Comedy has always been one of the most effective ways of manifesting representation in storytelling, as well as offering people with an opportunity to laugh away the sorrows. It is also Calciano’s favourite way of expressing his own creativity through cinema. His first fiction feature directorial effort, Is It Just Me? came in 2010, and it was closely followed by eCupid (2011) and The 10 Year Plan (2014). 2010 was another landmark year for his artistic output, as it marked the beginning of his work on a certain long-lasting cult web series.
The Shiny Shrimps (Les crevettes pailletées) has been a box office hit in France, and has provoked debate on the issue of homophobia in sport. “It was a huge debate in France. I did the cover of L’Equipe, which is the main sports magazine in France. They did something brave by publishing a cover showing me and my teammate kissing each other, and some of the readers of the magazine responded negatively, saying they’d never buy the magazine anymore.”
Billie and Emma, revolves around the romance shared by two teenage girls. In its charming simplicity, this touching comedy drama touches on delicate themes, such as homosexuality, teenage pregnancy, religion and the education system. Furthermore, while it carries on the director’s work of advocating for better representation of women and LGBTQ+ in her local cinema, it also speaks to an international audience.
After working on the highly-acclaimed Valentino: The Last Emperor (2009) and directing Dior & I (2014), French-born filmmaker Fréderic Tcheng returns with a new film about another style icon. His new documentary, Halston, tells the story of the American fashion designer Roy Halston Frowick, who rose to international fame in the ‘70s, during which he became a household name and a mainstay of the New York City scene that revolved around its most iconic discotheque, Studio 54.
Born and raised in Brighton, filmmaker Jamie Patterson certainly hasn’t let budgetary restrictions slow him down: at the age of 33, he has already made 15 feature films. Tucked is 12th film, the first to have UK distribution. A gently charming comedy-drama about an unlikely friendship between two drag artists, the film resists being put into boxes. But it is connecting strongly with viewers.
The feature film Wretched Things is made up of three separate shorts that are only connected thematically. “We men are wretched things,” writes Homer in The Iliad, and writer-director Gage Oxley throws each of his three leading men into an odyssey during which they become a kind of sex worker. Shot in Leeds, the films are powerful and pointed, each with its own distinct kick. Oxley and his cast sat down with Gay Essential to talk about the project.
For Izzy, writer-director Alex Chu’s latest film, is a story of broken people who find strength through fellowship. It is the story of retired divorcee Anna, and her lesbian daughter Dede, struggling with addiction, whose lives change after they move next door to a lonely widowed father, and his autistic daughter, Laura.
Rupert Everett spent the past decade working on his passion project The Happy Prince, tracing the final three years in the life of Oscar Wilde. Ironically, these aren’t particularly happy years, following his post-prison exile from England as he loses status, money and finally his health, until his death at age 46 in 1900.
Last year was the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in the United Kingdom. Director Simon Napier-Bell created a documentary, 50 Years Legal, to coincide with the anniversary. The film is described as an engaging but informative journey through LGBT rights in Britain since 1967, and how changes in politics and social attitudes, for better or worse, have evolved over the subsequent decades.