Writer/director Max Emerson, a model and Instagram personality with a huge following, has crowdsourced the funds for his debut feature – with the aim of giving 50% of all proceeds to sponsored charities (The Albert Kennedy Trust, The Ali Forney Center, Los Angeles LGBT Centre and Lost n Found) that help homeless LGBTQ youth across America.
After 17 years, Del Shores returns to the sordid lives of Latrelle, LaVonda, Aunt Sissy and Brother Boy with A Very Sordid Wedding – which was triggered by a simple question from a fan about what happened to these characters after the 2000 original. “It was a bit challenging to figure out how to go back to these characters and make the story fresh,” the engaging Shores recalls in a lively phone interview with Gay Essential about the sequel to his classic film.
Set backstage on the opening night of a new Broadway musical about one hit wonders, Opening Night stars Topher Grace as Nick, the miserable production manager of the show, just about managing to hide his disdain for the production and many of the people involved with it. As the show nears stage time, he struggles with the ego of his leading man, N*Sync’s JC Chasez who he finds out has also slept with his former girlfriend – who just happens to be the understudy to the leading actress.
Though a filmmaker, Bobbi Jo Hart ’s degree is actually in International Relations, so she sees filmmaking as her way of exploring humanity and bringing people closer – which is one of her aims with this documentary. “Given all the divisiveness in the world and the political climate in the States, we need reminders to celebrate our similarities and honor our differences. The Trocks represent that.”
Do You Take This Man, the narrative feature debut from writer/director Joshua Tunick, has an empathetic warmth that continues to grow as the film progresses – the story isn’t particularly innovative for the genre, but the characters are believable and their respective situations universally relatable, which helps make this story feel as utterly refreshing as it is heartwarming.
Oxley’s award-winning short film, This World We Live In is a gripping drama that examines the tragedy of mixing perceptions of masculinity with modern technology. Starring Jack Parr, This World we Live In offers a riveting 15-minute glimpse into the world of an image-conscious young man, struggling to keep his own demons at bay and simply fit in with the other guys.
A twist on the concept of trans sexuality, in Pulse, Stevie Cruz-Martin and Daniel Monks deliver an insightful look into the challenges of evolving into one’s true self, even walking head-on into the notion of creating your own ideal, perfect life. Interestingly, this innovative little film can’t help but make you look beyond the physical and consider what really makes you, you.
The Naked Civil Servant is camp and unabashedly so- but it has far more going on beneath the surface, and helped usher in more nuanced portrayals of LGBT people and culture in the years to come. It may be dated, but time hasn’t made it feel embarrassing in retrospect. It is still one of the most pivotal works in the LGBT pop culture canon that helped further mainstream awareness and acceptance.