Romas Zabarauskas wanted to make an apolitical queer film that takes place in a country that is discriminatory towards gay people. In Lithuania, there are laws prohibiting same-sex marriage and partnerships and there’s strict legislation towards the trans community, preventing them from identifying with their desired sex. But artists like Zabarauskas are determined to rebel against this discrimination by crafting films, books, plays, music, etc. that pertain to the queer experience.
“I’ve been a fan of horror since I was very young,” recalls Erlinger Óttar Thoroddsen, director of the Icelandic horror film, Rift. “I remember being six or seven years old, being at the video store and browsing the horror section. I wasn’t allowed to rent those movies, so I’d make up stories in my mind of what they were about based on the cover art.”
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.
“The Fabulous Allan Carr tells Allan’s story,” Jeffrey Schwarz explains. “But it’s also a social history of gay life from the 50s when little gay boys would channel their obsessions through movies and would worship glamorous movie queens through the 70s when people started coming out of the closet through the 80s when AIDS came along and ruined the party for everyone. That’s sort of the backdrop of Allan’s story.”
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.”
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.
The Lair is a campy fun soap opera that ran for three seasons mainly centered around a coven of gay vampires operating a sex club to lure their prey. Each season is full of subplots with a Dorian Gray-like portrait, an abusive boyfriend, a werewolf, a mad scientist, a killer plant, a Gorgon, a killer head, a magic ring and a disgruntled Vampiress. Oh yeah… and there’s a lot of hot guys and sex!
Dome Karukoski’s latest film, Tom of Finland, is a moving biopic of decorated war hero, art director, and illustrator, Touko Laaksonen. Known for his sexually liberating drawings of muscular gay men, each signed “Tom of Finland,” Touko Laaksonen courageously sparked a leather-clad LGBT revolution with the playful stroke of his pencil.
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
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.