Manu Roma is an up-and-coming filmmaker from Barcelona who uses his work to tell personal queer stories. To give you a strong sense of his burgeoning talent, we have collected his first three short films, all made over the past three years.
First up is Bones, a 9-minute film about Victor, a 20-year-old with two immediate goals: to lose his virginity and, more dangerously, lose as much weight as possible before his 21st birthday.
Shot gorgeously in black and white, Roma’s next short, the 19-minute Anonymous, uses a first-person perspective to tell the stories of three men who go cruising for sex in different locations around Barcelona.
The final film, The Virgins, is a 13-minute slice of meta-fiction about the making of a short film. When the two stars of a new movie drop out at the last minute, the director and his boom operator find themselves taking over the lead roles and going to unexpected romantic lengths to tell their story.
A visionary filmmaker worth keeping your eye on, Dekkoo is proud to bring the work of Manu Roma to American audiences.
From Taiwanese director Szu-Wei Chen, Jayis a darkly funny and casually disturbing 14-minute drama that isn’t afraid to explore a particularly cringe-worthy taboo.
The film follows the titular character, a mysterious 13-year-old boy Jay, played by Nick Wang. Reaching a pivotal moment of sexual awakening, the teen finds himself suddenly fascinated by his toned and attractive older brother. Spying on him at every opportunity, including during a sexual encounter with a girlfriend, Jay’s curiosity morphs into an all-consuming obsession.
Playing out with very little dialog, the film gets its point across mostly through eerie suggestion. The story plays out mostly through visuals and emotions thanks to Wang’s lead performance – which, while somewhat stoic, conveys everything we need to know about this youngster’s misguided affections.
Watch a short teaser trailer for Jay below. The full short film is now available on Dekkoo.
Harrison Browne stars as Peter, a teenager who dreams of leaving his small Ontario town to pursue life as an artist, but his homophobic father, played by Andrew Bee, insists on turning him into “a man.” Sending him on a hunting trip one cold winter break, tensions run high and Peter runs away.
Lost, cold and reaching his breaking point, Peter meets another young man named Jack, played by Cameron Stewart. Jack is also desperate to escape his toxic family situation. A romance quickly develops between the two boys as they hide away in a secluded cabin, discovering one another and themselves. But the world outside eventually pulls them back and they’re soon stuck facing the circumstances they tried so desperately to flee.
Inspired by Romeo and Juliet and set in the early 2000s, On the Fringe of Wild offers up an early 21st Century snapshot of queer adolescent boys on the verge of growing up into men and discovering their authentic selves. The film was shot in rural regions of Northern Ontario, Canada, mostly outdoors amongst the beautiful, but cold, stark and melancholic winter landscapes.
The critically-acclaimed Eastern Boys follows the cautious relationship that develops between a single man and a much-younger sex-worker.
Arriving from all over the Eastern Bloc, the young men who frequent the Gare du Nord train station in Paris are scraping by however they can, forming gangs for support and protection and living in fear of being caught by the police and deported.
When a bourgeois, middle-aged man named Daniel (Olivier Rabourdin) approaches a boyishly handsome Ukrainian immigrant named Marek (Kirill Emelyanov), he learns the young man is willing to do anything for some cash.
When Daniel brings the young man home, it leads to an alarming and dangerous home invasion. But once the men are able to spend some time alone together, they end up forming an unexpectedly profound relationship. The drastically different circumstances of their lives ultimately reveal hidden facets of the city they share.
Presented in four parts, this absorbing, critically-acclaimed drama from director Robin Campillo (“The Returned,” BPM (Beats Per Minute)) is centered around relationships that defy easy categorization, in which motivations and desires are poorly understood – even sometimes by those to whom they belong.
A new 40-minute short film from the Netherlands, Dust follows Alko (Henk Jan Doornbosch), an average teen boy living in the Dutch countryside.
Alko’s thoughts are occupied with girls, carbide-shooting and his changing body. While he and his best friend Björn (Liam Feikens) are struggling with their emerging sexuality, the locals begin to suspect that Alko may be gay. This troubles him so much that he makes a decision he will come to regret.
Director Joren Molter examines toxic masculinity, the expectations put on young men to conform and the coming of age process between best friends in a small rural village community. Between agricultural weekend work and partying, dealing with other adolescent boys and girls, one kiss can make a big difference. The urge to fit in, to uphold image and peer pressure forces the boys to make choices that will greatly affect their friendship.
Watch the trailer for Dust below. The film is available now on Dekkoo.
Dominic Cruz (Adrian Lindayag) is an openly gay high school student from St. Francis Catholic School, an exclusive school for boys. He goes to Quiapo with one of his best friends, Timmy (John Leinard Ramos), to consult Baby R (Iyah Mina), a popular fortune teller renowned for her 99.5 percent accurate predictions regarding love.
During this visit, Baby R informs Dominic that he will meet his soul mate within a week, and gives him three signs to help him determine the identity of his match. Meanwhile, Luke Armada (Keann Johnson), a member of St. Francis’ basketball team, has just broken up with his girlfriend Karen (Rissey Reyes) and decides to participate in the “Journey of the Lord” retreat in an attempt to move on.
Dominic, who was coincidentally one of the volunteers for the retreat, is assigned as Luke’s sponsor and the two young men quickly become good friends. As the two get closer, Baby R’s three signs seem to present themselves. Is Dominic reading the signs correctly, or is it just wishful thinking?
One of the first mainstream gay romantic comedies from the Philippines, The Boy Foretold by the Stars was a crowd-pleasing hit locally, earning awards at film festivals. It’s also currently being adapted into a television series.