Teenager Ariel (Will Javier) lives a seemingly quiet life with his father and sister on their picturesque farm in a rural part of Buenos Aires. However, unbeknownst to his family, Ariel has been abused for years by Omar (German Tarantino), his neighborhood priest.
Having confused his mistreatment for romantic affection, Ariel takes it upon himself to free himself from their relationship and soon embarks on a secret affair with one of the male workers on his father’s property.
Meanwhile, as Omar continues to succumb to his urges, he forms a friendship with a much older priest who finds himself wrestling with similar desires.
Hard-hitting and defiantly unsentimental, the new Argentinian drama Men of Hard Skin is a richly textured exploration of sex, power and ecclesiastical abuse as well as a complex and often confrontational piece of work, posing many tough questions.
When Ariel, a teen living on a remote farm in Buenos Aires, enters into a relationship with one of the male workers on his father’s property, he must also end the long-term affair he’s been having with Omar, an abusive priest. Unafraid to explore taboo topics, this provocative new drama from writer-director Jose Celestino Campusano is defiantly unsentimental. Watch ‘Men of Hard Skin’ exclusively on Dekkoo!
In the cloistered world of competitive surf-lifesaving, an Australian hero is de-throned as the reigning champion by a younger, gay competitor. He embarks on a campaign of intimidation and bullying against the newcomer but is forced to confront his own repressed homoerotic desire. ‘Drown’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo.
Written and directed by John Ira Palmer, the six-minute short film Pitbull follows Javi (Josué Jiménez), a young man from East Los Angeles who is being harassed by his deeply homophobic neighbor. As tensions escalate, he must decide whether to finally confront his tormentor or turn the other cheek.
A writer, director and producer, Palmer created the short film Elwood Takes a Lover, which screened at festivals around the world and was an official selection of The American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. He was named a quarter-finalist for the 2019 Academy Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting, and is also a co-writer of Samir, the Warner Bros-funded USC feature film adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo.
Palmer also produced the documentary Al Imam, which became a Vimeo Staff Pick, aired on National Geographic, and earned KCET Fine Cut’s top prize. He also co-produced The Dare Project, directed by Adam Salky and written by David Brind, which screened at Outfest and Frameline in 2018.
In 2016, Palmer was invited to the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Artist Academy for emerging filmmakers at the New York Film Festival. John’s experimental 16mm and super-8 short films have screened at venues such as REDCAT, Blum & Poe, and Pacific Film Archive. He has been selected for artist residencies at Echo Park Film Center and AICAD’s New York Studio Program, and awards including the ARRI Emerging Filmmaker Grant, the James Broughton Film Award, and a Princess Grace Foundation Film Honorarium. John earned his MFA at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and his BFA at San Francisco Art Institute.
Watch the trailer for Pitbull below. The full short film is now available on Dekkoo.
A timid 18-year-old living with his financially-struggling immigrant parents, chances upon a secret cruising spot when he takes a job at an all-male spa. There he begins to realize hidden desires that threaten his life as a dutiful son and student. ‘Spa Night’ is available to stream on Dekkoo!
It is the year 2040, Earth has been abandoned by the wealthy, who have migrated to space colonies. Bored, a rich young man decides to return home. Gradually, he perceives strange signs in the streets and discovers the existence of a secret cult. Stream ‘The Cult’ now on Dekkoo!
Coming next week: Violence, jealousy, desire and what it takes to hide what you are.
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.
“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.
“The Blue Hour” can mean the time between day and night, a realm between dream and reality, or a point between good and evil. Based on a true story, The Blue Hour from director Anucha Boonyawatana is all about the relationship between a boy, who is pressured by his family, and a mysterious young man who will lead him into horrifying situations.
A sexy supernatural love story about a bullied loner, Tam (Attapun Poonsawad), who finds solace in the arms of Phum (Oabnithi Wiwattanawarang), a boy he meets at a haunted swimming pool. Phum reveals that his family’s land has been stolen and the new found lovers imagine a perfect life together on the disputed land. Haunted by a ghostly presence, Tam struggles to stay connected to reality.
An official selection of the Berlin International Film Festival, The Blue Hour is a dark atmospheric tale of love and distress.
Born in Nakhon Phanom, a North-Eastern Province of Thailand, in 1981, Anucha Boonyawatana is a Thai independent film director and also founder of G-Motif Production, one of the largest video production company in Thailand. His thesis film “Down the River”, combination of Buddhist philosophy and Thai art and a love story of a gay couple, won Young Thai Artist Award and has been shown at several film festivals. He collaborated with TUC, Thai-American Public Health Agency (under the US government) and UNESCO to direct the online movie “Love Audition1, 2” aim to promote health and relationships among Thai gay teenagers. In 2012, his short film “Erotic Fragments No.1, 2, 3” was screened in competition at Berlinale Shorts of the 62th Berlin International Film Festival. The Blue Hour is his first feature film.