Cinema Spotlight: Spa Night

Writer-director Andrew Ahn’s remarkably assured feature-length debut is a portrait of forbidden sexual awakening set in the nocturnal world of spas and karaoke bars in Los Angeles’ Koreatown.

David Cho (Joe Seo, who won the Special Jury Award at Sundance for his breakthrough performance), a timid 18-year-old living with his financially-struggling immigrant parents, chances upon a secret spot for cruising when he takes a part-time job at an allmale spa, and begins to realize hidden inner desires that threaten his life as a dutiful son and student.

Effervescent and atmospheric, this one-of-a-kind coming-of-age story makes the steamy spa a liminal place between dream and reality, and desire and disillusionment.

Joe Seo (David) and Youn Ho Cho (Jin) in Andrew Ahn's SPA NIGHT

Spa Night is an intensely personal film,” said Ahn. “I knew very early in the screenwriting process that I had to draw from my own life experiences in order to find the honesty I wanted to show on screen. As the son of Korean-American immigrants, I have felt the conflict between my parents’ expectations and my own personal desires. In Spa Night, I wanted to explore what it means to be a part of a Korean-American family. As Spa Night progressed into production, the film became even more personal for me. We shot on location in Koreatown, Los Angeles — at restaurants I have eaten at, spas I have visited, and streets I have walked down. As I directed scenes, I saw my family in this fictional family I had created.”

“My main character David speaks in a mix of Korean and English to his parents, the same mix I use when I speak to my parents. With Spa Night, I want to open up American independent cinema to include stories about immigrant communities told in languages other than English. It is important that our cinema culture reflect the diversity of the American experience. By telling this story, I am attempting to validate the immigrant experience and acknowledge my parents’ sacrifice to leave their home country and start a new life in America. Spa Night is my way of fulfilling my parents’ hopes and dreams.”

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

New This Week – 2/14/20

Lars, a male nurse from Saarbrücken, moves with his lover Roland to Berlin. They renovate an apartment with the intention of finally living together. Their happiness seems almost complete. What Roland doesn’t know: while secretly checking out Berlin’s night life, Lars is experimenting with a deadly poison. ‘Darkroom’ is available to stream now, exclusively on Dekkoo!

In this gay short a man searches to reconcile his faith and his sexuality. Stream ‘Cognitive’ now on Dekkoo!

In this fish-out-of-water comedy a conservative Southern mom discovers that her only son is gay. Determined that he won’t go through life alone, she sets out to find him a husband. Watch ‘You Should Meet My Son’ on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week – A story about getting everything wrong.

Watch now! 'Stranger Hearts' official trailer.

The Dekkoo-original series ‘Stranger Hearts‘ debuts on March 12.

From writer-director Kevin James Thornton, ‘Stranger Hearts’ is a thoughtful, sexy and deeply heartfelt new series following three queer characters of wildly different backgrounds. First, there is Andre, a shy young African-American man struggling with his sexual identity. When his mother finds a stack of gay porn hiding in his closet, the truth starts inching ever closer to the surface. Then there is Luka, a gender non-conforming photographer who has fallen on hard financial times. In need of a steady job, Luka decides to dip their toe into the potentially risky world of online escorting. Lastly, there is Billy, a smooth-taking media mogul who finds his life turned upside down when he’s diagnosed with an incurable heart disease. While waiting for a transplant, he begins reevaluating his life and learning to appreciate the people closest to him. Though they don’t know it, all three of these disparate characters are soon to be connected – through fate, work, family, love… and donuts.

Check out the official trailer below!

Now Available: Copa 181

A gay sauna is the meeting place for a ragtag group of strangers looking for anonymous sex and perhaps a friendly smile in this supremely human dramedy.

On any given day at Copa 181, tucked in a corner of the Copacabana neighborhood in Rio, expect to find Tana and his wife Eros, an opera singer who finds acceptance for her incredible gift at the bathhouse. Joining them are a host of men ready to pay for the muscle-bound escorts. These include Leo, who tried to keep his relationship with trans girlfriend Kika a secret. Kika, a housecleaner by day, entertains nightly from the tiny stage and dreams of an elusive stardom that is just out of reach.

Everyone at Copa 181 falls under the joint spell of the sex and escape from mundane reality the bathhouse offers and audiences, too, will fall under the seductive spell.

Watch the trailer for Copa 181 below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.

“Looking” star Russell Tovey makes “The Pass”

Jason and Ade (“Looking” star Russell Tovey and Arinze Kene) are nineteen. They’ve been in the academy of a famous London soccer club since they were eight, and now it’s the night before their first-ever game as professionals.

Though they should be sleeping, the boys find themselves over-excited. They exercise, fight, laugh, and talk. And then, suddenly, Jason kisses Ade. In the high-profile sporting world where image is everything, this surprising pass sets the men up for a contrasting decade of fame and failure, full of secrets, denial and sensual secret encounters.

Based on a stage play and featuring terrific performances, The Pass is a relentlessly sexy and deeply heartfelt examination of sports, friendship and homoerotic tension.

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

New This Week – 2/7/20

A gay sauna, not unlike the legendary Continental Baths, is the meeting place for a ragtag group of strangers looking for anonymous sex – and perhaps a friendly smile – in this compassionate new comedy-drama. Everyone at Copa 181 is looking to escape from their mundane reality. Falling under its seductive spell, they learn that family is where you find it. ‘Copa 181’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!

The 15 year old footballers Loris and Thomas are bored, and steal their trainer’s mobile phone, where they discover photos of young footballers naked in the shower. Loris decided to use the pictures as a revenge. Stream ‘Play it Like a Man’ now on Dekkoo!

Kumar, a bachelor in his thirties leaves his corporate job in Kochi to become a graphic novelist. He embarks on a new life as an Uber driver in Kochi while working on his graphic novel titled ‘Pixelia’. One day a transgender named Mandakini gets into his cab and that day changes Kumar’s life forever. ‘Pixelia’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: The release of the trailer for our brand-new Dekkoo-original ‘Stranger Hearts’!

The Brand-New Dekkoo Original Series Stranger Hearts Arrives March 12th!

From writer-director Kevin James Thornton, the filmmaker behind the 2019 feature How to Get from Here to There, comes Stranger Hearts, a thoughtful, sexy and deeply heartfelt new Dekkoo Original Series following three queer characters of wildly different backgrounds.

First, there is Andre (newcomer Qua Robertson Harper), a shy young African-American man struggling with his sexual identity. When his mother finds a stack of gay porn hiding in his closet, the truth starts inching ever closer to the surface. Then there is Luka (Amo), a gender non-conforming photographer who has fallen on hard financial times. In need of a steady job, Luka decides to dip their toe into the potentially risky world of online escorting. Lastly, there is Billy (Matt Moran), a smooth-taking media mogul who finds his life turned upside down when he’s diagnosed with an incurable heart disease. While waiting for a transplant, he begins reevaluating his life and learning to appreciate the people closest to him.

Though they don’t know it, all three of these disparate characters are soon to be connected – through fate, work, family, love… and donuts.

Mark your calendars now. Stranger Hearts will be available exclusively on Dekkoo starting Thursday, March 12, 2020. Keep checking back here for more updates!

StrangerHearts POSTER