A voyeuristic, behind-the-scenes look as celebrated choreographer Thierry Smits and his team go through the auditions, rehearsals and eventual premiere of his controversial dance piece Anima Ardens. ‘Bare’ is available now to stream on Dekkoo!
Elena goes home for her father’s funeral. Everything is just as she remembered, but will her family pressure her to be like they remember? Stream ‘The Guest’ now on Dekkoo!
Childhood friends Andreas and Alessandro, now grown college students, live in different cities. The pair have reunited at a seaside resort for the summer. As the summer starts coming to a close, Andreas realizes he must make a move to let Alessandro know how he really feels. Watch ‘It’s Just In My Head’ now on Dekkoo!
For contemporary LGBT viewers, Queens at Heart offers a vivid and compelling lens on how far we have come as a movement while also giving a deep (and wildly entertaining) understanding of what it was like to be transgender at a very different time in history. There are very few filmed images by or about LGBT people before the Stonewall Riots of 1969. There were especially few portrayals of trans lives and experience in this era. The two other films that come to mind from this period are: the remarkable feature documentary, The Queen (1968) and the short documentary portrait of an African American trans woman, Behind Every Good Man (1967). (While the 1970 dramatic feature, The Christine Jorgenson Story is at least somewhat well intended, it primarily comes across as lurid and sensationalist.)
Produced in New York City in 1967, this amazing 22-minute short introduces us to Misty, Vicky, Sonya and Simone — four courageous trans women who candidly discuss their personal lives with a lurid male interviewer who claims to have spoken to “thousands of homosexuals” (and who clearly doesn’t understand the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity). The film offers an extremely rare and poignant glimpse into pre-Stonewall queer life as it takes us to a New York City drag ball and follows the women through their daily lives. They talk about their double-lives — going out as women at night but living as men during the day, and about how they take hormones and dream of “going for a change.” One talks about avoiding the draft, another about her fiancé and another about the torment of childhood as an effeminate youth.
“We know that homosexuality is a psychological aberration that should be treated,” proclaims the interviewer as the film ends. Shifting to a surprisingly sympathetic tone he then concludes with the provocative challenge, “but what about those who don’t want to change? Who are we to judge?” This flip-flop perfectly encapsulates the film’s schizophrenic combination of attitudes as it alternates between luridness and validation, judgment and empathy.
Of course it is extremely significant for us to be able to look back and see this rare portrait of four wonderful trans women being so candid and courageous in the years before Stonewall. Queens at Heart is especially remarkable for how candid and brave the women are in expressing themselves so vulnerably when we can tell that the film was produced more as an exploitation film than as a serious documentary.
As a film historian and archivist I’ve unearthed many films over the years. Queens at Heart is the most significant on every level. It is a film that had been essentially lost to us — with nothing having previously been written about it in LGBT film literature. As a glimpse at pre-Stonewall queer life it is remarkable: from the wonderful footage of the drag balls and gay men dancing together to the provocative interviews with transgender women which are truly jaw-dropping in their candor. The power of this film for bringing us face to face with our forebears (and queer life in 1967) is absolutely incredible, and the film is of even greater interest in this era of increased trans awareness and activism.
Queens at Heart is a tremendously valuable archival portrait of pre-Stonewall trans women — their candor and courage are a true gift and this is a must-see film for anyone interested in transgender history.
About Jenni Olson: Jenni Olson is an LGBT film historian, archivist and filmmaker based in Berkeley, California. Her work as a film historian includes the Lambda Award nominated The Queer Movie Poster Book (Chronicle Books, 2005) and her many vintage movie trailer presentations (Homo Promo, Trailer Camp, etc.). She is on the Advisory Board of the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project for LGBT Moving Image Preservation.
In this new Dekkoo-original series two very different young men come together in an episodic series that follows their relationship – from beginning to end. Watch the official trailer now!
When Lucas travels to visit his sister he meets Antonio who works as a boatswain in a local fishing boat. An intense romance blossoms between the two of them, and with it their strength, their independence and their adulthood become immovable with the ebb and flow of the tide. ‘The Strong Ones’ is available now on Dekkoo!
Bernardo is an old Art History teacher recently retired and widowed from his wife Cecilia. One day he runs into Víctor, a piano player and long lost love from Bernardo’s past that he hasn’t seen in almost 40 years. ‘Chords’ is available now on Dekkoo!
Coming next week: “Both sprawling and intimate, it tells a story dealing with life, love, friendship, mortality and, yes, AIDS, in a manner that is relentlessly and deliberately unsentimental in tone but which nevertheless proves to be quite affecting.” – rogerebert.com
From writer-director Sergei Alexander, the British drama Your Eyes on Me tells the story of an experienced drag queen named Gloria (Paul Stone) whose life starts to change when she meets Kandi (Jean-Philippe Boriau) a younger drag-virgin who is auditioning for her next show.
As a bond begins to develop between Gloria and Kandi, their relationship takes an unexpected turn. Suddenly, the past, and the choices Gloria made as a young man, become a stark reality.
A Russian-born filmmaker who arrived in London in 2004, Alexander makes his feature-length debut with Your Eyes on Me. The film won major awards and acclaim at the 2020 London Independent Film Festival.
“Your Eyes on Me is a story of love, family, friendship and sexuality, one which can be read and interpreted on many different levels and through many different lenses,” said Alexander. “I hope that film will bring viewers on a thought-provoking and emotional journey, eliciting questions around their beliefs of love, self-acceptance and self-identity.”
Interior designer and reality show star Farleigh Knock has a knack for keeping beautiful things, including Adonis-like Dennis, around his home. So when Farleigh gives him an unthinkable ultimatum for his 30th birthday–to get a job or get out–Dennis goes from Kept Boy to Lost Man. ‘Kept Boy’ is available now on Dekkoo!
This portrait chronicles life on the streets as seen through the eyes of a cross-dressing, homeless man named Leslie Cochran, one of the most beloved yet polarizing cult figures of Austin, Texas. Told with unapologetic humor, Leslie’s bizarre meteoric rise to iconic status is starkly contrasted with living life on his own terms in a changing world. Stream ‘Becoming Leslie’ now on Dekkoo!
Though he’s always considered himself straight, Daniel begins to develop feelings for his alluring new co-worker Javier. Once he admits to his bisexuality, he enters a new world of potential partners. All the while, however, he’s looking to work up the courage to tell Javier how he really feels. Don’t miss this sexy new 8-episode romantic comedy series. ‘Everything I Like’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!
A drag queen named Gloria’s life changes dramatically when she meets Kandi, a drag virgin auditioning for her next show. As the bond develops between the two, their relationship takes an unexpected turn. Stream ‘Your Eyes On Me’ now on Dekkoo!
Darío, a 17-year-old boy in Barranquilla, Colombia, is a talented dancer whose mother’s disapproval stands in his way of performing at the upcoming carnival. ‘Dario’ is available now on Dekkoo!
Coming next week: A psychological coming-of-age film about the courage it takes to be oneself and the daunting fear blocking the way.
Dr. Jason Holden, early 50s, is in danger of losing his family, because of a tragic automobile accident. He becomes a piano accompanist at a local ballet studio and falls in love with Brandon Wykowski, 27, a troubled dancer. ‘The Accompanist’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!
’50 Years of Fabulous’ recounts the rich history of the Imperial Council, the oldest LGBT charity organization in the world. Founded in San Francisco by renowned activist, drag queen and performer Jose Sarria (the first openly gay man to run for political office), the Council has helped shape LGBT life and social history in San Francisco and beyond throughout the years. Watch ’50 Years of Fabulous’ now on Dekkoo!
In Manhattan, film-maker Erik bonds with closeted lawyer Paul after a fling. As their relationship becomes one fueled by highs, lows, and dysfunctional patterns, Erik struggles to negotiate his own boundaries while being true to himself. ‘Keep the Lights On’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!
United States, the 50s. Amongst stuffed poodles, whiskey-infused teas, sinful mambo lessons, and threats of alien invasion, Mr(s). Fairytale spends her days locked in her dream home and without a moment to breathe. A surreal world where anyone can finally be who they want to be, but behind which hides another upsetting reality. Stream ‘Fairytale’ now on Dekkoo!
A passionate coming-of-age tale set amidst the conservative confines of modern Tbilisi, the film follows Merab, a competitive dancer who is thrown off balance by the arrival of Irakli, a fellow male dancer with a rebellious streak. ‘And Then We Danced’ is available to stream on Dekkoo!
‘Moments of Awakening’ follows Paolo as he makes peace with his past relationships with Sherwin and Sandino. It is also the story of a people whose lives are endangered by the fascist Duterte regime, and the events that lead to their awakening and empowerment. Watch ‘Moments of Awakening’ now on Dekkoo!
Coming next week: “One of the most exciting series of the year.” – Cahiers du Cinema