Short Film Spotlight: Cognitive

What if growing up in the Church led you to believe that you weren’t really going to grow up at all?

Young David, played as a little kid by Zakary Risinger, interprets something he hears from the pulpit by a homophobic, Southern Baptist preacher (Del Shores) that changes his outlook on life.

As an adult, David, now played by writer-director Mat Hayes, takes his family to a more progressive church, but despite Reverend Wynn’s (Jessalyn Gilsig) inspiring sermon on true love, David struggles to overcome the trauma inflicted upon him as a young boy at the hands of the church.

Will he be able to find peace with the religion he was raised in? Daniel Robaire, as David’s husband Jonathan, offers the love we all look for in a partner. Erica Tazel delivers a gripping performance as Young David’s school nurse, rounding out the stellar ensemble of actors.

Watch the trailer for Cognitive below. This short film is available now on Dekkoo.

Pride Month Spotlight: Church & State

A surprise federal court ruling in 2013 legalized gay marriage for Utah – triggering a fierce battle in a state where Mormon church values control the Legislature and every aspect of public life.

Church & State, the bold, award-winning documentary from co-directors Holly Tuckett and Kendall Wilcox, tells the improbable story of a brash, inexperienced gay activist and a tiny Salt Lake City law firm that joined forces to topple Utah’s gay marriage ban.

The film’s ride on the bumpy road to equality in Utah offers a glimpse at the Mormon Church’s influence in state politics and the squabbles inside the gay community that nearly derailed a chance to make history.

Church & State is a story of triumph, setback and a little-known lawsuit that should have failed, but instead paved the way for the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized gay unions nationwide.

Watch the trailer for Church & State below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.

New This Week – 6/26/20

In this poignant gay cinema classic, the first film to deal with the AIDS epidemic, a New York City gay man in a monogamous relationship becomes a “buddy” or a volunteer friend to another gay man dying of AIDS. Director by Arthur J. Bressan Jr. died of complications from AIDS two years after the film was released. ‘Buddies’ is available to stream on Dekkoo!

A former high school track athlete’s distorted views on love, negatively affects the people closest to him. Watch season 1 and season 2 of ‘Cheetah in August’ now on Dekkoo!

Dave and Andrew reach a new level of closeness in their relationship when they share their personal experiences with self-harm. ‘Vertical Lines’ is now available on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: Two Naked Gay Guys returns!

Genèse tells a beautiful story first love and first heartbreak

“When you first fall in love, everything else around you seems to melt away and pretty much nothing or no one else seems to exist. In the French-Canadian film Genesis (Genese), about adolescent love, director Philippe Lesage weaves this idea of full-on immediacy and a very blinkered view into the fabric of his storytelling, delivering a film that feels intensely alive and in the moment.” – Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter

“Philippe Lesage takes chances, and succeeds with boldly original form and narrative. Critic’s Pick.”Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“A study of duality, family and youth, Genesis is considerate in its beauty and agony, a successful exploration of first love and first heartbreak.” – Nick Davie, Spectrum Culture

Following his autobiographical 2015 narrative debut The Demons (also available now on Dekkoo), writer-director Philippe Lesage chronicles the life of young Felix (Édouard Tremblay-Grenier), now diverging to capture the romantic trials and tribulations of two Quebecois teen siblings. While the charismatic, Salinger-reading Guillaume (Théodore Pellerin) wrestles with his sexual identity at his all-boys boarding school, the more ostensibly grown-up Charlotte (Noée Abita) discovers the casual cruelty of the adult world that awaits her post-graduation. Lesage and his young actors depict the aches of becoming oneself with nuance, honesty, and compassion, and the result is one of the most beautiful coming-of-age stories in years.

Watch the trailer for Genèse below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.

Embrace a Whole New World with Trade

Michael (Austin Miller) is an intelligent, well-spoken corporate transaction analysis attorney. Very successful, he is highly regarded in his firm and by his colleagues. Married for ten years, he genuinely cares for his wife – and knows that she desperately wants to have a baby. He wants her to be happy and agrees to go to a fertility specialist to help the process along. However, Michael has a secret life. He likes to dress up as a woman and be with men.

When Michael meets Shawn (T. Ashanti Mozelle), he is introduced to a world he has only ever dreamed of, and finally embraces his true self.

A confident, outspoken and amiable African American male, Shawn describes himself as a gay black man. He has not had an easy life. He unknowingly took the wrap for another person’s crime, and served time in prison. Now living with his aunt, he regularly works the night shift on the boulevard dressed up as a woman named Coco, selling himself to men.

When he meets Michael, he is intrigued – and encourages Michael to become the person he longs to be.

A powerful and compassionate drama about friendship and hidden desire, Trade is now available on Dekkoo. Watch the trailer below.

A polyamourous gay trio head West in the inventive new indie Kill the Monsters

Kill the Monsters tells the story of Frankie, Patrick and Sutton, a trio of polyamorous gay lovers. When one of the triad falls mysteriously ill, they decide to embark on a grand adventurer, heading West across the country in search of holistic treatment. As their travels progress, the highs and lows of their journey mirror key points in U.S. history – from sex in their luxurious New York City apartment, to a road trip that results in a civil war and possible breakup, and, lastly, to an all-out poker war involving scheming, sophisticated, and calculating German and Russian lesbians.

The directorial debut from Ryan Lonergan, who also stars in the film alongside Jack Ball and Garrett McKechnie, Kill the Monsters offers up a bold and unique cinematic vision on a tiny budget. Featuring stunning black-and-white photography, wickedly funny dialogue and lots of sexual politics, the film is a historically-minded, absurdist delight.

The Los Angeles Times called Kill the Monsters “A joyous one-off; a bold, snappy, head-spinningly clever tale of three gay New Yorkers in a polyamorous relationship who cross America in search of physical and emotional healing only to find themselves at war — with each other as well as with an international array of lesbian neighbors in their Santa Monica condo complex.” They went on to say, “If it all sounds weirdly, grandly quirky that’s because it is. But in a good way, thanks to director-editor Ryan Lonergan’s fast-paced, fast-talking, allegorical script that purports to parallel American history from 1776 to 2017 but can just as enjoyably be taken at face value.”

Watch the trailer for Kill the Monsters below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.

New This Week – 6/19/20

A Californian teenager’s plan to come out at his Nebraskan family reunion gets derailed when a bloodstain on his young cousin’s dress makes him the unwitting suspect of abuse. ‘Take Me To The River’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!

Walter’s honey do list piles up and Frank is too busy to do the fixes, a new sexy handyman arrives with an agenda that isn’t exactly on Walter’s fix-it list. Can Walter resist this new temptation? Dekkoo Films presents ‘Honey Do List’ the saucy sequel to ‘The Handyman’.

When his cross-dressing teenage son suffers a brutally violent attack, a mannequin-factory manager desperately seeks help and, when none can be found, is forced to take matters into his own hands. ‘You’ll Never Be Alone’ is available now on Dekkoo!

The son of a famous singer wants to sing the song of life his own way. Stream ‘Kiss Me Softly’ now on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: The first film to deal with the AIDS pandemic. A classic of gay cinema.

Pride Month Spotlight: Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine

On the night of October 6, 1998, two men lured Matthew Shepard, a gay freshman at the University of Wyoming, from a bar in Laramie, WY. He was kidnapped and driven to a field where he was tortured and tethered to a fence and left to die. Never regaining consciousness, Matthew succumbed to the severe injuries from the attack and died on October 12, 1998.

The murder of Matthew Shepard was a devastating tragedy that made countless headlines around the world. As people denounced the hatred and senseless violence that caused Matthew’s death, a much-needed dialogue about hate crimes and intolerance against the LGBT community began and continues to this day.

Matthew’s tragic story brought the reality of inequality and vicious, irrational contempt into the public consciousness and set the stage for the landmark Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law in 2009. 

The documentary Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine follows director Michele Josue, a close friend of Matt’s, as she travels to pivotal locations in Shepard’s life, interviewing other friends and family members, and gaining insight into the beautiful life and devastating loss of Matthew Shepard.

While we’ve come a long way, LGBT inequality and hate crimes are still very real today, and parts of Matt’s story are unfortunately still very much a part of young people’s realities. Though framed through a very personal lens, Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine tells a universal story that highlights the responsibility we have now to make sure young people around the world are not at risk of falling victim to the same story ending Matt was.

Watch the trailer for Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.

My Brother’s Shoes adds a queer twist to the body-swap comedy subgenre

Written and directed by Adam Reeves, My Brother’s Shoes is a zany fish-out-of-water comedy that borders on fantasy and reality.

Dallas, portrayed by country singer Peter Stringfellow, is a successful executive with a beautiful wife (Gretta Sosine) and a lovely home. He has dreams of having a family and leading a rich, conservative life. Austin (Jacob Ellis) is his younger gay brother who is always in trouble financially and romantically. He has dreams of winning first place in the local drag queen contest and then using the money to start a new life.

Each brother thinks the other “has it so good” and wishes that they could experience what the other one’s life is really like. By a strange twist of fate, they switch places. The world around them sees no difference but Dallas and Austin realize they have been switched. Now Austin must handle the office for Dallas as Dallas spends the day getting ready for the upcoming drag contest with the help of Austin’s sidekick, Jackie. The hilarity reaches new heights as evening comes and Austin goes home to Dallas’s wife Katelyn, who is ready to start making a family with him. Dallas goes to the theater to perform on stage in drag and win for Austin! How far will they go?

A queer twist on the body-swap comedy subgenre, My Brother’s Shoes is a feel-good crowd-pleaser. Watch the trailer below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.

New This Week – 6/12/20

Three men struggle to save their relationship while traveling across country in search of a doctor they believe will make one of them well. ‘Kill the Monsters’ is streaming now on Dekkoo!

Friends and family reflect on the life and death of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard, who was murdered in a targeted homophobic attack in Wyoming in 1998. ‘Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine’ is available now on Dekkoo!

When Debbie comes home for Christmas, she and her mother Gayle are forced to confront the truth about their family’s past. Watch ‘He Could’ve Gone Pro’ on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: Dekkoo Films presents the fun and sexy sequel to ‘The Handyman’!