New This Week – 5/10/19

In 1969 police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village, leading to three nights of rioting by the city’s gay community. With this outpouring of courage and unity the Gay Liberation Movement had begun. June 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of these riots. In honor of that historical moment we present this emotionally potent documentary about how LGBTQ people became a vibrant and integral part of America’s family, and, indeed, the world community. Watch ‘After Stonewall’ now on Dekkoo!

Scott, a mild-mannered gay writer in Los Angeles, gets wrapped up into a world of bad boys and their crime-filled past after being adopted as their “Daddy Scott”, whether he likes it or not. ‘Bad Boy’ is streaming now on Dekkoo!

Kai and Tobi share one last night together, remembering a beautiful weekend they once had away from the oppression of Tobi’s homophobic mother – before the light of the world has been put out in this beautiful, romantic and heartbreaking end times drama. Stream ‘1 Last Chance at Paradise’ now on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: Robin Williams stars in one of his final performances.

Get ‘Woke’ on Dekkoo!

Winner of the “Best Web Series” award at the La Rochelle Fiction Festival in 2017 and the “Best LGBT Series” award at the UK Web Fest that same year, the gay drama series Woke (originally titled Les Engages) is now available to watch on Dekkoo!

Mehdi Meskar and Eric Pucheu in Woke: Season One (Les Engages) – now streaming on Dekkoo

The show follows Hicham (Mehdi Meskar), who runs away from his home and comes to Lyon looking for Thibaut (Eric Pucheu), an attractive young man who had tried to kiss him just a few years before… and left a lasting impression.

Mehdi Meskar and Eric Pucheu in Woke: Season One (Les Engages) – now streaming on Dekkoo

Thibaut is an activist at the local LGBT Community Center. Hicham soon discovers his world. As his process of self-discovery unfolds, Hicham’s initial apprehension soon turns to enthusiasm. However, he soon comes to find that Thibaut isn’t exactly the person he appears to be.

Mehdi Meskar and Eric Pucheu in Woke: Season One (Les Engages) – now streaming on Dekkoo

Check out the trailer below and catch up on all the action on Dekkoo – where all ten episodes of the first season are now streaming.

Pride Month Spotlight: Vito

“Enormously entertaining… Incisive and illuminating. This emotionally powerful documentary…is the stirring testament he deserves.” – The Hollywood Reporter

“Hugely moving and even more inspiring.” – LA Weekly

“I highly recommend it to anyone interested in pop culture, in civil rights, or in how the two are deeply connected. Through his story, ‘Vito’ becomes not just a biography but a history of his times, as a fight against discrimination became a fight for life.” – Time Magazine

“Involving… vibrant. A dramatic focal point in the history of gay rights.” – Variety

 

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On June 27, 1969, a police raid on a Greenwich Village gay bar took a surprising turn when patrons decided it was time to fight back. As a riot erupted outside the Stonewall Inn, a new era in the Gay Rights Movement was born. You know the story.

Vito Russo, a 23-year-old film student, was among those in the crowd the unforgettable night. Over the next twenty years, until his death from AIDS in 1990, Vito would go on to become one of the most outspoken and inspiring activists in the LGBT community’s fight for equal rights.

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In the midst of his involvement with Act Up and the fight against AIDS, Vito was also a prolific writer. His seminal book The Celluloid Closet explored the ways in which gay and lesbian characters were (most often subtly) portrayed on film, what lessons those characters taught gay and straight audiences, and how those negative images were at the root of society’s homophobia.

Even before the book was published, Vito was taking The Celluloid Closet on the road, traveling to gay film festivals and college campuses for an entertaining and informative lecture/ clip show that intertwined Vito’s love of show business and radical gay politics. He continued writing, lecturing, speaking out and acting up until just months before his death.

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Directed by award-winner Jeffrey Schwarz (I Am Divine, Tab Hunter Confidential, The Fabulous Allen Carr), Vito paints a galvanizing portrait of this outspoken activist in the LGBT community’s struggle for equal rights, using period footage and film clips to capture a vibrant era of gay culture. It’s simply a must-see.

Vito is streaming right now on Dekkoo as one of our Pride Picks. Make sure you check it out if you haven’t seen it already! 

Pride Month Spotlight: Raid of the Rainbow Lounge

On June 28, 2009, at 1:28 am, seven police officers and two agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission swarmed into the Rainbow Lounge, a newly opened gay bar in Fort Worth. The raid lasted approximately 30 minutes. It occurred 40 years, to the date, after the Stonewall riots in New York City – and the parallels are haunting.

Five patrons were zip tied, arrested for public intoxication and taken to jail. Multiple others were arrested and/or detained and then later released. One patron, Chad Gibson, was taken to the emergency room with life threatening injuries and was charges with assault and public intoxication. Police claimed the whole incident was simply a routine inspection.

Gibson on ground surrounded by officers

Writer-director Robert L. Camina knew he needed to capture what was going on. His film, Raid of the Rainbow Lounge, recounts the events of that night, their aftermath and the massive changes that followed. Attending almost every single event related to the raid, camera in hand, Camina was able to interview over 35 people and record over 50 hours of rallies, city council meetings, counter-protests and more.

In the wake of the raid, Fort Worth city leaders and members of the LGBTQ community took significant steps to create a better world for all its citizens. Fort Worth is now a leader in LGBTQ equality.

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“I hope this film inspires people to get involved in their own community,” said Camina in his original Director’s Statement. “While city leaders need to be held accountable for the safety and well-being for all the people they represent, members of the community also need to speak up and initiate change.”

Raid of the Rainbow Lounge embodies the ideals set out by many grassroots organizations seeking progressive change. It’s also a textbook example of how a powerful piece of cinema can be a tool for that change. Raid premiered in Fort Worth in 2012 to a sold-out crowd, rave reviews and a media frenzy. The screening proved to be a watershed moment. It provided closure, healing and strengthening the bridges built between the Fort Worth Police Department and the local LGBTQ Community. It went on to screen at more than 30 film festivals all across North America and picked up some major awards and extra positive attention along the way.

Candlelight Vigil outside the Rainbow Lounge

You can stream Raid of the Rainbow Lounge right now on Dekkoo as one of our Pride Picks!

Pride Month Spotlight: The Apple Tree

When Gabe and Jonathan (played as young men by Jay Renshaw and Ryland Shelton) fall in love in the 1940s, they decide to spend their life together in secret. But as the times changed, so died the couple – who were eventually able to express their love openly.

When Jonathan unexpectedly passes away years later, Gabe (played as an older man Jerry Bornstein) is faced with a dilemma that many LGBT elders encounter when they move into retirement homes… going back into the closet.

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A 30-minute short film, writer-director Matthew Ladensack’s The Apple Tree screened world-wide at LGBT film festivals, and ended up winning the Best Picture prize at Out in the Desert. The short was very powerful at the time it was released and over the intervening years, with many baby boomers entering assisted living homes, the story the film tells has become much louder and stronger – so much so that Ladensack is in the process of adapting it into a feature film.

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The writer/director’s newest draft earned a spot in the Top 50 of the world famous Tracking Board Launch Pad feature screenplay contest and was a semi-finalist at the Nashville Film Festival Feature Screenplay Contest. The feature will focus not only on aging in the gay community, but on two generations of gay men coming together – a new primary character, Colton, is a closeted high school football player who ends up forming a close bond with Gabe and seeing, first hand, the experiences of his LGBTQ fore-bearers.

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Make sure you check out the original short film before the full-length feature arrives. The Apple Tree is currently streaming on Dekkoo. It’s one of our Pride Month picks.

Pride Month Spotlight: Were the World Mine

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”

It doesn’t get better than this swoon-worthy, candy-colored musical about a high school boy who uses magic to turn many of the boys at school gay – just in time for a show-stopping production of a Shakespearean classic. Since its release, Were the World Mine has become a gay musical classic that we will return to again and again.

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Timothy (Tanner Cohen) is a gay boy stranded in a private all-boys school, which is largely obsessed with rugby. Unfortunately, there’s only one thing about rugby that catches Timothy’s interest: he’s obsessed with the super-adorable star player Jonathan (Nathaniel David Becker).

Both boys are students in Ms. Tebbit’s English class (she’s played by the delightful Wendy Robie of “Twin Peaks” and The People Under the Stairs). She’s a teacher with a mission: to excite her students with the literature of the ages. When she decides to cast these two boys as the romantic leads in her production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (and to cast boys in all of the female roles), she proves herself just as mischievous as Puck.

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The rugby Coach and townspeople are up in arms, but for Timothy, it seems like his wildest romantic fantasies may be coming true. He finds, in the script, the recipe for a potion to make people gay. With just a few spritzes from his magic pansy, the entire town (filled with Christian fundamentalists) is soon whipped into frenzy as the glorious production night approaches.

This deliciously surreal confection from co-writer/director Thomas Gustafson, based on his own 2003 short film Fairies, is a true gem. The musical numbers are over-the-top, production values first-rate and the acting is as flawless as the adorable boys on display. Even the top critics agreed back in 2008 when the film first screened. After Elton called it “absolutely breathtaking” and The New York Times said it was “movie musical magic.” It also managed to snag over twenty audience and jury awards during its initial film festival run.

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Swoon all over Were the World Mine RIGHT NOW on Dekkoo! It’s one of our treasured Pride Picks.

Pride Month Spotlight: This is What Love in Action Looks Like

Though he’s know primarily for films like Blue Citrus Hearts and his Dekkoo Original Series Feral, writer-director Morgan Jon Fox set out to make a difference with his 2011 documentary This is What Love in Action Looks Like.

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When 16-year-old Zach Stark told his parents that he was gay, they panicked, believing that something was psychologically wrong with him. They soon sent him to “Love In Action,” a religious organization that promised to “cure” homosexuality.

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Founded in 1973, Love in Action, now known as “Restoration Path” is the oldest and largest ex-gay organizations in the United States. They take the position that homosexuality is strictly behavioral and can be cured. Originally for adults, they began a program for teens, many of whom sent involuntarily.

Their draconian methods for sexual “redemption” prompted Fox, already a well-established indie filmmaker, to both become active in the ensuing protest against the group as well as document it all through interviews with several youths who had been in the program, the then current director of “Love in Action” (himself, a “former gay”) and the many young protesters who were compelled to mobilize against the organization.

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An important look at gay youth, intolerance and skewed religious beliefs, This is What Love in Action Looks Like is available on Dekkoo. It’s one of our heralded Pride Picks.