Directed and adapted by Carter Smith from Christopher Barzak’s harrowing novel One For Sorrow, Jamie Marks Is Dead is a slow-burning teen horror. A quiet teenager from a broken home’s life becomes bleak when his mother is involved in a car accident and a boy from his high school is found dead. Released in 2014 the film stars Noah Silver, Cameron Monaghan and Morgan Saylor.
With Handsome Devil, writer/director John Butler, reprises the poignant reflection on the meaning of masculinity he had explored in his fun 2013 debut The Stag (aka The Bachelor Party) but this time he takes the diatribe back to high school – a rugby-obsessed, all-boys boarding school to be precise – and by his own admission infuses the story with inevitable autobiographical references.
King Cobra tells the story of Sean Lockhart who chose the stage name of Brent Corrigan for his appearances on video. Lockhart, however, didn’t just gain popularity in the porn industry for his saucy roles but also because he got caught up in a true crime case involving Cobra Video’s producer/director. Directed by Justin Kelly, the film stars Garrett Clayton, Christian Slater and James Franco.
Grid is a delicate piece of filmmaking set in the mid 80s during the AIDS crisis, back when doctors were still trying to figure out what the horrible virus was all about. Yet the stigma plaguing gay men as much as the disease itself had already started to get them ostracized by society. Albeit fictional, the short film is inspired by true stories that Hastings researched thoroughly
My first acquaintance with Argentinian filmmaker Marco Berger goes back to spring 2014 when his exquisitely understated gay romance Hawaii screened at the BFI Flare, London LGBT Film Festival. Fair warning: if you’ve seen that film and found the whole “will they/won’t they” tension a bit frustrating, you might have a hard time stomaching Taekwondo’s incredibly protracted relationship tease. Berger in fact reprises the same kind of core tension in this newest effort, albeit the story and the whole context that feed such tension are rather different.
The Pass spans 15 years through the rise and fall of a closeted footballer: it starts off on the cusp of his career breakthrough, follows him across the glory period where his personal troubles threaten to compromise his success and eventually, as the past catches up with him, finds him bound to face the consequences of his life choices.
Moonlight is the harrowing story of a young black gay man raised by a single mother with a drug addiction in a rough neighbourhood of Miami, told across three chapters symbolically titled: Little, Chiron and Black – the three names our protagonist is identified with as he grows from child into teenager and eventually into fully fledged adult.
Closet Monster isn’t just an assured debut from yet another promising young filmmaker out of the myriad of hopeful artists out there – this is actually the real deal. Dunn has got personality and style and a special sensibility when it comes to observe his characters and the world they gravitate in.
I was thinking about making a more universal coming of age story that explored sexual awakening but ultimately the story for me is a lot about coming to terms with grief and loss. I thought that aspect of losing someone important to you was an element that everyone could relate to one way or another.
Narrated with personality by famed New Orleanian and New York Times best-selling author Christopher Rice, Upstairs Inferno isn’t just compelling viewing for its journalistic competence and historical value but most importantly it’s essential viewing for its social value, showcasing how far we’ve come and still have yet to come and eventually proving that somewhere out there it’s always possible to find loving, compassionate people that will see past our differences.
“Having gay characters didn’t seem strange to me. What did end up being strange was having to fight for them. I had to fight for the characters’ sexualities right through the whole process of writing and financing. There were lots of people who wanted to make some of the boys into straight girls or take the boys’ sexuality out of the film.”