The early 1980s were a difficult time to be LGBTQ+. AIDS was considered a death sentence, gay people were frequently shunned by their families and bisexual men and women often let their same-sex attractions go unexplored.
Made in 1993, The Kiss on the Cliff is a deeply moving 21-minute short from accomplished director Reid Waterer. The film begins in 1983, in the small town of Rock Springs, Wyoming, with an attempted kiss between best friends Mark and Steve, played by Stephen Wolfe Smith and Tom Tarantini.
Their deep feeling for one another has sent ripples of tension through every aspect of their lives and forced both of them to question whether their desire is worth the risk.
Flashing forward ten years later, the two are reunited. Though they find that their lives have followed very different courses, their relationship still demands some kind of resolution.
Recently restored, The Kiss on the Cliff offers up a unique look at a different era in both gay life and gay indie cinema.
Originally released in 2009, Dare is a romantic teen drama from director Adam Salky, based on his own acclaimed 2005 short film of the same name. Featuring an all-star cast, the film tells a captivating story about a group of high school seniors at the crossroads of their adult lives.
When a pompous young actor tells so-called “good girl” Alexa (Emmy Rossum) that she hasn’t really lived, she embarks on a bold journey that takes her into the arms of a mysterious bad boy Johnny (Zach Gilford). Envious, her shy best friend Ben (Ashley Springer) also dares to pursue Johnny, complicating Alexa’s romance and pushing the sexual and romantic boundaries among the three friends.
In addition to Emmy Rossum, Zach Gilford and Ashley Springer as the three leads, the cast of Dare also includes Ana Gasteyer, Sandra Bernhard, Alan Cumming and a young, pre-stardom Rooney Mara just before her A-list breakthrough in films like The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
A critical hit at the time of its release, Newsday called Dare “one of the smartest and most honest teen movies in years.” The New York Times said the film is “at once more provocative and more contemplative than most of its big-screen counterparts.”
Watch the trailer for Dare below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.
In the town of Martin, Tennessee, Chip Hines (Sebastian Banes), a precocious six year old, has only known life with his two dads, Cody (Trevor St. John) and Joey (writer-director Patrick Wang). And a good life it is.
When Cody dies suddenly in a car accident, Joey and Chip struggle to find their footing again. Just as they begin to, Cody’s will reveals that he named his sister as Chip’s guardian. The years of Joey’s acceptance into the family soon unravel as Chip is taken away from him.
In his now solitary home life, Joey searches for a solution. The law is not on his side, but friends are. Armed with their comfort and inspired by memories of Cody, Joey finds a path to peace with the family and closer to his son.
With an ambitious 169-minute running time, In the Family is an intimate drama with an epic scope. Wang, who has gone on to make films such as The Grief of Others and the two-part community theater celebration A Bread Factory, created In the Family independently and earned great acclaimed for his effort.
Roger Ebert, writing at the time of the film’s release in 2011, awarded the film four out of four stars and said “I was completely absorbed from beginning to end. What a courageous first feature this is, a film that sidesteps shopworn stereotypes and tells a quiet, firm, deeply humanist story about doing the right thing.”
1950s Hollywood heartthrob Guy Stone is a wildly popular leading man. The public loves to gossip about Guy’s love life, but the young actor has a secret: none of his various flings involve women. Guy’s agent, convinces him to marry the unassuming Sally to maintain his reputation. However, soon after the wedding, Guy develops feelings for a writer named Rick. ‘Straight Jacket’ is available to watch now on Dekkoo!
Robert Brock lives above his own magical marionette theatre with his mother, Mary Lou. He puts on shows for families, as well as wild drag shows for adults where he performs as famous Hollywood divas of the past. The intimate new documentary follows along as Robert and Mary Lou struggle to keep the theatre open while preparing to celebrate its 30th anniversary. ‘Marionette Land’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!
Coming next week: What began as a friendship turns into a fierce romance in this heart-wrenching drama.
Does anyone ever forget the time they felt the incredible force of first love?
When Mike (Tristan Barr) learns that his English teacher is pairing him up for a class assignment on ‘Romeo and Juliet’ William (Lucas Linehan), the super-cute new kids on school, Mike can’t believe his luck!
As the two young men spend more and more time working together on a monster movie version of the Bard’s classic tale, they soon realize that their feelings for one another may be more powerful than either of them is truly ready for.
From Australian writer-director Lee Galea, who based his screenplay on a short story he has written when he was 15 years old and deep into the themes of the movie on a personal level, Monster Pies is a touching and original take on the all encompassing power of teen love – one that is sure to move even the hardest of hearts.
The film was originally released back in 2013 (almost ten years ago!) when it earned awards – and a whole lot of tears – at film festivals all around the globe.
A gay indie classic and film festival favorite from 1995, Parallel Sons follows a white teen from upstate New York who identifies as black – though he’s never met a black person. His life takes an unexpected turn when he falls in love with Knowledge, a young black man who has been wounded while escaping prison. ‘Parallel Sons’ is streaming now on Dekkoo!
Flavio and Wendel are friends from the same soccer team. For more of their relationship, they have both shared the dream of one day becoming professional players. While Flavio starts entertaining ideas about quitting, Wendel begins to realize that what they feel for one another might be more than just friendship. Watch ‘A Team of Two’ now on Dekkoo!
A confrontation between two swimmers in a locker room ends in tears in this morality tale, which concerns the impudence of “manspreading” in public spaces. Inspired by homoerotic photography, GUO4 is a wildly original stop-motion short film from acclaimed British director Peter Strickland (The Duke of Burgundy, Berberian Sound Studio, In Fabric). ‘GU04’ is available now on Dekkoo!
Coming next week: Two best Judies, Preston and Ben, navigate the insane she-nanigans life throws at them.
A sequel to the beloved romance Yossi and Jagger, this moving drama follows Dr. Yossi Gutmann reminiscing about the love he lost ten years earlier. When he encounters a group of attractive young soldiers, one of them, Tom, starts to reignite his romantic feelings. ‘Yossi’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!
Featuring a series of stimulating short films from France, this new collection showcases stories about men who are all facing a precipice of deep change in their lives – as well as the male figures who brought them there. Watch ‘French Touch: Between Men’ now on Dekkoo!
A colorful, expertly-crafted short film from writer-director Thibault Lévêque, Nevada tells the story of an unreliable man, in great emotional distress, who calls on two of his friends to join him in a run-down motel in the United States. Once there, his true motivations are unveiled and their friendship is tested. ‘Nevada’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo.
Coming next week: A sheep farmer whose remote and quiet life is disturbed by the arrival of both his lover and his twin sister.
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 1991 Sundance Film Festival, Poison was the second feature directed by Todd Haynes – the Oscar-nominated filmmaker behind Far from Heaven, Velvet Goldmine and Carol.
This groundbreaking American Indie was the most fervently debated film of the early 1990s and a trailblazing landmark of queer cinema. A work of immense visual invention, Haynes’ spectacular follow-up to his legendary Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story is audacious, disturbing and thrillingly cinematic.
Inspired by the writings of Jean Genet, Poison deftly interweaves trio of transgressive tales – “Hero,” “Horror” and “Homo” – that build toward a devastating climax.
“Hero,” shot in mock TV-documentary style, tells a bizarre story of suburban patricide and a miraculous flight from justice; “Horror,” filmed like a delirious ’50s B-movie melodrama, is a gothic tale of a mad sex experiment which unleashes a disfiguring plague; while “Homo” explores the obsessive sexual relationship between two prison inmates.
A runaway hit which made national headlines when it was attacked by right-wing figures including Dick Armey, Ralph Reed and minister Donald Wildmon, Poison is unsettling, unforgettable and thoroughly entertaining.
Watch the original theatrical trailer for Poison below. The film is available now on Dekkoo.
One of the most important and celebrated works of the early ‘90s New Queer Cinema movement, this landmark queer classic from award-winning director Todd Haynes tells three interwoven short stories, examining the AIDS crisis, the work of Jean Genet and more through allegory and a variety of genres. ‘Poison’ is available to experience now on Dekkoo!
Pawel is positive that their recent separation has completely dampened his feelings for the young man with whom he was in love. But when he finds an unexpected visitor at his home one rainy afternoon, it brings up a whole lot of feelings he thought were behind him. Watch ‘After Dawn’ now on Dekkoo!
Sean Paul Lockhart and writer-director Rob Moretti star in this tense psychological thriller about a young man who becomes dangerously obsessed with his slightly older male lover. As their relationship deepens, dependency takes over and dark secrets are revealed – leading to a violent confrontation. ‘Truth’ is available now to stream on Dekkoo.
Teens Isaac and Adam meet in secret one day after class. At the playground, Adam offers Isaac a joint. As the afternoon stretches into the evening, he also offers him a dance and many meaningful looks. Do these two buddies share a secret attraction…or are they just really high? The short film ‘Just Boys’ is available now on Dekkoo!