Now Available: My Best Friend

The new coming-of-age drama My Best Friend follows Lorenzo (Angelo Mutti Spinetta), a quiet teen who lives in a small town at the edge of the world in beautiful Patagonia.

Angelo Mutti Spinetta and Lautaro Rodriguez in My Best Friend

Lorenzo is a good student, a curious and smart young person far more skilled in music and literature than in sports. When a dramatic event leaves a family friend with nowhere to live, Caito (Lautaro Rodriguez), a year older than Lorenzo, comes to stay in their home.

Angelo Mutti Spinetta and Lautaro Rodriguez in My Best Friend

Covered in fresh bruises, tattooed, and handsome, Caito is both a disturbing and fascinating new presence in Lorenzo’s life. As their friendship grows, Caito begins opening up to Lorenzo – and the more Caito reveals his true self, the more Lorenzo finds his feelings growing for his new house guest.

Angelo Mutti Spinetta and Lautaro Rodriguez in My Best Friend

With beautiful cinematography and outstanding lead performances, this tender coming-of-age story from writer-director Martin Deus, making his feature-length film debut, examines the space between first crush and first love.

Angelo Mutti Spinetta and Lautaro Rodriguez in My Best Friend

Watch the trailer for My Best Friend below. The film is now streaming on Dekkoo.

 

A bold and harrowing gay classic comes to Dekkoo

Adapted by playwright Martin Sherman from his groundbreaking play of the same name, Bent employs an impressive cast of familiar faces to tell a painful personal story about the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany.

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In 1930s Berlin, Max (Clive Owen) sleeps with German SA officer Wolf (future “Game of Thrones” star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), only to see him killed by his fellow Nazis the next morning as part of the “Night of the Long Knives.”

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Refusing an offer of new papers from his Uncle Freddie (Ian McKellen) for fear of leaving his boyfriend Rudy (Brian Webber) behind, Max and Rudy are found by the Gestapo, to whom Max lies about his homosexuality and his relationship. He is soon sent to Dachau, where he meets and falls in love with Horst (Lothaire Bluteau), who shows him the dignity that lies in acknowledging one’s beliefs, even in the face of incomprehensible persecution.

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Originally staged as a Royal Court production in 1979, starring Ian McKellen and Tom Bell, which later transferred to the West End, Bent earned major acclaim right out of the gate. Richard Gere played Max in the original 1980 Broadway production. In 1989, Sean Mathias, the film’s director, helmed a revival of the play, performed as a one-night benefit for Stonewall, featuring Ian McKellen, Richard E Grant, Ian Charleson and Ralph Fiennes. After receiving critical acclaim, Mathias directed a full, award-winning run in 1990 – priming him to head up the film adaptation to come.

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Also co-starring Mick Jagger, Jude Law, Rupert Graves, Paul Bettany, Sadie Frost and Rachel Weisz, Bent is an unparalleled gay classic that deserves to be seen. Released in 1997, the film has long been unavailable… until now. Bent is currently streaming on Dekkoo.

Two estranged gay brothers reconnect in the emotional drama Tiger Orange

The indie drama Tiger Orange follows Chet (Mark Strano) and Todd (Frankie Valenti, better known to some fans as gay adult film superstar Johnny Hazzard), two estranged gay brothers who grew up in a small town in Central California to a homophobic, working class single father.

Frankie Valenti aka Johnny Hazzard in Tiger Orage

Now adults, the two could not have turned out more differently. Chet, the older brother, runs the family hardware store and still lives in their childhood home where he’s cared for their ailing father until his recent death. Todd ran off to Los Angeles at eighteen and never looked back. He’s burned the candle at both ends his entire life and now homeless, with no cash, he heads back up the coast to the home and the brother he left behind.

The surprise visit shakes up Chet’s safe and guarded life and the two of them living under one roof becomes a recipe for disaster. Soon Todd is stirring up trouble in town with his sexual misadventures and in-your-face bravado and Chet struggles to keep him in check while slowly unraveling himself.

Mark Strano aka Johnny Hazzard in Tiger Orage

As their long-simmering resentments boil to the surface, the brothers are forced to not only hash out their differences but begin to examine the common bond they never truly acknowledged.

Director, Wade Gasque, produced and co-wrote the film with Strano, his longtime partner. Strano won the Outfest 2014 Grand Jury Award for Best Actor for his performance in the film. Speaking about his motivation for making Tiger Orange, Gasque said “I have a handful of gay sibling friends and I’ve always been fascinated by their stories but I’ve never seen a movie about them. What was it like growing up together? Does it make the experience less isolating?”

Frankie Valenti aka Johnny Hazzard in Tiger Orage

Taking about casting beloved porn star Johnny Hazzard, credited here as Frankie Valenti, Gasque said ““This wasn’t some flashy, no-brainer kind of role. These brothers are broken and volatile. Frankie stretched himself. He put himself out there as an actor and showed real vulnerability. He took risks and I think his fans are going to be blown away by his performance.”

You can watch the trailer for Tiger Orange below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.

Q&A with Interested In’s Michael Witkes

Created by Michael Witkes, Interested In (now available for streaming on Dekkoo) follows the story of Parker, a recently out young gay man exploring his sexuality and identity through the lens of hookup culture. This queer comedy series portrays Parker in an array of scenarios reminiscent of the shared experiences many gay males encounter after coming out and diving into the murky waters of gay culture.

I sat down with Michael Witkes to discuss what inspired Interested In and what the process of creating the series was like.

First off, what are you interested in? Who is Michael Witkes?

My name is Michael Witkes, and I’m an actor, producer, director, and writer focused on showcasing LGBT stories in an authentic way. I’m originally from Philadelphia where Interested In takes place, and I currently live in New York City. Artistically, I am most interested in works that explore gay shame, LGBT identity, and expands representation. I also love froyo, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and queer history.

What was the inspiration for the title of the series?

I called the show Interested In because of the tumultuous moment when I first changed my Facebook status to “interested in men.” It felt so official that I was announcing to the world that I was gay, and I wanted to explore how labels can both help and hinder someone, how important they are in shaping identity, and how they can mean both everything and nothing at the same time.

Parker finds himself in some pretty sticky situations. What was your main source of inspiration for the events that take place in Interested In?

Some things are based on events that actually happened to me and some are fabricated. I wrote the first draft in 2013 after I came out in college, and I was trying to express those initial personal moments when you finally come out of the closet and how you can feel so uncomfortable in your own body. As a writer, I see the world in vignettes, and I selected moments that were exemplary of one person’s struggle of coming into himself.

Still from the new gay series Interested In - Now Available on Dekkoo!

How did you curate these vignettes for the screen?

The development of Parker’s character was really the driving force behind the storyline. I wanted to show that character’s journey from being someone who is so freshly out and awkward into someone who is more comfortable in his own skin. At the end of this season, he might not be totally there just yet, but I think he’s making significant progress to get to that point.

What was your personal coming out experience like?

The relationship that Parker talks about in the first episode where he said he was with this boy who wasn’t ready to come out yet and then they broke up because of that—all of that was true for me as well. I was so ready to come out for like a year before I actually did. When it finally happened, all of my friends and family were so supportive, but—at the same time—I was dealing with the loss of my first love so it was bittersweet.

In Interested In, Ep. 3, Parker and his Grindr date not only get intimate physically but emotionally as well. However, in the finale with the lawyer character, there’s more of a “no strings attached” vibe. Why did you decide to showcase this broad spectrum of intimacy in the show?

Representation is so important. Growing up, all the movies and series I watched always showed young gay kids either committing suicide or coming out then living happily ever after. I wanted to show what being gay is really like by exploring both the positive and negative aspects of gay dating in a realistic setting. I was interested in showing how in Grindr culture every interaction can be different.

Still from the new gay series Interested In - Now Available on Dekkoo!

Is Parker a no-strings-attached kinda guy or do you think he’s looking for more?

Parker deeply wants a boyfriend, but he’s very ignorant of the gay dating lifestyle. He goes into these situations expecting a true connection and then is really surprised when that doesn’t happen. For Parker, each episode is a learning moment that he takes onto the next interaction. He figures out things he didn’t know before which is very indicative of how LGBTQ people in real life have to learn things the hard way as they go along.

It’s no secret that in regards to gay culture, there’s a “whole animal kingdom out there.” What is your take on the roles LGBTQ people are expected to take on when participating in the culture (i.e. top, bottom, gay, straight, bi, twink, bear, otter, etc.)?

At first, I was so terrified of coming out that it took me a long time to take on the label of “gay.” But then once you’re out, everyone says, “Oh, now you have to be a twink or an otter, and a top or a bottom.” I was so frustrated by all the boxes I was getting put into. On one hand, I do think that labels can be helpful. Now, I’m so proud to be gay despite the fact that the word used to hold such a stigma for me. But at the same time, I think labels can hinder people. In Interested In, Parker’s journey is figuring out which labels he wants to take on and which ones he can say “thank u, next” to.

In the fourth episode, we get to see an interesting side of Parker when he has a sexual encounter with his ex-girlfriend. As far as sexual orientation goes, what does Parker identify as?

Parker is gay, but that moment with his ex-girlfriend is really important in helping him figure that out and that it’s also okay to keep your options open.

Still from the new gay series Interested In - Now Available on Dekkoo!

What do you think modern-day LGBTQ youth will gain from this series seeing Parker experience the nuances that come with the territory of being a gay man?

I hope Interested In will help queer youths by showing them a story that’s about what comes directly after coming out of the closet. My goal with these vignettes is to show sex positivity and openness in regard to real issues so people can feel more comfortable with themselves. I want people watching the show to go out into the world and have their own vignette moments.

What would 15-year-old Michael Witkes say about seeing something like Interested In on screen?

It would have meant everything to him! Seeing someone struggle to take on their identity would have prepared me to do that before I even had to. Watching the show now, I get nostalgic for what it was like when I was a baby gay.

Why do you think it’s important to show these experiences on screen?

Sex is such a taboo subject, but I don’t think we should feel uncomfortable talking about it. After being closeted for so long, unapologetically showcasing intimate moments between queer people is so important to me. I want to change the conversation about sex and make it more open, comfortable, and sex-positive. Also, showing uncomfortable sexual situations is important because that’s a big part of sex, too. It’s not always this beautiful, perfect moment every single time. There’s a lot of awkward things that happen when you’re being intimate with someone, and that’s okay!

Still from the new gay series Interested In - Now Available on Dekkoo!

What is your take on Grindr and other dating apps, especially the “headless torso” phenomenon broached upon in Ep. 2?

There used to be so much stigma surrounding Grindr. It was something you had to hide on your phone and be embarrassed about, but I don’t think that should be the case. Now that straight people are using dating apps, too, there’s definitely less stigma. Unfortunately, Grindr can represent all the problematic things within the LGBTQ community. It can turn into a big cyberbullying moment with the whole “no fats, no fems” thing which is horrible. I think Grindr is doing a lot to try and change that, but, still, it’s hard to police such a big forum where you can write pretty much whatever you want anonymously.

What plans for Interested In do you have for the future? Can Interested In fans be interested in a second season?

Yes, it’s already written! The second season is going to explore Parker developing into a more confident person with some of the previous characters popping up.

What’s it like to have Interested In featured on Dekkoo?

When I wrote the show, I was writing for a very specific, niche audience, and I think that’s exactly what Dekkoo is for. I’m so grateful that they gave me this unique platform and that they’ve chosen to cater to an LGBTQ audience. All I wanted as a gay kid was something like Dekkoo to watch.

Still from the new gay series Interested In - Now Available on Dekkoo!

Aside from the show, what are you interested in for the future?

I’m just really excited to make more work that explores similar themes but also dives into other topics as well. Since Interested In, I’ve written a lot of content, and I hope this show will give me the platform to bring all of those stories to life!

You can keep up with all things Interested In by visiting their website, Facebook page, and Instagram account. Watch Interested In on Dekkoo today, available now!

New This Week – 3/15/19

Two men fall in love behind the walls of a concentration camp in this powerful drama. Clive Owen, Lothaire Bluteau, Mick Jagger, Jude Law, Ian McKellen, Paul Bettany, Rachel Weisz and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau star in this emotional adaptation of the award-winning stage play by Martin Sherman. ‘Bent’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!

Liam, a young man wracked with confusion after an incident guides him on a mission of self-discovery, faces choices that risk changing his life forever. Stream the gay short film ‘Crossroad’ now!

This poignant documentary focuses on the cultural and social movement known as “Queercore”, an offshoot of punk that was distinguished by its discontent with society’s disapproval of the gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender communities. ‘Queercore: How to Punk a Revolution’ is now playing on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: A brand new gay movie and gay series available exclusively on Dekkoo!

The romantic gay classic Come Undone still holds up almost 20 years later

Gorgeous bronzed bodies on the beaches of southern France and a passionate romance between two French teens are reason enough to see Come Undone, but this bittersweet, turn-of-the-millennium gay classic also has some profound things to say about the heartbreak of gay first love.

Eighteen-year-old Mathieu (Jérémie Elkaïm) is vacationing at the beach with his family when he meets local teen Cedric (Stéphane Rideau). After an extremely erotic kiss, the boys begin a hot and heavy affair, complete with skinny-dipping at night, nude dancing on the beach and intense lovemaking in the dunes. Yet as Mathieu grapples with his sexuality – and copes with his sick mother, absent father and a characteristically annoying little kid sister – his bond with Cedric grows stronger… until, like so many first loves before and since, it bursts.

Released to critical acclaim in 2000, Come Undone, directed and co-written by Sebastien Lifshitz, beautifully conveys Mathieu’s coming-of-age (a scene in which he comes out to his mother is still quite moving almost 20 years later). Both lead actors, Stéphane Rideau and Jérémie Elkaïm, are incredibly charismatic and give remarkable performances as the affectionate teens.

If you’ve never seen it before – or are just looking to dip your toes back in – Dekkoo has you covered. Come Undone is available now.

Don’t miss the scorching new thriller Sunburn

As the summer sun beams down on a gorgeous modern villa in the countryside of Portugal, a close-knit group of forty-something friends meets for a relaxing weekend by the pool. The group consists of Joana (Oceana Basílio), the stunningly beautiful lone female, and Francisco (Nuno Pardal), the man with whom she is planning to have a child; Vasco (Ricardo Pereira), a romantic looking to settle down into a committed relationship; and Simao (Richard Barbosa), a writer whose latest screenplay borrows heavily from their real lives.

Their peaceful camaraderie is soon upended, however, by a phone call from David, a former friend, previously ostracized by the group, who seems to have left a strong and lasting impression on each of them. After a long absence, he’s back in town and planning to stop by. It’s at this point that Sunburn, the newest film from writer-director Vicente Alves do Ó, begins to ramp up the dread and morph into a intriguing mystery. A reckoning, of some sort, is coming. What happened between David and the rest of the group to inspire such mixed emotions?

With a diverse writing background in film, television and theater, Vicente Alves do Ó became known in his country for creating successful biopics of some of Portugal’s most outcast poets. After his three first features, his 2017 film Al Berto (also available on Dekkoo) took him in a new direction, focusing on the LGBTQ themes. With a stellar cast and an eye for gorgeous compositions, Sunburn is a masterful addition to his already impressive resume.

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