Pride Month Spotlight: Raid of the Rainbow Lounge

On June 28, 2009, at 1:28 am, seven police officers and two agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission swarmed into the Rainbow Lounge, a newly opened gay bar in Fort Worth. The raid lasted approximately 30 minutes. It occurred 40 years, to the date, after the Stonewall riots in New York City – and the parallels are haunting.

Five patrons were zip tied, arrested for public intoxication and taken to jail. Multiple others were arrested and/or detained and then later released. One patron, Chad Gibson, was taken to the emergency room with life threatening injuries and was charges with assault and public intoxication. Police claimed the whole incident was simply a routine inspection.

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Writer-director Robert L. Camina knew he needed to capture what was going on. His film, Raid of the Rainbow Lounge, recounts the events of that night, their aftermath and the massive changes that followed. Attending almost every single event related to the raid, camera in hand, Camina was able to interview over 35 people and record over 50 hours of rallies, city council meetings, counter-protests and more.

In the wake of the raid, Fort Worth city leaders and members of the LGBTQ community took significant steps to create a better world for all its citizens. Fort Worth is now a leader in LGBTQ equality.

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“I hope this film inspires people to get involved in their own community,” said Camina in his original Director’s Statement. “While city leaders need to be held accountable for the safety and well-being for all the people they represent, members of the community also need to speak up and initiate change.”

Raid of the Rainbow Lounge embodies the ideals set out by many grassroots organizations seeking progressive change. It’s also a textbook example of how a powerful piece of cinema can be a tool for that change. Raid premiered in Fort Worth in 2012 to a sold-out crowd, rave reviews and a media frenzy. The screening proved to be a watershed moment. It provided closure, healing and strengthening the bridges built between the Fort Worth Police Department and the local LGBTQ Community. It went on to screen at more than 30 film festivals all across North America and picked up some major awards and extra positive attention along the way.

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You can stream Raid of the Rainbow Lounge right now on Dekkoo as one of our Pride Picks!

Pride Month Spotlight: The Apple Tree

When Gabe and Jonathan (played as young men by Jay Renshaw and Ryland Shelton) fall in love in the 1940s, they decide to spend their life together in secret. But as the times changed, so died the couple – who were eventually able to express their love openly.

When Jonathan unexpectedly passes away years later, Gabe (played as an older man Jerry Bornstein) is faced with a dilemma that many LGBT elders encounter when they move into retirement homes… going back into the closet.

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A 30-minute short film, writer-director Matthew Ladensack’s The Apple Tree screened world-wide at LGBT film festivals, and ended up winning the Best Picture prize at Out in the Desert. The short was very powerful at the time it was released and over the intervening years, with many baby boomers entering assisted living homes, the story the film tells has become much louder and stronger – so much so that Ladensack is in the process of adapting it into a feature film.

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The writer/director’s newest draft earned a spot in the Top 50 of the world famous Tracking Board Launch Pad feature screenplay contest and was a semi-finalist at the Nashville Film Festival Feature Screenplay Contest. The feature will focus not only on aging in the gay community, but on two generations of gay men coming together – a new primary character, Colton, is a closeted high school football player who ends up forming a close bond with Gabe and seeing, first hand, the experiences of his LGBTQ fore-bearers.

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Make sure you check out the original short film before the full-length feature arrives. The Apple Tree is currently streaming on Dekkoo. It’s one of our Pride Month picks.

Pride Month Spotlight: Were the World Mine

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”

It doesn’t get better than this swoon-worthy, candy-colored musical about a high school boy who uses magic to turn many of the boys at school gay – just in time for a show-stopping production of a Shakespearean classic. Since its release, Were the World Mine has become a gay musical classic that we will return to again and again.

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Timothy (Tanner Cohen) is a gay boy stranded in a private all-boys school, which is largely obsessed with rugby. Unfortunately, there’s only one thing about rugby that catches Timothy’s interest: he’s obsessed with the super-adorable star player Jonathan (Nathaniel David Becker).

Both boys are students in Ms. Tebbit’s English class (she’s played by the delightful Wendy Robie of “Twin Peaks” and The People Under the Stairs). She’s a teacher with a mission: to excite her students with the literature of the ages. When she decides to cast these two boys as the romantic leads in her production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (and to cast boys in all of the female roles), she proves herself just as mischievous as Puck.

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The rugby Coach and townspeople are up in arms, but for Timothy, it seems like his wildest romantic fantasies may be coming true. He finds, in the script, the recipe for a potion to make people gay. With just a few spritzes from his magic pansy, the entire town (filled with Christian fundamentalists) is soon whipped into frenzy as the glorious production night approaches.

This deliciously surreal confection from co-writer/director Thomas Gustafson, based on his own 2003 short film Fairies, is a true gem. The musical numbers are over-the-top, production values first-rate and the acting is as flawless as the adorable boys on display. Even the top critics agreed back in 2008 when the film first screened. After Elton called it “absolutely breathtaking” and The New York Times said it was “movie musical magic.” It also managed to snag over twenty audience and jury awards during its initial film festival run.

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Swoon all over Were the World Mine RIGHT NOW on Dekkoo! It’s one of our treasured Pride Picks.

Pride Month Spotlight: This is What Love in Action Looks Like

Though he’s know primarily for films like Blue Citrus Hearts and his Dekkoo Original Series Feral, writer-director Morgan Jon Fox set out to make a difference with his 2011 documentary This is What Love in Action Looks Like.

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When 16-year-old Zach Stark told his parents that he was gay, they panicked, believing that something was psychologically wrong with him. They soon sent him to “Love In Action,” a religious organization that promised to “cure” homosexuality.

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Founded in 1973, Love in Action, now known as “Restoration Path” is the oldest and largest ex-gay organizations in the United States. They take the position that homosexuality is strictly behavioral and can be cured. Originally for adults, they began a program for teens, many of whom sent involuntarily.

Their draconian methods for sexual “redemption” prompted Fox, already a well-established indie filmmaker, to both become active in the ensuing protest against the group as well as document it all through interviews with several youths who had been in the program, the then current director of “Love in Action” (himself, a “former gay”) and the many young protesters who were compelled to mobilize against the organization.

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An important look at gay youth, intolerance and skewed religious beliefs, This is What Love in Action Looks Like is available on Dekkoo. It’s one of our heralded Pride Picks.

Pride Month Spotlight: Scrum

“Cinematic and deeply poetic, Scrum smashes stereotypes.”Screen Australia

“It’s not about gay, it’s not about rugby, it’s about an unstoppable team… who happen to be gay.” – Salty Popcorn

“From sweaty locker rooms to the pub, from nerve-wracking draft meetings to slow-motion clashes in the dirt and rain, Scrum is a handsomely shot and deeply affecting film.”The Low Down Under

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From director Poppy Stockwell, Scrum presents an intimate look at the journey of three different athletes and members of the “Sydney Convicts,” an Australian gay rugby team, as they prepare physically, emotionally and mentally for the 2014 Bingham Cup.

As the players compete for a coveted spot in the Gay Rugby World Cup, this muddy, sweaty and visually arresting documentary shines a spotlight on some incredibly tough men who break every stereotype in the book. Not only are they deliciously rugged, but they have a hell of a lot of heart. Being a member of the Sydney Convicts is a major commitment. They’re not just teammates, they’re brothers.

Originally completed in 2015, Scrum has been broadcast on multiple continents and screened at numerous LGBTQ film festivals all over the world, to great reviews from critics and audiences.

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You can watch Scrum now on Dekkoo as one of our Pride Month selections. Just be ready to break a sweat!

A riveting, emotional new doc examines 49 Pulses taken from us way too soon

“A timely documentary during the ongoing gun control debate, this is recommended.” – Video Librarian

“Sometimes the hardest conversations that we must have are the ones that bring about the most change. 49 Pulses is a film that starts these conversations and at the same time honors all those affected by the Pulse Nightclub shooting.”IndiePicks

We all remember it.

On June 12, 2016 a gunman walked into a crowded nightclub in Orlando, Florida and shot 102 people, murdering 49 of them.

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At 2:00 am that night, the Pulse nightclub was winding down its weekly Latino night. The building was dark, crowded, and loud. Patrons were making plans to leave when they were ambushed by a gunman, who began firing in every direction. Customers tried to escape, but the killer followed. For the next three hours, the gunman terrorized victims while playing a “cat and mouse” game with the police.

We all felt for the victims and their families.

One person in particular who was also deeply affected was acclaimed filmmaker Charlie Minn. With his new film 49 Pulses, Charlie tries to answer several questions that remain unanswered to this day. Why did the perpetrator choose Pulse night club? Why did it take over three hours for police to stop the shooter? What are the survivors feeling today?

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Minn interviews survivors, police, family members and city officials to try and piece together how one of the largest mass shootings in USA history took place.

Deeply emotional and often difficult to watch, 49 Pulses nevertheless examines a recent tragedy that’s important to remember and learn from. It’s available to watch right now on Dekkoo.

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Pride Month Spotlight: Chris & Don: A Love Story

To celebrate Pride, be sure to check out the Dekkoo’s Pride Picks.

Long before gay marriage was ever considered possible, portrait artist Don Bachardy fell in love with famed gay author Christopher Isherwood. Their legendary relationship began on the beach at Malibu in 1956 and continued until Isherwood’s death in 1986. Beautifully executed and movingly told, the documentary Chris & Don: A Love Story tells their story.

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Isherwood, born near Manchester, England just after the turn of the 20th century, began his illustrious writing career just after college. He moved to Berlin in the late 1920s to be closer to his dear friend W.H. Auden. Falling in love with the city, he stayed there until the Nazis started encroaching on the gay community – not knowing, just yet, how much worse their influence would become. He later distilled his experiences there into “Berlin Stories,” the basis for the classic musical Cabaret. In 1939 Isherwood and Auden fled to California where they discovered Eastern religions… and a lot of attractive young men.

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It wasn’t until 1956 that his fabled love affair with Don Bachardy would begin. Brought to life by a multi-media treasure trove, the story of Chris & Don will keep you gripped. This doc features a ton of different interviews with Bachardy as well as archival footage, rare home movies (with glimpses of Auden and other friends like Igor Stravinsky and Tennessee Williams), reenactments, and, most sweetly, whimsical animations based on the cat-and-horse cartoons the pair used in their personal correspondence. Theirs is an unusual May-December love story for the ages and we’re glad it’s recounted here.

I’m Fine: Season 3 gets a Greenlight

A fresh, honest and laugh-out-loud-hilarious exploration of modern gay relationships, friendships and the blurry line between the two, “I’m Fine” is a positively charming original “pocket series” from Dekkoo. We’re proud to announce that Season 3 is all systems go!

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Created by Brandon Kirby, an up-and-coming filmmaker with strong ties to the world of gay-themed cinema and television, the first season on I’m Fine centered around the recent demise of a gay relationship – finding both humor and poignancy within the related pathos.

The beginning of the series finds Nate (Perry Powell), an attractive 20-something, still hopelessly obsessed with his aloof ex-boyfriend Joey (Shaughn Buchholz). He also ends up blurring the lines between friendship and romance with his best friend Jeff (Lee Doud).

Season Two picked up a few weeks after Season One – with Nate is continuing to move on from his breakup with Joey while simultaneously dealing with the fallout of sleeping with Jeff. There’s also a surplus of lovable supporting characters with their own romantic trials and tribulations – namely Richard Stokes and Ulysses Morazan as the coupled Andy and Brian.

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Featuring crisp writing and direction and terrific performances from a culturally diverse cast, “I’m Fine” has garnered near countless clicks from subscribers and earned stellar reviews from Dekkoo users. It’s the gay rom-com gift that keeps on giving. Season 3 is slated to begin production in Los Angeles this September.