Robert Brock, the artistic director and founder of the Lancaster Marionette Theatre in Pennsylvania, lives above the space with his mother, Mary Lou.
Together the pair have been keeping this Lancaster treasure going for thirty years with unique takes on classic marionette shows for families (including Peter Pan, The Wizard of Oz and Aladdin) and cabaret-style grown-up shows which feature Brock performing as Liza Minnelli, Bette Midler and other divas.
Each puppet has not only been handcrafted by Brock himself, but also acts as a window into the personality that has passionately driven this fading form of entertainment.
Offbeat and endlessly endearing, the new documentary Marionette Land follows Brock and his mother as they go about their daily business… until COVID-19 threatens to drop the curtains for good. As the thirty year anniversary approaches and attendance dwindles, Robert begins to reflect upon his life dedicated to entertaining others while sacrificing his own personal needs. Though the stage gave him confidence to become and accept his true self, it also left him without a partner to share the spotlight with.
From director Alexander Monelli (the filmmaker behind the acclaimed doc At the Drive-In), Marionette Land intimately captures a deeply gifted artist as a personal and professional crossroad.
The Uninhabitable Ones, a new twenty-five-minute short film from director Anderson Bardot, follows a contemporary dance company in Brazil as they are about to debut their latest show.
Inabitáveis, their newest performance, addresses black homosexuality as its theme. Running parallel to the rehearsals, the choreographer builds a friendship with Pedro, a black boy who doesn’t identify as a boy at all.
A poetic wildness of transgressive queers, of impressionist colors, of bodies that celebrate their black and latinx existences, The Uninhabitable Ones offers up a thoughtful, visually inventive and deeply moving feast for the eyes.
“The Uninhabitable Ones is the kind of movie I’d like to see on a movie screen,” said director Anderson Bardot. “A show that inaugurates the theme of black sexuality on the theater stages in the state of Espirito Santo, but more than that, a movie that overflowed the stage and made of it its own true space of emancipation – art as a tool to promote life.”
Originally released in 2004, Straight-Jacket is a colorful gay comedy written and directed by Richard Day, based on his own stage play of the same name.
Set in the 1950s, the film revolves around Hollywood heartthrob Guy Stone. Played by cutie-pie Matt Letscher, the character can easily be read as a not-so-veiled stand-in for Rock Hudson. A wildly popular leading man, the public loves to gossip about Guy’s romantic conquests, but the young actor has a secret. While he’s been involved in an abundance of flings, none of them have been with women.
Looking to get the press and public to stop speculating about his bachelorhood, Guy’s agent Jerry (Veronica Cartwright) convinces him to marry the unassuming Sally (Carrie Preston). However, soon after the wedding, Guy develops major feeling for an attractive young writer named Rick (Adam Greer), leading to an uncomfortable love triangle that could ruin the reputations of everyone involved.
Presented as a pastiche of Rock Hudson-Doris Day romantic comedies, Straight-Jacket is a charming and sexy romp through a different time in Hollywood history.
Antony Hickling wrote, directed and stars in the personal and beautifully evocative Down in Paris, which follows a troubled gay filmmaker at a creative and personal crossroad through one unusually eventful night.
Richard (Hickling) is a gay movie director in his forties who finds himself suddenly overwhelmed with crippling anxiety in the middle of a night shoot for his latest project. Without saying a word to his cast and crew, he walks off the set and wanders through the Paris streets in search of answers and hopefully, the inspiration to continue.
During his long dark night of the soul, Richard bonds with a British woman he meets in a bar, runs into an old boyfriend, visits an eerily profound fortuneteller and has a myriad of other random encounters (including a memorable visit to a gay sex club).
Some of these encounters are warm, some disturbing, others life affirming. None, however, quite provides what Richard is seeking. As dawn approaches, he must confront his fears and question his deepest desires in order to find renewal to continue his life journey.
An autobiographical film taken from the experiences of writer-director Rob Moretti, Crutch is a coming-of-age tale about a young man’s struggle with family problems and substance abuse.
Behind a façade of suburban middle class perfection, David (Eben Gordon) finds that his home life is falling apart. As he tries to cope with the impossible situation, the troubled and impressionable teenager falls under the spell of Kenny (played by writer-director Moretti), an attractive thirty-something has-been actor turned theater coach.
When Kenny’s “support” escalates into seduction, David slowly descends into an abyss of drinking and drug addition from which he must escape if he is to survive.
Originally released in 2004, this gay indie tells a dramatic tale about the confusion of youth and the difficulties in finding oneself.
Johan Niemand (Schalk Bezuidenhout) is a fashion-loving gay teen in small-town South Africa in 1985, a time of apartheid, religious conservatism and war – an era when not even his idol Boy George had dared to come out publicly as gay yet.
When Johan is called up to serve his compulsory two-year military training, he escapes the border war by joining The South African Defence Force Church Choir and Concert Group, known as Die Kanaries (The Canaries), where he discovers his true self through hardship, camaraderie, first love and the liberating freedom of music.
A winner of over 15 different international awards, Kanarie earned rave reviews from critics. It currently has a 100% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Los Angeles Times called it “A rich, poignant and finely observed musical drama.” Michael McNeely in theBUZZ said “Every once in a while comes a film that is filled with so much joy, human connection, and emotional turmoil, you know that as long as it sticks the landing, it is a masterpiece.”
Watch the trailer for Kanarie below. The film is available now on Dekkoo.
A tender LGBTQ drama, Tucked follows an 80-year-old drag queen who forms and unusually deep relationship with a much younger up-and-coming performer. Though the two come from different backgrounds and have wildly different day-to-day experiences both struggle with their own issues of gender identity and mortality – and find comfort, support and much to learn in one another.
Set in Brighton, Tucked is a classic British ‘slice of life’ story that pays homage to celebrated works like Kinky Boots and The Dresser. A story about love, loss and friendship with a great charm and sense of humor, the film earned rave reviews from critics all around the world and spotlights two fantastic performances from lead actors Derren Nesbitt and Jordan Stephens.
Watch the trailer for Tucked below. The film is available now on Dekkoo.
Marco Berger, the maverick Argentinian filmmaker behind Absent, Young Hunter, Taekwondo, The Blonde One and many more, turns his unparalleled eye for the male form to one of the world’s largest displays of masculine bodies- a traditional South American Carnival.
Using two men as our primary guides, we watch the men of the town prepare and, eventually participate, in parade like no other.
The sensual joy of watching the men of Gualeguaychú transform in to Dionysiac figures via costumes, glitter and feathers is the perfect canvas for Berger’s talents.
A visual, erotic feast for the senses, The Carnival is not to be missed.
Originally released in 1970, Dinah East tells the story of a glamourous movie starlet who is later revealed to be a trans woman.
In 1950s Hollywood, Dinah East (Jeremy Stockwell) fooled the world into believing he was a she – and became a glamorous movie diva on top of it. When she dies, the secret finally comes out. The film proceeds to tell the story of her relationships with friends and intimates – including a lesbian wardrobe designer, a gay matinee idol (with whom she had an affair), a protective lawyer and a washed up prize fighter who becomes her chauffeur.
Marketed at the time as “Hollywood’s strangest story,” Dinah East is a film that is deeply dated and problematic in many respects, but surprisingly far ahead of its time in others. Seen today, it’s an undeniably fascinating cult classic curio of a bygone era.
After a short, but celebrated run in theaters, the film seemingly disappeared, but has not been restored for modern audiences. Take a trip back fifty years and behold the lost LGBTQ+ classic Dinah East. The film is now available on Dekkoo.
Jim (played by Harris Dickinson – the star of Beach Rats and the upcoming The King’s Man) is so beautiful you might think a Greek sculpture had just come to life.
His future in the cultural-desert that is his small Cumbrian town would consist of working at the local nuclear power plant Sellafield, socializing at his local, and going to bingo as a treat. So like many before him, Jim journeys to the great Metropolis that is London to seek fame, fortune, culture and excitement. The epicenter of all this activity is of course Soho, with its bright neon lights, street life, and bars catering to every gender and whim.
From writer-director Steve McLean, Postcards From London tells the story of this remarkably beautiful teenager as falls in with The Raconteurs – a gang of unusual high class male escorts who specialize in post-coital conversation.
From shy novice to sought after escort and eventually artist’s muse, Jim would be the toast of the town if it wasn’t for his annoying affliction. He suffers from Stendhal Syndrome, a rare condition which causes him to hallucinate and faint when he encounters real works of art. But when Jim is roped into the world of detecting art forgery, could his condition bring about his downfall?