was right there in the script. I knew what I was signing up for.

SDGLN: How much time did you spend on special-effects makeup, and what were the challenges of maintaining that boil during a long day’s shoot?

Not as much as you might think. We had an incredible makeup artist named Robin Rosselli who was responsible for making me look ill and creating those horrifying boils. And she really hammered it out. We shot the whole film in three days. The boils were pretty easy to manage, except for the last one, which was huge and I had to kind of hold onto while i was walking.

SDGLN: What do you want the audience to take away from the film?

I don’t know that there is really a moral to take away. What I think the movie does beautifully is capture the fear and anxiety that comes with hooking up that every gay man can relate to.

SDGLN: Talk about “I Want Your Love” and working with Travis Mathew. When will that be released?

IWYL was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done as an actor. Being naked in front of a camera and a room full of people didn’t make me feel half as vulnerable as having sex in front of a camera and a room full of people. But Travis made me feel very comfortable and he was a pleasure to work with. I believe the IWYL feature is already making its way through the LGBT film circuit. It showed at Toronto and it’s going to be in Frameline.

SDGLN: What’s your blog about?

When I started my blog, it was supposed to be about my life and adventures in San Francisco. But it has evolved into a place for me to put ideas that won’t leave my head. And music videos, lots of music videos.

SDGLN: What do you do with Project Inform?

Project Inform is an organization that fights the HIV and hepatitis C by encouraging the development of better treatments and cures for both diseases; providing up-to-date, lifesaving information to help people living with HIV and hep-C make the best choices regarding their treatment and care; advocating for innovative, medically-based prevention strategies; and pressing governments to set policies and assure unlimited access to affordable health care that will one day end the HIV and hep-C epidemics. And I am proud and honored to serve on their board of supervisors.

SDGLN: What other causes are you involved in?

Creating queer culture and building a stronger gay community.

SDGLN: What’s next for you?

Comedy. I’m putting together a stand-up routine, mostly because it terrifies me.

SDGLN: Single or taken?

I’m lucky enough to live with the love of my life.

SDGLN: If you had three wishes, how would you use them?

1) A long and healthy life, 2) telekinesis 3) and I’ve always wanted to be an emperor.

Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at ken@sdgln.com, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to (877) 727-5446, ext. 713.

The details

Saturday, June 2 – 9:30pm
Sponsored by ABC-10/Azteca America
Co-presented by RAGE

“Bug Chaser” (2012), directed by: Ian Wolfley, 19 minutes, USA.
West Coast premiere

Nathan's one-night stand ends abruptly when his date finds an alarming growth on his body. As it rapidly gets larger, Nathan gets sicker. He looks to alcohol, the Internet, and a needle for help, but to no avail. Drunk and desperate, Nathan finally reaches out to an unlikely source: a former hook-up, a nurse, who can't believe what he sees.

The short film will be followed by this full-length movie:

“The Endless Possibility Of Sky” (2012), directed by Todd Verow, 85 minutes, USA.
U.S. premiere

Sex and drugs - getting hooked and getting off – can be addicting. For Drew (Brad Hallowell), eking out a mundane life in Waterville, Maine, it is resisting the illicit pleasure in New York; for Mistress Datina, Philly, it means operating a sex and drug den to cope with her life. In his visually and sexually stimulating film, director Verow introduces multiple characters and overlapping narratives that portray the physical and emotional faces of addiction. For Rob (newcomer Rob Ordonez), drugs and sex are means of finding a bed to sleep in every night - while they provide Christian (Michael Vaccaro) a means of dealing with his helplessness and loss. A writer records these characters and their unforgettable stories. The themes are universal, but the possibilities are endless.

Where: Birch North Park Theatre, 2891 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92104

Tickets: $10. Order online HERE.

Festival Pass: $125 – providing access to all movies and parties Click HERE to purchase a pass.

Tickets are also being sold for Opening Night film, the Opening Night Party and the combo pass. Click HERE.