DEKKOO DISPATCH 067 – ‘BUGCRUSH’

Title – ‘Bugcrush

Director – Carter Smith

Starring – Josh Caras, Donald Cumming, Eleonore Hendricks, David Tennent

Release Date – 2006

 

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Well it’s a very dark and yet exciting day here in Dekkoo-world with the launch of Carter Smith’s award-winning short-ish film from 2006 ‘Bugcrush‘! This is absolutely, positively, my favorite short film ever – it’s disturbing, sexy, and gorgeously made. The photography, sound design, and choice of locations all come together to reach a level of perfection for my particular aesthetic interests. The short premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to win the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film! Based on his success at Sundance Carter Smith went on to direct the Summer blockbuster horror film ‘The Ruins’ and later in 2014 the intimate ghost love-triangle film ‘Jamie Marks is Dead’.

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Bugcrush‘ is set in a small town in the forest-heavy state of Maine. We meet Ben – a mousey nerd-ish loner type who happens to be the first person to talk to the dark, mysterious, and sexy new kid in school, Grant who immediately upon arrival gets an immediate detention for smoking. What does Ben do then? He gets detention on purpose so he can stare at Grant for a couple of hours. Ben’s friends try to talk him down from his obsession with Grant. They warn him that he’s just a straight guy that’ll beat him up if he knew Ben was into him. But none of this deters Ben who proceeds to work up the courage one school day to propose a hangout with Grant that leads to a very bumpy night to say the least…

The film is an adaptation of a short story by Scott Treleaven, an artist who founded the queer pagan punk ‘zine ‘This is the Salivation Army’ back in the 90’s. It was collected in the queer horror anthology ‘Queer Fear 2’ which is where Carter Smith first read it. “The moment I read the short story the very first time, it was like being hit by a bus,” Carter Smith said, waiting in a Dallas airport for a changeover flight to Salt Lake City. “I was like, ‘This is the film that I can make better than anybody else. This is the film I have to make.’ It just sort of clobbered me over the head.” Before making ‘Bugcrush‘ Carter Smith was a professional fashion photographer and commercial director. He was certainly able to bring over his keen instinct for stylization and photography to create a dark and foreboding landscape of teenage angst and sexuality.

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The film was shot on 35mm and the color timing is some of the best I’ve ever seen. Greens have a corpse-like quality to them (except when it comes to Ben’s eyes which seem to be leaping out of the screen at you) and the roads at night are a gorgeous yellow-grey color. Another part of the production that leaps out at you is the sound design. The entire film is filled with eerie moans and distorted childish voices that promote the escalating tension in everyday normal situations like school hallways. The idea to un-synchronize the sound during the driving scene at night is totally brilliant! And so was the idea to have lots of whispering voices giving you additional info about characters. Turn up your volume!!

This movie has everything! Pretty guys, teenage crushes, weird drugs, sexy smoking, metal music, awkward hidden sexuality, creepy straight guys, and cockroaches! Watch ‘Bugcrush‘ with your ‘crush’ tonight!

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Watch it with: Someone you have a dark crush on…

Mix it with: Vodka.

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New This Week – 4/13/18

This is the art for the gay film 'Frangipani'

Set in Sri Lanka, where old colonial laws permit the imprisonment of gay and lesbian people, ‘Frangipani’ tells the story of two young men and one woman entangled in a lustful – and incredibly dangerous – love triangle.

This is the art for the gay short film, 'Breath'

Twelve year old Erik goes swimming with Sofie and her dad. Sophie wants Erik as a boyfriend but he seems to pay more attention to her dad. Watch ‘ Breath’ now on Dekkoo!

This is the art for the gay series, 'Mentor'

Co-written and directed by stand-up comedian Jason Stuart, ‘Mentor’ follows a middle-aged gay Jewish man and a straight, starry-eyed kid who form a friendship while trying to make a name for themselves in the cold, hard business of Hollywood.

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Coming next week: A film about Portuguese poet Alberto Raposo Pidwell Tavares arrives on Dekkoo weeks before DVD!

 

 

DEKKOO DISPATCH 066 – ‘SHORT FILM ROUNDUP!’

Title – ‘Turn It Around

Director – Niels Bourgonje

Starring – Valentijn Avé, Tonko Bossen, Timo Dries, Faye Gunther

Release Date – 2017

Title – ‘Breath

Director – Margien Rogaar

Starring – Yannick de Waal, Moo Miero, Roeland Fernhout

Release Date – 2007

Title – ‘It Gets Better?

Director – Stephen Riscica

Starring – Gys de Villiers, Luka Fric, Samuel Ashkenazy, Adam Davenport

Release Date – 2016

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Three short films – Three snapshots of queer life at three different points in a gay man’s life. I’ve been focusing too much on features lately so this week I decided to take a glance backwards at some of the short films that have been added to Dekkoo’s catalog. I found three recent additions that speak of love at different stages in life and they’re all exquisitely crafted! I’d recommend starting from young to old. In this case from ‘Breath‘ to ‘Turn It Around‘ to ‘It Gets Better?‘.

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‘Breath’ is an heartwarming poetic coming-of-age short film from The Netherlands. Infused with a warmth you can only get from shooting on real film, ‘Breath‘ focuses its camera on 12-year old Erik. He’s fascinated by the world around him and constantly observes his surroundings with the remnants of child-like awe. His friend Sophie invites him to the beach where he meets her handsome and playful father. Clearly Sophie has a bit of a crush on Erik, but Erik has his eyes on her father. Margien Rogaar definitely has an eye for colors, occasionally flashing us with bright swatches of color reminiscent of scenes from ‘Beginners’ by Mike Mills. The whole film felt like falling into a dream for me – a dream that put me in the shoes of my childhood self and reminded me of what having a crush at that age was like.

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Ten years later in the same country Niels Bourgonje created ‘Turn It Around‘. A film set squarely in the post-‘It Gets Better’ world with the coming out process being awkward rather than difficult. In the short 15-year old Bram is attending a house party with his girl crazy friends. We can tell immediately that he’s your typical closeted gay teenager – lazily reacting to girls his friends point out as ‘hotties’. But then Bram spots Florian at the party and immediately falls for him. In the span of just ten minutes we’re witness to the beginning of a really adorable love story. If you can only watch one of these shorts make it this one! Soooo cute and heartfelt.

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Lastly we enter old age with ‘It Gets Better?‘. Getting older is something very few people (especially gay people!) want to happen to them. This feeling is programmed into us from a very young age where being attractive and youthful is prized above almost everything else. Slowly, but surely more narratives are changing that view point and ushering the values of old age corresponding to wisdom and insight into the cultural consciousness. In this short we meet an older man who’s watching an ‘It Gets Better’ video on the internet. In the video we see a teenager repeating the same monologue we’ve heard a million times before, but it’s affecting this man differently. Instead of being calmed by it he’s agitated by the teenager’s words. After drinking a heck of a lot of wine we finally hear what’s on his mind. Gys de Villiers (who is actually a pretty famous South African actor) is unbelievably compelling as the anonymous older gay man who tries to impart some of his wisdom (and melancholy) to a jaded modern culture.

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Watch it with: A friend or two!

Mix it with: A glass of white wine.

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New This Week – 4/6/18

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Ian McKellen delivers an award-winning performance as Hollywood horror director James Whale. It’s 1957, and Whale’s heyday as the director of ‘Frankenstein’, ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ and ‘The Invisible Man’ is long behind him. Retired and a semi-recluse, he lives his days accompanied only by images from his past. When a handsome young gardener (played by the beautiful Brendan Fraser) enters the picture, the pair develop an unlikely friendship. Watch ‘Gods And Monster’ now on Dekkoo!

This is the art for the gay short film, 'Turn It Around'

When the fifteen year old Bram meets Florian at a house party, he immediately falls for him. There’s only one problem: nobody knows Bram is gay. Watch ‘Turn It Around’ now on Dekkoo!

This is the art for the gay movie, 'Finding Neighbors'

A successful stay-at-home graphic novelist, has hit a mid-life and creative crisis. When his wife begins to suspect an affair she is surprised to learn he’s spending all of his time with his gay neighbor. ‘Finding Neighbors’ is now available to stream on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: A gay story from Sri Lanka, where being gay is illegal.

New This Week – 3/30/18

This is the art for the gay horror movie, 'Alpha Delta Zatan'

In a frat house where no one can be trusted, a new brother becomes the target of a masked killer. This over the top horror flick is chock full of hot guys in their skivvies! Stream ‘Alpha Delta Zatan’ on Dekkoo!

This is the art for the gay short film, 'It Gets Better?'

After drinking heavily and getting stuck in a YouTube hole of “It Gets Better” videos, a man reflects on his life and decides to tell his own story. Watch the Dekkoo Films short ‘It Gets Better?’ now on Dekkoo!

This is the art for the gay documentary '108'

In her powerful documentary, which unfolds like a mystery novel, a young woman investigates the shadowy circumstances of her Uncles death. Watch ‘108’ now on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: Sir Ian McKellen delivers a riveting, award-winning performance as gay Hollywood horror director James Whale.

New This Week – 3/16/18

This is the art for the gay film, 'Beyond the Walls'

Two young men – one a needy and lost man-boy, the other a guarded but lonely bartender – embark on a fun, intense relationship only to see it threatened when one is imprisoned for drug possession. ‘Beyond the Walls’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!

This is the art for the gay short film, 'The Surf Report'

A ghostly love story unfolds as two men look for answers where ocean meets sky and city meets wild in Rockaway Beach, NY. Watch ‘The Surf Report’ now on Dekkoo!

This is the art for the gay film, 'Mulligans'

Chase has not confessed to his best college buddy Tyler that he is gay. When Tyler bring him home for the summer to hang out with his family, things get even worse. Chase finds a that he and Tyler’s dad Nathan have a strong attraction to one another. Soon, they’re left alone together and a shocking family secret develops. Watch ‘Mulligans’ now on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: A wonderful documentary that explores the theme of historical memory in post-Franco Spain, focusing on the unknown story of LGBT repression under “Franquismo”.