From co-directors Sara Wolkowitz and Robert Ian Simpson, the 19-minute short film Lightning Bugs in a Jar opens with a child’s car seat flying through the air – never a good sign. Rest assured, no babies are put in harm’s way during the film, but there’s certainly some lingering childhood trauma.
When a mother and son with a caustic history reunite to pack-up their old house, sparks fly as long-buried secrets are revealed… and it might fall upon the shoulders of the son’s boyfriend to help heal old wounds.
Thoughtfully written, packed with both humor and emotion and beautifully performed by lead actors Ethan Slater, Devin McDuffee and Betsy Aidem, Lightning Bugs in a Jar perfectly captures what it feels like to play referee for two people in a volatile relationship.
In other words, it will tear you apart like an old car seat thrown from a second-story window.
Set during the middle of the pandemic in 2021, Give Me Back the Night is a smart, sexy, funny and fast paced new series from Columbia – exploring a new relationship which opens up some old wounds.
Leonardo (Juan Manuel Velez Casas), a creative young man who dabbles in sewing and illustration, is just trying to survive his day job – working in a supermarket surrounded by pandemic-related chaos. When he learns that his biological mother, thought to be dead, is very much alive and wants to reconnect with him, it completely upends his day-to-day life.
Meanwhile, Felix (Sergio Quevedo Barreto) is a photographer with rough and tumble good looks who has his eyes firmly planted on the stars. He has recently run away from a disapproving home. When he meets Leonardo on the street and the two young men form an unlikely connection, they’re budding relationship finally allows them to explore their suppressed desires and freedoms.
Together, they begin to face the issues that keep them up at night. They soon learn that they must reckon with their pasts and repair their fractured family ties in order to move forward and grow together.
Beyto (Burak Ates) is a young man whose family are Turkish immigrants living in Switzerland. A dutiful student and an attractive and popular rising star at his local swimming club, he strives to make them proud, but his family’s stringent views about homosexuality means he has to keep a whole portion of his life and his identity secret.
Just as Beyto begins to discover first love with his coach, Mike (Dimitri Stapfer), his parents get word from friends who spotted him at Gay Pride Parade and become desperate to shut down any rumors that he’s gay.
Shocked and ashamed by Beyto’s budding relationship with another man, his parents lure their son to their home village in Anatolia and start arranging his wedding to Seher (Ecem Aydin), a female friend from his childhood. Suddenly, Beyto finds himself at the center of an unbearable love triangle.
A subtle, sensuous and moving love story, Beyto examines the drama of family tradition and integration, expressing the dilemmas of its characters while never losing sight of their humanity and love for one another.
Watch the trailer for Beyto below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.
From André Téchiné, the renowned writer-director behind the queer classic Wild Reeds, comes Being 17, a moving exploration of unexpected adolescent love.
Damien and Thomas (Kacey Mottet Klein and Corentin Fila) are teens from very different backgrounds who go to the same school… and are constantly fighting. Damien is the gawky son of a doctor and a military pilot stationed abroad. He can’t seem to stop staring at Thomas, the handsome bi-racial son of local farmers who reacts with hostility to Damien’s longing.
Damien’s mother Marianne (Sandrine Kiberlain) is treating Thomas’s ailing mother at the farm, a snowy two-hour ride outside of town. When she needs to be admitted to the hospital, Marianne quite naturally offers to take Thomas into their home for a temporary stay. Forced to live together under one roof, the two boys must work through their hostility, emerging attraction and complicated desires.
Co-written by Celine Sciamma, the award-winning filmmaker behind Tomboy, Petite Maman and Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Being 17 is a critically-acclaimed coming-of-age gem that accurately captures both youthful friction and attraction.
Watch the trailer for Being 17 below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.
Filmed in Pakistan in a matter-of-fact style, Aadat is a bracing 13-minute short from writer-director Iqran Rasheed.
Aadat tells the story of a deeply closeted young man from a conservative Muslim family. Gripped with unrealized desires, he dares to hire an attractive young sex worker. The two spend time together alone in a room, cautiously getting closer while fully aware of the risks involved.
A devastating film about one perfectly normal young man who is looking to explore his sexuality in a forbidding Islamic country, Aadat is a sobering and heartbreaking reminder of the basic freedoms that are still not afforded to gay men in many parts of the world today.
Watch a short trailer for Aadat below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.
Tin (Edan Lui) has been single his whole life. One day, he discovers that his boss secretly harbors romantic feelings and is even willing to leave his wife to be with him.
Tin confides this news to his friends, only to discover that his co-worker and flatmate, Muk is also deeply in love with him. Even though Tin has never ever thought about dating another man, he finds himself overwhelmed by his new popularity and slowly falling for the men who hold him dear.
Originally broadcast in Hong Kong, Ossan’s Love is a charming romantic series based on a Japanese drama of the same name. Both shows are notable as the first mainstream television series to feature gay love as a central storyline in their respective regions.
An eight-minute short film from Swedish director Jimi Vall Peterson, Sleepover follows Emil and Adam, two seemingly straight young men who have been friends since junior high. After a night together at the movies, Emil decides he is going to crash at Adam’s apartment.
The two young men end up sharing a double bed. In the middle of the night, Emil awakens and his unspoken feelings for Adam start to become clear. But is he willing to test the boundaries of their friendship?
A simple, but well-executed short film Sleepover perfectly captures those youthful pangs of unrequited love.