DEKKOO DISPATCH 047 – ‘DESERT MIGRATION’

Title – ‘Desert Migration

Director – Daniel F. Cardone

Release Date – 2015

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Derek Jarman. Keith Haring. Freddie Mercury. Rock Hudson. Liberace. Michel Foucualt. Leigh Bowery. David Wojnarowicz. Brad Davis. Perry Ellis. Arthur Ashe. Rudolf Nureyev.

Today is December 1st – World AIDS Day. Today we recall and mourn all of our role models, friends, family members, and lovers that have passed away far too early from HIV/AIDS. It’s also a day for us to raise awareness of all the work that needs to be done to erase the virus from the face of the earth. An estimated 36.7 million people are living with the disease and almost 5,000 will contract it today. We’ve made great progress in education, treatment, and prevention, but there’s still so much more to be done.

On Dekkoo we’re bringing you the documentary ‘Desert Migration‘ by Daniel F. Cardone. An official selection of Outfest and Frameline this film takes a deep look at 13 older gay men living with HIV in Palm Springs, CA. From morning medications to afternoon meditations we get to experience their daily routines and thoughts. Half of the people living with HIV in the United States are over the age of 50 and much of this generation are gay men whose lives were saved by antiretroviral treatments in the 90s and are now coping with both that intense medication and plain old age. Palm Springs is not only a haven for Los Angeles denizens desperate for a break from busy city life, but it’s also a mecca for gay men. They come for the beautiful scenery and lively gay social life and stay for the exact same reasons. Once you’re there it’s really hard to go back to city life. It’s so peaceful and serene and warm!

All of the men in this documentary are heroes. They’ve overcome insurmountable odds to still be alive and the fact that most of them have a positive outlook on life is astounding. This film isn’t an advertisement for Palm Springs, but they all credit the oasis in helping them find joy and meaning in their lives. All of their stories are similar yet different. Eric wants to find a boyfriend who doesn’t embraces his identity as an HIV-positive gay man. Steven is looking for any sort of relationship. Joel loves being healthy enough to go back to work. Doug is most at home in the gym cruising the guys and trying to look his best. I found this documentary to be incredibly uplifting and inspiring. The cinematography of the desert was stunning and made me yearn to be back in Palm Springs’ warm and loving embrace. While the film is incredibly inspiring, it doesn’t have an agenda it’s trying to push beyond the message that life finds a way. A way to cope, to rebuild, and most of all to have hope.

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Watch it with: A few close friends

Mix it with: A glass of white wine

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 042 – ‘PYOTR495′

Title – ‘Pyotr495

Director – Blake Mawson

Starring – Alex Ozerov, Alanna Bale, Juliana Semenova, Max Rositsan

Release Date – 2016

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How was everyone’s Halloween festivities last night? Did you have to take the day off work to recover? Over here at Dekkoo we’re still clinging onto the vapors of October with this week’s short film that really packs a wallop: ‘Pyotr495‘.

The beginning of ‘Pyotr’ starts out simple enough, a really really cute guy named Pyotr (played by Alex Ozerov) is cruising on Grindr one night and is invited over to an older muscle stud’s apartment (decorated in terrible/amazing Russian fashion), but since this is a horror film he of course runs into some trouble, namely a few anti-gay Russian Nationalists that believe that it’s their responsibility to rid Russia of ‘degenerates’ like the gays. A twist towards the end makes the short film extremely enjoyable 😉

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There are lots of reasons why this short film has played all over the world: great direction, fantastic cinematography, a great horror twist, and a really cute lead to name more than a few, but it’s the films social commentary about LGBTQ bullying that really ties everything together. The films starts with a message, stylized like the beginning of a Disney fairy tale: “Russia, 2014 – The country’s military has been ordered to invade the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, while the newly-instated LGBT Propaganda Law makes it illegal to present gay life in Russia as normal. President Vladamir Putin’s approval rating is at a six-year high.”

This film paints a reality for many LGBTQ people living in Russia. They don’t feel safe in the same spaces that most of us in the U.S. feel safe in. The wrong hookup can lead to devastating consequences. Charlie David from Border2Border (who helped bring Pyotr to a wider audience online) interviewed the director Blake Mawson and asked a question about why the film is so important in this day and age:

With what we’ve seen is happening in Chechnya with the anti-gay purge and concentration camps for gay men, these human rights abuses by Chechen authorities where journalists covering the story are receiving death threats and being forced to flee the country – this is obviously a very clear sign that things are not getting any better and are in fact worsening in many parts of the globe. While I’m not claiming that our short film is solving any of world problems, I do think it is important that we use our voice as artists and as people in any way possible to draw attention to these injustices and continue to raise awareness.

I think if I can use genre-type film to put an audience in the shoes of the people who are experiencing this type of terror and hatred, make them uncomfortable and have them realize that this is actually not so make-believe in the end, that this type of horror is real – then we can begin to open people’s eyes and reach an audience in unexpected ways.

Check out ‘Pyotr495‘ tonight and do your part in kicking the asses of Russian bigots!!

 

 

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Watch it with: Your horror buddies.

Mix it with: Russian Vodka of course!

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New This Week – 10/20/17

This is the art for the movie A Closer Walk With Thee

Intense and deliciously homoerotic, ‘A Closer Walk With Thee‘ is an award-winning new thriller follows Jordan, a strange young Christian missionary who gets caught watching his handsome and equally young Pastor take a shower. Disturbed by these “sinful” urges, Pastor Eli becomes convinced that Jordan is under the influence of a demonic force. The two men get unusually close as an amateur, bizarrely erotic exorcism soon begins!

This is the art for the gay short film The Morning After

In the gay short film ‘The Morning After‘, Harry’s world is turned upside down when,after a drunken night out he awakens to discover a naked man in his bed.

This is the art for the gay film The Daydreamer's Notebook'

From director Michael J. Saul, the prolific filmmaker behind ‘The Surface‘, ‘True Love’ and ‘Go Go Reject‘ comes ‘The Daydreamer’s Notebook‘, an anthology of seven short, experimental works. These visually inventive short films reflect the filmmaker’s obsession with daydreaming in the work he’s created over the past 40 years.

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Coming next week: An erotic an luxurious feast for the eyes.

‘Mother Knows Best’ wins 2017 Iris Prize! Stream it now on Dekkoo!

The Iris Prize is an international LGBT short film award open to any short film which is by, for, about or of interest to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex audiences. It is awarded at the end of an annual festival held in Cardiff, Wales that includes screenings of the 30 competing short films along with screenings of several feature films and panel sessions with visiting film makers. In addition to the coveted Iris Prize, the winner receives £30,000 to make their next short film.

The 2017 Iris Prize was awarded to ‘Mother Knows Best‘ from Swedish director Mikael Bundsen.

Iris Prize jury chair Brian Robinson said of the short: “Mother Knows Best is a brilliantly scripted and intense short film which uses a great economy of shots to tell a powerful and beautifully acted, universal story in which the realities of a young gay man’s different relationships with his parents are played out.”

Dekkoo is proud to feature ‘Mother Knows Best‘ as part of the Dekkoo streaming library so, if you haven’t yet, be sure to check it out!

This is a picture from the gay short film Mother Knows Best