Short Film Spotlight: Freefall

From writer-director Krit Komkrichwarakool, Freefall is an award-winning 18-minute short film which has proved so successful that it’s being adapted into a feature-length film.

Freefall follows Ivan (Andrew Jenkins), a young gay man who is diagnosed with ALS. After receiving this troubling news, he finds his relationship with his boyfriend Lucas (Chris McNally) changed and tested in difficult ways, all while he starts to lose control of his own body.

Deeply emotional and expertly-crafted, the film won the Best Director Award at the Moscow Shorts Film Festival and was nominated for Best Short Film at the 2018 Leo Awards when it first premiered.

Originally from Bangkok, Komkrichwarakool earned a degree in Communication Design, then moved to Canada to pursue a career in film. Integrating his knowledge of design with his approach to filmmaking, he always brings a unique point of view to his storytelling.

In his own words, Komkrichwarakool says “film is a great medium to explore the reflections of our own existence, and the ultimate question of why each of us is here. It is why I do what I do. To speak with my own subconscious. To find a trace of the answers that connect us all.”

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

Two teens fall in love at a school retreat in the charming romance The Boy Foretold by the Stars

A heartwarming coming-of-age rom-com from the Philippines, The Boy Foretold by the Stars follows an openly gay teen looking for love.

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.

Watch the trailer for The Boy Foretold by the Stars below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.

Now Available: Beyond the Walls

From director David Lambert, Beyond the Walls is a wonderfully acted and taut romantic drama about two outsiders whose quick-moving affair faces some serious complications.

Paolo (Matila Malliarakis) is a gangly, long-haired man-boy, older than he looks. He lives with his stern, untrusting girlfriend, Anka (Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin) who is sure he will soon give in to his homosexual urges.

Rugged Albanian-immigrant bartender Ilir (Guillaume Gouix) works in a neighborhood bar. After a night of partying with friends, Ilir takes a drunken Paolo to his place to recover. A sexual relationship begins, but Paolo’s girl, tired of his infidelities, throws him out.

Now, the two young men slowly open up and begin an intense, romantic affair. When one is arrested for drug possession and imprisoned – and the other is tempted into a relationship with another man – the stress threatens their nascent love.

A serious drama about intimacy, separation, manipulation and trust, Beyond the Walls is made all the more remarkable by the two lead actors’ positively fearless performances.

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

A loner and a star athlete form an unlikely bond at their Irish boarding school in the uplifting Handsome Devil

With bright red hair, a smart mouth and a penchant for sexually-ambiguous pop music, Ned, played by Fionn O’Shea, has always been bait for the bullies at his rugby-obsessed Irish boarding school.

Determined to keep a low profile and weather another year with minimal abuse, Ned is pleasantly surprised when he develops a special friendship with his dashing new roommate Conor, played by Nicholas Galitzine, a rugby virtuoso who shouldn’t have trouble fitting in, but harbors a few big secrets. Ned encourages Conor’s passion for music, but when their pursuits start to take Conor’s focus away from rugby, their friendship is discouraged by the administration.

A funny and observant coming-of-age tale from Irish novelist and filmmaker John Butler, Handsome Devil offers a touching reminder about the importance of loyalty, bravery and making sure that your voice, no matter how different, is heard.

A true heart-warmer, Handsome Devil earned raves from critics when it debuted back in 2017. The Observer called it “a warm, reassuring hug of a film that should be shown to every confused kid trying to piece together their identity.” Film Ireland called it “a satisfying examination of masculinity… presenting an encouraging message for teenagers to not be bound by stereotypes if it feels unnatural to them.”

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

A neurotic filmmaker navigates love in the charming British rom-com Benjamin

Benjamin, written and directed by British comedian Simon Amstell, is a charmingly offbeat romantic comedy about a mess-of-a-filmmaker juggling the anxieties and excitement of his upcoming film premiere with the fear and awkwardness of a burgeoning romance.

Gangly and neurotic, and always ready with a self-defensive quip, indie film director Benjamin (Colin Morgan of The Happy Prince and Belfast) nervously prepares for the premiere of his sophomore feature when he meets and falls hard for Noah (Departure and Little Joe star Phénix Brossard), a confident and charming young French musician.

Will Benjamin’s insecurities and anxieties get in the way of success and happiness? Will his film be a critics-savaging disaster and he, a one-hit wonder? Amstell peppers this entertaining tale with hilariously deadpan one-liners and a scene-stealing cast of supporting characters including Joel Fry (Cruella, Game of Thrones, Our Flag Means Death) as Stephen, Benjamin’s manic-depressive stand-up comedian best friend; Jessica Raine as Billie, his unbearable publicist, Harry (Jack Rowan), his egocentric, bi lead actor; and Anna Chancellor (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Pride and Prejudice) as his patient producer.

A laugh-out-loud look at one man’s land mined road to success and love, Benjamin is a true must-see.

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

Pride Month Spotlight: Proud

In 1981, love was forbidden. In 1999, starting a family seemed impossible. By 2013, everything had changed.

From French filmmaker Philippe Faucon, the award-winning director behind Fatima, this amazing new three-part cinematic event takes us through each of these years.

Proud tells the stories of Charles (Frédéric Pierrot), Victor (Samuel Theis) and Diego (Julien Lopez), three generations of men, all from the same family, who represent the seismic social changes that took place within the LGBTQ community over the course of just three decades.

A three-part episodic cinema event, Proud offers up a chronology of tolerance and a portrait of one family through changing times. Cahiers du Cinema called it “one of the most exciting series of the year.” Le Parisien called it “A series that defends the fundamental rights of gay people.”

Watch the trailer for Proud below. All three installments are available now on Dekkoo.

Three gay Palestinian friends advocate for sexual and national equality in the moving documentary Oriented

A feature-length documentary from Israel-based British director Jake Witzenfeld, Oriented follows the lives of three gay Palestinian friends as they confront their national and sexual identities in modern Tel Aviv.

Khader is an “It Boy” and provocateur from a prominent Muslim mafia family in Tel Aviv’s neighboring Arab suburb of Jaffa. An aspiring journalist and producer, he lived for many years in the heart of Tel Aviv with his “Jew-ish” boyfriend David.

Fadi left his Christian community in northern Israel to pursue his dream of becoming a nurse. He feels that his new freedom is marred by the guilt of his nation’s tragedy. His passionate nationalism is challenged when he falls in love with an American Jew fighting in the Israeli Defense Forces.

Naeem describes himself as a Palestinian, vegetarian and feminist. Like Fadi, he comes from a Christian family in northern Israel. His time in Yafo inspired him to confront his family’s expectations and be honest with his loved ones about his sexual identity.

Determined to change their reality, the three friends form a non-violent, cultural resistance group to advocate for sexual and national equality. Meanwhile, a war is brewing that may jeopardize their best laid plans.

A stirring film which has sparked active engagement at community screenings, Oriented has inspired a great deal of discourse about LGBTQ rights, the perception of “the other” in conflict zones and the role of grassroots social activism all around the world.

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

Short Film Spotlight: Let’s Meet Again at the End of the World

Breaking up is hard to do, but sometimes it’s the right thing to do. The stylish new twelve-minute short film Let’s Meet Again at the End of the World puts that notion on full display. Todd Flaherty, the film’s writer and director, also stars as Adam, a hopeless romantic who is trying to shake off the after-effects of a recently-ended codependent relationship.

Starting fresh, he takes himself on a seaside vacation, but soon runs into his ex-boyfriend Ben, played by Joey Taranto. Finding Ben hard to resist, Adam dives right back into the relationship, entangling himself in a passionate week-long romance. But as old patterns reemerge, Adam must decide whether to keep their flame alive or break free from the tumultuous affair once and for all.

A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Flaherty has worked extensively as a theater actor off-Broadway and regionally. He made his filmmaking debut with the series Undetectable which he created, wrote and co-directed. The show also earned him Indie Series Awards for Best Writing and Best Lead Actor in a Drama. Let’s Meet Again at the End of the World further marks him as a talent to watch.

Unfolding in a non-linear structure, using voiceover to convey deeper emotions through metaphor, the film will resonate with anyone who has had trouble freeing themselves from a relationship that just isn’t working.

Let’s Meet at the End of the World is available now on Dekkoo. You can also find the full first season of Undetectable to dig into Flaherty’s previous work. He’s currently working on his feature-length debut.

Diamantino is a wild genre-blending and gender-bending queer comedy satire

Vividly photographed in Super 16mm and featuring the biggest stampedes of giant Pekingese puppies you’ve ever seen, the critically-acclaimed, genre-blending and gender-bending Diamantino is an underrated high-camp masterpiece!

From directing duo Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt, the film stars super hottie Carloto Cotta as a big-hearted but dimwitted Portuguese soccer hunk who, after blowing it during the World Cup finals, goes from superstar to laughing stock overnight.

His sheltered worldview is further shattered after learning about the European refugee crisis. He soon resolves to make amends by adopting an African refugee – only to find that his new “son” is actually an undercover lesbian tax auditor investigating him on the suspicion of corruption.

From there, Diamantino gets swept up in a gonzo comic odyssey involving cigarette-smoking evil twins, Secret Service skullduggery, mad science genetic modification and a bizarre right-wing anti-European Union conspiracy.

In the Los Angeles Times, Justin Chang called Diamantino “the funniest gender-bending, human-cloning refugee-crisis soccer comedy I’ve ever seen, and also the most thoughtful.” And Glenn Kenny said in the New York Times “this simultaneously goofy and deft satirical comedy… feels like an early Adam Sandler comedy remixed by Pier Paolo Pasolini.”

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

Now Available: North Sea Texas

Set during an unspecified period of the 1970s, North Sea Texas is a coming-of-age romance directed by acclaimed short filmmaker Bavo Defurne, making his feature-length debut. Based on a novel by Belgian children’s author Andre Sollie, the film follows Pim (Jelle Florizoone), an introverted teenager who lives with his ex-beauty queen mother in a small coastal town.

Dreaming of a loving father who will someday come for him, but never does, Pim brightens up his days by drawing, dreaming up fantasy lives and expressing his emerging desires through a secret collection of “borrowed” objects that he keeps in a shoebox. He’s also fallen in love with Gino (Mathias Vergels), the charismatic, motorcycle-riding older boy next door.

As things become fraught at home, Pim starts spending more and more time with Gino and his family. The two boys soon become closer than ever – and though Gino returns Pim’s affections, he insists that they keep their relationship a secret. When a girl catches Gino’s eye and he moves away, it leaves Pim feeling more alone than ever. But, as time goes by, the true depth of their feelings for one another are revealed.

Though not without its heartbreaks, North Sea Texas is an ultimately uplifting film that explores burgeoning sexuality through a refreshingly honest and optimistic lens. And with numerous award-winning short films under his belt, director Bavo Defurne knows what to do with his camera. Capturing the beauty and color of the film’s setting, North Sea Texas offers up an almost other-worldly, fairy tale vibe that compliments the tricky romance at the film’s core.

Watch a short clip from North Sea Texas below. The film is available now on Dekkoo.