The controversial Russian import Outlaw makes its debut on Dekkoo

Director Ksenia Ratushnaya’s bold first feature, Outlaw shines a spotlight on modern LGBTQ life (and strife) in Russia.

Highly controversial, this provocative and visually dazzling new film from director Ksenia Ratushnaya and producer Veronika Chibis tells two parallel love stories. One is a love triangle between a gay teen named Nikita (Viktor Tarasenko), a violent jock named Alpha (Gleb Kaluzhny) and a popular girl, the eponymous Outlaw (Liza Kashintseva). The other story follows a romance between a general (Sergey Epishev) transgender dancer (Evengry Okorokov) in the Soviet 1980s.

Due to Russia’s “gay propaganda law,” introduced in 2013 and used to suppress public discourse over LGBTQ issues, the film has had a rough time reaching audiences domestically. It is, however, available now to audiences via Dekkoo.

Watch the trailer for Outlaw below.

 

A loving couple fights for their right to marry in No Dress Code Required

From director Cristina Herrera Borquez, the powerful documentary No Dress Code Required tells a simple story about one Mexican couple’s desire to get married… and all of the roadblocks that stand in their way.

Victor and Fernando, a devoted, unassuming couple from Mexicali, Mexico, find themselves in the center of a legal firestorm over their desire to get married. Weighing all of their options, the pair opt to stay in their hometown of Mexicali and fight for their legal rights.

With the help of two committed attorneys, Victor and Fernando withstand a seemingly interminable series of bizarre hurdles and bureaucratic nitpicking with grace and dignity.

No Dress Code Required is a rallying cry for equality, a testament to the power of ordinary people to become agents of change, and above all, an unforgettable love story that touches the heart and stirs the conscience.

Watch the trailer for No Dress Code Required below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.

Game Face is an inspiring film about the coming out process of LGBTQ athletes

Day by day athletes are becoming more comfortable with their sexuality as sports associations begin to take proactive steps to accepting lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender players in their respective teams or clubs. Yet surprisingly, a lot of homophobia remains in the world of professional and collegiate sports—making it extremely difficult to come out before their careers end. Some are forced to stay closeted by their entourage while others have been kicked off their team; bullied into secrecy; struggle in their careers while battling with self-identity; and tragically some commit suicide.

Some people still feel uncomfortable about having LGBT athletes in sports, and this is the perfect opportunity to finally break all stereotypes. With the documentary Game Face, director Michiel Thomas sheds light on the masses by debunking the myths and misgivings of the LGBT community and athletes. The important details to remember are found in the fact that these are people who have a passion and love for their respective sport, everything else is irrelevant. This film tells different stories from various athletes in their sport, covering a wide spectrum of issues.

Featuring figures such as transgender mixed-martial-arts fighter Fallon Fox and basketball hopeful Terrence Clemens, Game Face offers up an inspiring film about the coming out process of professional and college athletes.

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

Now Available: Bridegroom

Released originally in 2013, the emotional documentary Bridegroom follows the journey of Shane Bitney Crone and Tom Bridegroom, two young men in a loving and committed relationship – a relationship that was cut tragically short by a misstep off the side of a roof.

The story of what happened after this accidental death, before marriage equality, tells of how people without the legal protections of marriage found themselves completely shut out and ostracized. The film is poignant, enraging and opened a window onto the issue of marriage equality like no speech or lecture ever could.

On May 7, 2012, the anniversary of Tom’s death, Shane made a video tribute to his greatest love entitled “It Could Happen To You.” This film, posted on YouTube, earned over 2.7 million hits and inspired over 50 thousand e-mails and comments on YouTube and Facebook. The impact of Shane’s original film, and the raw nerve it touched, told an important story that needed to be brought to the world stage.

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

Now Available: Bitter Years

One of the founders of the Italian Homosexual Liberation Movement, created at the beginning of the 1970s, Mario Mieli was an activist, intellectual, writer, performer and a key figure on the Italian cultural scene.

Though he committed suicide at the age of thirty, he lived a busy and full life, leaving an impression on LGBTQ culture in Italy together with his friends like architect Corrado Levi, painter Piero Fassoni, singer Ivan Cattaneo, activist Angelo Pezzana, writer Fernanda Pivano and poet Milo De Angelis.

Starring Nicola Di Benedetto in the lead role, Bitter Years traces the ups and downs of Mieli’s short, but influential life. According to Andrea Adriatico, the film’s director, “He liked to provoke and to be an innovator but, today, his thought has been completely forgotten.”

“A son of the upper middle class and second to last of seven children, he spent an entire life having a complicated relationship with his parents, Water and Liderica, and the last years of his life were spent with his lover Umberto Pasti, in a very difficult and intense love story.”

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

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.

 

Now Available: At the End of the Day

After losing his wife and counseling practice, the only thing thirty-two-year-old Dave Hopper (Stephen Shane Martin) has going for himself is his part-time professorship at his alma mater, a growing Christian college. And the only reason he even got that job was because his previous professor (Tom Nowicki), now ambitious dean, pulled a few strings.

The Dean’s plans for growth hit a snag when the property he wants to develop has been promised to a gay support group – which has plans to open an LGBT homeless teen shelter if they can raise the money in time. The Dean is forced to take drastic measures, offering Dave his dream job, but he only gets it if he goes undercover in the group as a gay man – the abomination he counsels against – and stops them from raising the funds needed to buy the property.

Dave reluctantly agrees, and for the first time, is met face-to-face with the community he has been battling his entire career. The awkward and emotional experiences that follow lead Dave on a journey of truth, revealing that life and love are not as black and white as he first thought.

The feature-length debut from writer-director Kevin O’Brien, At the End of the Day is a compassionate new comedy drama. Watch the trailer below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.

 

Short Film Spotlight: The Gay Rub

The Gay Rub is a project by Steven Reigns devoted to collecting rubbings from LGBTQ historical markers, signs, tombstones, cenotaphs, plaques, and monuments. By gathering LGBTQ rubbings from across the globe, these public historic commemorations can be viewed at once. LGBTQ history and landmarks are underrepresented and underappreciated. The Gay Rub’s aim is to help draw more attention to the markers and the LGBTQ significance that prompted them.

Steven Reigns is a Los Angeles-based poet and educator and was appointed the first Poet Laureate of West Hollywood. Alongside over a dozen chapbooks, he has published collections such as Inheritance and Your Dead Body is My Welcome Mat.

Reigns holds a BA in Creative Writing from the University of South Florida, a Master of Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, and is an eleven-time recipient of The Los Angeles County’s Department of Cultural Affairs’ Artist in Residency Grant. Currently he is touring The Gay Rub, an exhibition of rubbings from LGBT landmarks, facilitates the monthly Lambda Lit Book Club, and is at work on a new collection of poetry.

Director Michael J. Saul is fairly new to documentary filmmaking, but he was a pioneer in the San Francisco art and film scene of the 1980s, producing a series of experimental films with musical collaborator Steven M. Miller which found success in film festivals around the world. With the new short doc, The Gay Rub, Saul shines a spotlight on the important work that Reigns has been doing and offers viewers an exclusive look at this profoundly impressive collection.

The Gay Rub is now available on Dekkoo.

 

Now Available: Cheetah in August

A former high school track athlete’s distorted views on love, negatively affects the people closest to him in the acclaimed LGBTQ series Cheetah in August.

The show centers around the deep personal journey of the main character, August (Andre Myers), as he examines his life in therapy, from his high school years into adulthood. At the start of the season we are introduced to August’s alter ego, “Cheetah”, who is the main force preventing August from enjoying a monogamous relationship with his current lover. As a large cast of characters are soon introduced, they intertwine within a web of sex, lies, deception, and murder.

Sexuality, love, religion, psychology and self-hate are all themes that are touched on throughout Cheetah in August, which proudly aims to raise awareness of societal issues often swept under the rug. Series creator Anthony Bawn has said that he hopes to use the show to explore ideas of ethnic LGBTQ identity through a “mentally confused young adult searching for normalcy” and that he pictured how a young black male growing up in a religious family could develop social desegregation within the gay community.

Watch the trailer for Cheetah in August below. The first two twelve-episode seasons are available now on Dekkoo.

Buddies is an intensely personal study of love, death, and the need for activism

David (David Schachter), a naive graduate student, has volunteered to work as a ‘buddy’ for people dying of AIDS. Assigned to the intensely political Robert (Geoff Edholm), a lifelong activist whose friends and family have abandoned him following his diagnosis, the two men, each with notably different world views, soon discover common bonds, as David’s inner activist awakens and Robert’s need for emotional release is fulfilled.

The first narrative feature film made about the AIDS crisis, acclaimed independent filmmaker Arthur Bressan Jr’s (Passing Strangers, Abuse) Buddies is an intensely personal study of love, death, and the need for activism during the earliest years of the LGBTQ community’s fight for survival.

Structured like a filmed play, Buddies turned out to be Bressan’s final film, as he too would fall victim to AIDS barely two years after its completion.

Nearly impossible to see following its brief theatrical release and never officially released on home video, Buddies is available now on Dekkoo, newly restored from a long-lost 16mm negative. You can watch the original 1985 trailer below.