New This Week – 7/12/19

Two men encounter each other on a dangerous gay cruising park trail, and quickly find themselves caught up in a deadly game of cat and mouse. ‘Devil’s Path’ is streaming now on Dekkoo!

New from Dekkoo Films! When a college student goes to his first hook-up with a mysterious older man, he must determine if his anxieties point to a darker truth about his host for the night. ‘Fish Tank’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!

‘William, the New Judo Master’ portrays the universe of an eternal being that exists within a life cycle filled with disappointments and hopelessness. It’s the chronicle about the search for love and the fight against oblivion. Stream ‘William, The New Judo Master’ now on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: A romantic comedy about the intersection of imagination and anxiety, and the courage to reach for love.

New This Week – 7/5/19

A DEKKOO EXCLUSIVE!

When Martin arrives in Paris to reconnect with his first love Lea, he is forced to accept that their relationship is over. But when Martin sets out to rebuild his life with dreams of being a film director he suddenly falls in love with another man. ‘Love Blooms’ is a poignant, sensitive look at young love and the struggle to become an adult. ‘Love Blooms’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!

Love and Sebastian meet by coincidence in the street on the Swedish summer night. They happen to share the same secret, but their encounter will have severe consequences for them both. Stream ‘My Name is Love’ now only on Dekkoo!

Tired of the religious zealotry and anti-gay bigotry in their Texas town, sisters Latrell, LaVonda, and Aunt Sissy decide to protest an “Anti-Equality Rally” which aims to forbid any same sex weddings in their county. ‘A Very Sordid Wedding’ is available to stream on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: “Writer-director Matthew Montgomery and his co-writer Stephen Twardokus have found fruitful dramatic ground between the nervous excitement of cruising and the danger of venturing deep into the woods.” – The Los Angeles Times

Short Film Spotlight: Walk for Me

Set in present day New York City, the new twelve-minute short film Walk for Me is a contemporary coming out story that packs an emotional punch.

A conflicted teenager (newcomer Aaliyah King) is torn between their devotion to their mother and their desire to be their authentic self.

When their mother (“The Chi” and “The Get Down” star Yolanda Ross) finds women’s underwear and a flyer to a Gay Ball in their bedroom, she decides to track down her child and confront them. Arriving at the ball, the mother is shocked to find that her child has been taken under the wing of an adoptive Ball mother, Paris Continental (Brenda Holder), and assumed the identity of Hanna.

The mother is confronted by a choice: deny her child or accept her for who she really is.

Winner of the 2017 Mexico International Film Festival Gold Palm Award, Walk for Me has earned stellar reviews. Emilie Friedlander of Thump said “Walk For Me isn’t just a ballroom story. It’s also a story about motherhood, and the complexities of family life for queer teens like Hanna. Through a delicate choreography of loaded glances and small hand gestures, it captures Hanna’s struggle for acceptance from her biological mother, as well as her discovery of a second support system.”

In Shadow and Act, writer Aramide A. Tinubu said “Director Elegance Bratton highlights one of the most pivotal moments in a young trans person’s life… It is the exact instant that will either lead to final rejection or acceptance from her mother.”

Walk for Me is now available on Dekkoo.

New This Week – 6/20/19

A masked madman stalks a gay porn set in 1979 Paris while its producer Anne, (French pop star Vanessa Paradis) tries to win back her editor and lover Lois by shooting her most ambitious film yet with her trusted, flaming sidekick Archibald. Shot in 35mm and featuring a killer retro score from M83, KNIFE+HEART is an ultra-stylish and blood-soaked ode to ’70s-era De Palma, Argento, and Friedkin. Watch ‘KNIFE+HEART’ now on Dekkoo!

Pour yourself a milkshake and experience the magic, music, and mirth of the all-time favorite camp-tastic classic: ‘Can’t Stop the Music!’ This (highly fictionalized) story depicting the creation of disco icons The Village People provides the framework for an outrageous musical extravaganza as only producer Allan Carr (Grease, Grease 2) could deliver. Stream ‘Can’t Stop the Music’ now on Dekkoo!

A chance meeting changing attitudes and lives. With a hint of Woody Allen in style and feel. A simple story of 2 strangers brought together by a dog. It delves into the ideas of solitude and loneliness and how a simple human act of kindness can instill hope. ‘The Definition of Lonely’ is available now on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: The second season of ‘Woke’!

New This Week – 6/14/19

In this Dekkoo-original short, Ryan meets Nathan and they fall in love over the course of their first date. It’s only later, as their relationship progresses, that Ryan starts to wonder: is my boyfriend who I thought he was? Am I who I thought I was? They experience joy and pain together, trying to overcome the painful fear of whether or not you can truly know another person. Watch ‘Faces’ now on Dekkoo!

Set in Mumbai, India, this romantic drama is a contemporary take on the life and relationships of a single professional gay man – his understanding of his identity, missed opportunities, and personal choices. ‘Avsar’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!

An actor unlucky in work, money and love goes back home to the deep south to help out during a family crisis and is inspired to find his true voice as his mother is finally finding hers. Stream ‘Counting for Thunder’ now on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: “Its neon drenched mix of slasher, fantasy and 70s porn delivers all the trimmings needed for a cult audience” – Scream Queens

Q&A with the Creator of Faces: Ben Empey

Isn’t it scary how you can date someone, break up, and then realize that you never really knew who they were? Faces is a Dekkoo-original short film that dives into this topic as the protagonist, Ryan, embarks on the emotional journey of dating Nathan. As is the case with many relationships, things start off great. But how well does Ryan really know Frank? I sat down with the writer and director of Faces, Ben Empey, to talk about the making of the film.

Christopher Charles Baker and Matt Pascua in Faces

Tell us about yourself.

I’m Ben Empey. I grew up in Santa Rosa, California, about an hour north of San Francisco. I went to film school at the University of Southern California, graduated in 2011, and have made a couple of short films since graduating. But before Faces, I hadn’t been behind a camera in six years. I was on a journey getting to know myself and my voice.

What was your main source of inspiration for the film?

The name for Faces comes from the 1968 film of the same name directed by one of my favorite filmmakers, John Cassavetes. His movies are all about authenticity, and it was between his third and fourth films that he decided to stop kowtowing to the studios. So, he made the movie with his own money in his own house with a circle of friends as the cast and crew. I am so inspired by his methodology, and I wanted to honor him.

What can you tell us about the narrative of the film?

It was really important to not clearly delineate what is real and what is in Ryan’s mind because it’s all real in terms of Ryan’s emotional journey. It doesn’t matter what his literal experience was because the narrative is honest to Ryan’s perception of how his relationship progressed.

Christopher Charles Baker and Matt Pascua in Faces

What has your personal experience with dating been like and how has that influenced Faces?

I see myself in both characters. I’ve never really been in a relationship for longer than a couple months, and that’s where Ryan is at the beginning of the film. I’m also like Nathan in that I am emotionally stunted, have issues with vulnerability, and push people away. I find that I chase unattainable men because I know I will never have to be vulnerable with them. I think that some gay men tend to project this armor to protect themselves, and everyone does it a different way. I tell jokes rapid-fire and don’t date men who might actually ask me to open up. I also insulate myself so I don’t have to do the real-relationship thing. Nathan does this too by presenting a glossy version of himself in the first half of the movie, and as that facade breaks down, Ryan gets to know the real Nathan. Michael Benjamin (Nathan 2) is a good friend of mine, and I wanted him to play the part because he projects such warmth and honesty. That gives the character an extra dimension and shows that he’s not a villain. He’s trying his best but is maybe just messed up emotionally from a past relationship. And now, he’s hurting Ryan unintentionally. That will probably fundamentally change Ryan which might lead to him unintentionally hurting his next boyfriend.

When working on Faces, did you have specific directions for the actor playing Ryan (Matt Pascua) when acting in a scene with Nathan 1 vs. Nathan 2?

I really just let the casting do the directing for me. I believe you never want to tell an actor to not feel what they’re really feeling. I don’t think it’s my job to dictate what an emotion is supposed to look like. So, I just let them go. There’s nothing better than watching an actor do something that isn’t how you initially imagined it, but it’s totally dead on. That’s why they’re actors, and I’m not!

What do you think the Nathans meant to Ryan?

Nathan is essentially Ryan’s first love. He’s never had a real boyfriend before and is ready to go all in. The relationship is no doubt going to leave an indelible mark on him.

Habits and falling back into old routines seem to be a major theme in this film. If you could scream something at Ryan through the screen—a warning, a piece of advice, a criticism, etc.—what would it be?

I wouldn’t yell anything at Ryan, because if he guards himself, he’d just turn into Nathan. I wanted him to have this experience and be able to move on to his next relationship knowing that there is no perfect relationship, but he should still be open and dive as his true self. It sucks, but sometimes you have to learn the hard way.

Christopher Charles Baker and Matt Pascua in Faces

What do you think queer viewers will gain from this film?

I’m not interested in watching queer stories where the fact that they’re queer is beside the point. Why can’t we have a major superhero movie where there is a solid romance about two same-sex characters? We get a lot of characters that are flawless models or progressive liberal fantasies. But that’s not human. It’s not real, and it doesn’t interest me. We all have parts of our personalities that we wish weren’t on display, and that’s exactly what I think we should be displaying.

What would 15-year-old Ben say about seeing something like Faces on screen?

15-year-old Ben was so deep in the closet, he probably wouldn’t have watched this film! Haha. But maybe at 17, I would have been incredibly excited to see a well-rounded gay story. I was 17 when Brokeback Mountain came out. It was very important to me to have this gay romance exist at the highest level of studio filmmaking. I wasn’t out then, but looking back, I can see it was hitting me on a subconscious level. It validated my existence in the cinematic world. Film has always been a big passion of mine, and seeing queer stories on screen helped me accept that I was gay. I can’t imagine who I would be if I’d had even more stories or the access to queer content that teens today have because of the internet. Now, you can look up listicles of classic queer cinema and find the movies online. I love it.

What’s the main message you’d like your audience to walk away with after seeing your film?

It all comes back to Papa Cassavetes: be authentic. When you aren’t authentic with other people, getting hurt is inevitable. It’s not sustainable. And part of authenticity is vulnerability. So, reveal yourself! It’s gonna hurt sometimes, but it’s worth it.

Christopher Charles Baker and Matt Pascua in Faces

How does it feel to have Faces featured on Dekkoo?

I’m so thrilled to have Faces on such a cool platform. I remember Dekkoo was featured in Film Comment about a year ago, and I thought, “Damn. One of the best film magazines in the world is devoting space to an all LGBT streaming site. That’s so exciting.” This is the first instance of my work being distributed, and to have it be on an LGBT streaming platform is amazing.

What are your future plans?

I’m trying to get my first feature as a director financed which is an uphill battle. It’s probably clear after viewing Faces that what I’m writing isn’t exactly what you’d consider “commercial.” I like to play with form in everything I do. I’m a bit of a tough sell, but that’s okay. I’m also writing a couple of other things as well that I’m really excited about—all queer in some way. The straights have enough.

Where can we find you online?

You can find me on twitter @realtoddhaynes. I am also a co-host on a podcast called movies imo where we pick a new release and discuss it in combination with some other films. You can find it on the podcatcher of your choice.

Christopher Charles Baker and Matt Pascua in Faces

You can watch Faces right now, available for streaming on Dekkoo!

New This Week – 6/7/19

A surprise federal court ruling in 2013 legalized gay marriage for Utah – triggering a fierce battle in a state where Mormon church values control the Legislature and every aspect of public life. ‘Church & State’ is available to stream now as part of our 2019 Pride Celebration.

Hassan Kendricks is a conflicted teenager torn between his devotion to his single mother and his desire to be himself. When his mother, Andrea, finds women’s underwear and a flyer to a Gay Ball in her son’s bedroom, she decides to track Hassan down and confront him about his decisions. Stream the gay short “Walk For Me’ now on Dekkoo.

In the first Australian feature film to showcase Auslan (Australian sign language) a sensitive writer grapples with a speech impediment as his profoundly deaf boyfriend provides strategies to restore his confidence. Watch ‘A Silent Agreement’ now playing on Dekkoo.

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Coming next week: Dekkoo Films presents ‘Faces’.