The murder that starts Strange Fruit takes place near the only gay-friendly bar in a small town in Louisiana. Kelvin Ayers (Ron Allen), a black gay man in the town, is found beaten, raped, and hung from a tree. When local law enforcement, led by Sheriff Jensey (Sam Jones) refuse to do anything, Kelvin’s mother Emma Ayers (Berlina Tolbert) turns to the only person she thinks can help get justice for her son—his old friend William Boyals (Kent Faulcon), another black gay man from the town, who left and became a successful lawyer in New York.
William comes back for the funeral and starts to investigate the murder with the help of Kelvin’s brother, Dwayne Ayers (David Raibon). Coming back to the town raises personal issues for William as well—his mother, Martha Boyals (Cecile M. Johnson), who has not spoken to him since he came out, lives there. As his investigation into the murder continues there are other murders, and he starts coming into conflict with both the Sheriff and his racist, homophobic police department and the local gay community, which is afraid to speak up and help him. His final revelation of who the killer is comes as a surprising twist.
“Slick and watchable”
— Dennis Harvey, Variety
“Five out of five stars for its daring content and wonderful cast.”
Did You Know?
Filmmaker Kyle Schickner is the founder of Fencesitter Productions, a movie production company devoted to producing films for and starring people of color, queer people, and women. He states that he was offered a 2 million dollar budget by a production company on the condition that he make his hero either black or gay, but not both. Schickner refused and made Strange Fruit on a very small budget that he raised independently. Review our Gay Themed Films Here
All pictures reproduced courtesy of Ariztical Entertainment