The award-winning short film Alaska is a Drag tells a fish out of water story… literally

The short film Alaska is a Drag, now available on Dekkoo, is a fish out of water story… literally. The film’s hero, Leo (Martin L. Washington Jr.), is an aspiring superstar stuck working in a fish cannery in Alaska. Leo sees disco balls in the scales of the fish he slices. Everyone who slices fish all day, daydreams – Leo’s are just more glamtastic.

Most of the time, Leo and his twin sister Tristen (Maya Washington) are left to fend for themselves. To escape the monotony of fist fights and fish guts, they create their own magic, the Northern Lights follow them as they vogue down a woodsy path.

They hang out at the one gay bar in a hundred miles, owned by their surly surrogate mom – Jan (Margaret Cho).

Their real mom (Nia Peeples) left years ago and their dad George (Kevin Daniels) preaches on the side of the road. After years of getting beat up by his former best friend, Kyle (Christopher O’Shea), Leo has learned to fight back – his skills catch the eye of his cannery boss, an amateur boxer (Jason Scott Lee) who offers to train him to be a fighter.

And when the new kid in town, Declan (Matt Dallas), wants to be his sparring partner – Leo’s worlds begin to collide, Tristen enters Leo in a drag competition – he’s never performed for anyone but her – the drag audition falls on the same day as the qualifying round for boxing and Leo has to face the real reason he’s afraid to leave Alaska.

Watch the trailer for Alaska is a Drag below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.

 

Short Film Spotlight: Engaged

Engaged is a short romantic comedy that follows Darren (Daniel K. Isaac), who keeps trying – and failing – topropose to his boyfriend Elliot (Ryan Jamaal Swain).

When their relationship is put into an uncomfortable spotlight during a friend’s outrageous engagement party, Darren realizes he actually might be self–sabotaging himself… due to unresolved insecurities about his sexuality.

Engaged is a 17-minute short film written and directed by Dave Scala, a second-generation Filipino-American filmmaker and playwright who received his BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts film school. His four previous short films have screened and won top awards at over 40 film festivals in the US and abroad. His previous LGBT short film Grotto (released in 2013) won the Outstanding Emerging Talent award at FilmOUT San Diego, and screened at over 30 festivals, including the Palm Springs International ShortFest. Engaged has also won numerous awards at film festivals around the country.

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

 

Pride Month Spotlight: Church & State

A surprise federal court ruling in 2013 legalized gay marriage for Utah – triggering a fierce battle in a state where Mormon church values control the Legislature and every aspect of public life.

Church & State, the bold, award-winning documentary from co-directors Holly Tuckett and Kendall Wilcox, tells the improbable story of a brash, inexperienced gay activist and a tiny Salt Lake City law firm that joined forces to topple Utah’s gay marriage ban.

The film’s ride on the bumpy road to equality in Utah offers a glimpse at the Mormon Church’s influence in state politics and the squabbles inside the gay community that nearly derailed a chance to make history.

Church & State is a story of triumph, setback and a little-known lawsuit that should have failed, but instead paved the way for the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized gay unions nationwide.

Watch the trailer for Church & State below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.

Pride Month Spotlight: Spa Night

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.

Consequences is a hard-hitting coming-of-age drama about youth in detention

Based on Slovenian filmmaker Darko Štante’s own experiences working with youth in a correctional facility, the debut feature Consequences follows a troubled teen who must adapt to the harsh hierarchy of a youth detention center and come to terms with his sense of self and developing masculinity. Centered around a powerful performance from charismatic newcomer Matej Zemljic, the film takes an unflinching look at the raw impulses of adolescence and the insecurity that lies beneath.

Troubled Andrej (Zemljic) has reached the end of adolescence and of his parents’ patience. He is summoned before a court judge for his anger, violence, and deceit. Sentenced to attend a youth detention center, the handsome and muscular teen is thrown into the correctional facility’s intimidating and testosterone-fuelled hierarchy.

Holding strong against its violent initiations, Andrej finds his anchor of approval and companionship in Željko (Timon Sturbej), the aggressive leader of the center’s gang, which he soon joins in a carefree spiral of sex, drugs, and violence. Yet Andrej’s tough posturing belies an intimate fragility. Revealing this would unravel everything around him.

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

Two Meters Apart is the Grand Prize winner of Dekkoo’s ‘Love & Distance’ Short Film Contest!

“How can I possibly love you when we’re all in quarantine?”

In order to give back to queer filmmakers during these unprecedented times, Dekkoo asked directors to create and submit short films dealing with the theme of LOVE & DISTANCE. The Dekkoo staff, along with our subscribers, helped pick the winners. We were thrilled by the variety of submissions sent in and we are proud to announce that our Grand Prize Winner is Two Meters Apart from director Marco De Luca!

Set in our tumultuous present day, Two Meters Apart manages to convey a great deal of information in a very short amount of time. Though it’s less than three minutes long (not counting the end credit sequence), this sexy and stylish work is filled with relatable compassion, heartbreak and longing.

Adam has just met Tom… and he’s deeply in love. But the sudden lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic keeps them apart at a crucial moment in their relationship. Is Adam’s love requited? And why isn’t Tom responding to his texts?

Though most film production has ground to a halt, Marco De Luca has shown how a creative, talented artist can use limitations to his advantage. He also absolutely nailed the challenge we threw at him, thematically. Marco will receive a $2,500 prize – as well as a budget of $5,000 to shoot a new Dekkoo-Original Short Film. We can’t wait to see what he comes up with.

Two Meters Apart is available now on Dekkoo. You can stream this terrific short along with the rest of our LOVE & DISTANCE submissions here.

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Now Available: They

Through the prism of J (Rhys Fehrenbacher), notions of in-between-ness, be that gender, national/ cultural identity, or indeed the very puzzling idea(s) of “home”, are explored.

Fourteen-year-old J used they/them pronouns and lives with their parents in the suburbs of Chicago. J is exploring their gender identity while taking hormone blockers to postpone puberty. After two years of medication and therapy, J has to make a decision whether or not to transition.

Over this crucial weekend while their parents are away, J’s sister Lauren and her maybe/maybe-not Iranian partner Araz arrive to take care of J. During this time together, J, Lauren and Araz form an intimate family unit. Each character is in a state of suspension, of being in-between, of not belonging. J voices what all three feel: a reluctance to change, a desire to remain in childhood where innocence is still possible even as it recedes into the distance.

Watch the trailer for the moving, contemplative They below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.

An all-star cast leads the moving family drama White Frog

White Frog tells the story of an extraordinary teenager on a journey to the universal power of family, friendship and love.

18-year-old Chaz Young (Harry Shum Jr.) is the perfect son – the most popular kid in school, headed for Stanford, and unconditionally adored by his upwardly mobile parents, Oliver (BD Wong) and Irene (Joan Chen). 15-year-old Nick (Booboo Stewart) lives in his older brother’s shadow, brilliant but isolated by his Asperger’s Syndrome. At home, Chaz keeps the peace between his father and mother while running interference for Nick, who is barely acknowledged by the conservative Oliver. In return, Nick completely idolizes Chaz as his hero and window to the world.

When Chaz dies in a tragic car accident, the family spirals into disarray. Nick soon becomes obsessed with cracking Chaz’s email password so that he can somehow stay connected to him. Violent behavior at home sends Nick to his psychiatrist, Dr. King (Amy Hill) who challenges him to cope with life through her alternative approach to therapy. With the first glimmers of self-determination, Nick tentatively reaches out to Chaz’s school friends to try making sense of his untimely death and keep his brother’s memory alive. In doing so, Nick quickly realizes that his brother had a secret life.

Chaz’s circle includes Doug (Tyler Posey), Ajit (Manish Dayal), Cameron (Justin Martin), and Randy (Gregg Sulkin). Nick becomes a regular at Randy’s guest house with his brother’s friends, gathering each Friday night for high stakes poker games that Chaz regularly won. Nick then wonders what Chaz did with all that money. He discovers “The Firehouse,” run by Ms. Lee (Talulah Riley), a center for underprivileged kids where Chaz first worked when he was ordered to do community service after being caught gambling at school. Learning that his brother donated over $20,000 in poker winnings to keep “The Firehouse” running, Nick starts volunteering and discovers a world outside his family’s bubble.

While Nick makes friends for the first time ever, one mystery remains: Nick still cannot crack Chaz’s email password and looks to Randy for answers. The truth of his brother’s life will change his own forever.

A powerful, moving film from prolific queer writer-director Quentin Lee, White Frog is now available on Dekkoo. Watch the trailer below.

Don’t Miss End of the Century on Dekkoo!

In his alluring debut feature, End of the Century, writer-director Lucio Castro offers up both a sun-soaked European travelogue and an epic, decades-spanning romance.

When Ocho (Juan Barberini), a 30-something Argentine poet on vacation in Barcelona, spots Javi (Ramón Pujol), a Spaniard from Berlin, from the balcony of his Airbnb, the attraction is subtle but persistent. After a missed connection on the beach, a third chance encounter escalates to a seemingly random hookup. But are these two merely beautiful strangers in a foreign city or are they part of each other’s histories—and maybe even their destinies?

Castro deliberately parses out mystery after mystery, leading the audience on a journey of discovery as the two leading men discover themselves and each other. With sumptuous lensing of a Barcelona summertime and tangible chemistry between the actors, End of the Century is a love story that echoes across time.

Watch the trailer for End of the Century below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.

Short Film Spotlight: Battle Cry

Kyle Reaume is an award winning Toronto-based director, writer, actor and editor. Graduating from Toronto Film School in 2015, his student short film The Lazarus Files took home Best Picture, Best Producer, Best Editor and Best Production Design awards. His collective shorts have screened in over sixty film festivals worldwide.

In 2016, Kyle won the inaugural Inside Out BravoFact Pitch Competition, receiving a $50,000 grant to produce his short, What About Shelley, which screened at festivals worldwide, including Canada, the US, Germany, China, and Iceland. His short film Vertical Lines won Best Men’s Short at 2018 Wicked Queer Boston, and Best Screenplay at the 2019 Future of Film Showcase. Currently, he is developing his first feature film.

Kyle’s latest short film, Battle Cry, is now available on Dekkoo. At the oldest-running queer theatre in the world, Toronto’s most cerebral drag queen and “tragicomedienne” Pearle Harbour prepares to take the stage for her new show “Battle Cry: Songs Of Warfare & Gaiety”.

Watch a short clip from Battle Cry below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.