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.

New To Dekkoo – 5/3/19

At the suggestion of a straight friend, gay man Leo joins a men’s group, where he causes some upsets by declaring his attraction to one of its members. Watch ‘Bedrooms & Hallways’ now on Dekkoo!

A couple on the verge of separation explore the fear of being single. The gay short film ‘Circles’ is now available on Dekkoo!

This colorful and sexy feel-good musical comedy follows Paul and Eddie, two hot young actors staring in a stage play that adds a healthy dose of homo-eroticism to the story of Genesis. As the two young performers dive deeper into their roles, their love lives start to mirror the themes they’re dealing with in the play. Watch ‘The Big Gay Musical’ now on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: Required viewing for anyone who believes in equal rights for all. – The Apollo Guide

New This Week – 4/26/19

When Josef arrives at John’s apartment for a date, their prickly energy slowly gives way to genuine chemistry. But after swallowing a pill with mind-bending effects, Josef quickly slides helplessly down a rabbit hole of temporal sleight-of-hand, plunged into a surreal interrogation of everything he is. ‘The Skin of the Teeth’ is streaming exclusively on Dekkoo!

Avery D. Wilson is a confident and conscientious pillar of his community…but it wasn’t always that way. In this powerful short doc, Wilson reflects on his troubled childhood, reckoning with the conflicts between sexuality, faith and family and growing up to become “Mr. United States.” Stream the gay short, ‘Mr. United States’ now on Dekkoo!

Upon the death of his mother, a gay man in blue collar America returns to his childhood home. There he discovers a cardboard time machine that he made when he was a boy. As he uses it to get glimpses of his future, he ponders the weight of his life’s choices. Dekkoo Films is proud to present ‘How to Get From Here to There’ streaming now, only on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: “Seldom has blasphemy been so entertaining…” – Variety

Short Film Spotlight: Writhing

“I’ve been putting it off for so long, it’s almost funny how easy that was.”

“Yeah, I know, right? You think in the back of your head it’s gonna be this intense thing and it’s literally like 15 seconds.”

“Nobody tells you that.”

Elizabeth B. Bates and Reed Alvarado in Writhing

Part work of ethereal realism, part dance film, the twelve-minute short Writhing follows a young man facing the probability of a positive HIV diagnosis. Writer-director Robert John Torres (who also co-stars as a supportive clinic counselor) takes us through the process. While the film doesn’t provide any easy answers, it does offer a great deal of compassion.

Everett (Reed Alvarado), a young gay man, is “pretty certain” that he has contracted HIV. However, he has been mentally and emotionally unwilling to bring himself in for testing. Finally working up the courage, he confesses his fear to a friend (Elizabeth B. Bates). He wants to go alone, finally ready to face the truth.

Reed Alvarado in Writhing

Torres has a wide variety of visual tricks up his sleeve, perfectly deployed the convey Everett’s uneasy emotions. Vape smoke frequently crowds the frame, standing as a metaphor for the lead character’s hazy uncertainty. There’s also a man (Keanu Uchida), credited as “humanoid figure” who gives meaning to the film’s title. Clad in a leather harness with pink skin, he dances, contorts and literally writhes on Everett’s bed in a perpetual state of unrest. His presence creates a strange juxtaposition with the seemingly ordinary West Coast suburban neighborhood we see out the window.

Clearly, not everything is alright with Everett at this moment… but it will be again (regardless of the results of his test).

Keanu Uchida in Writhing

Writhing is now available to stream on Dekkoo.

Writhing - Original Poster Artwork

 

New This Week – 4/19/19

This third and final film of the Falls trilogy revisits former Mormon missionaries Chris and RJ, six years after they first fell in love and were disciplined for it, as they formulate a plan to be together at long last. Stream ‘The Falls: Covenant of Grace’ now on Dekkoo!

Dekkoo Films presents a short film that is one part work of ethereal realism and one part dance film. This contemporary-set film follows a young man facing the probability of an HIV+ diagnosis. ‘Writhing’ is available now to stream on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: After his date takes a shocking turn, a man is plunged into a surreal interrogation of just who and what he is.

New This Week – 4/12/19

After being dumped, Drake takes out his pain on a tight group of gay friends through temptation and deceit, will he succeed in destroying their lives? Watch ‘Whirlwind’ now available on Dekkoo!

Rachel is a young aspiring transgender woman. After a series of coincidental encounters with a handsome man, she impulsively takes a chance on a one night stand. ‘Almost Saw the Sunshine’ is now available on Dekkoo.

What does it truly feel like to be lonely? A young man ravished, worn and depleted embarks on a journey through his own mind, revisiting a summer romance and the ghost of a past love. Stream ‘Caught In a Landslide’ now on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: A lonely young gay man joins a self-help group after a friend urges him to improve his social life.

Q&A with Julio Dowansingh, the Creator of Louder Than Words

Louder Than Words, written and directed by Julio Dowansingh and available now for streaming on Dekkoo, is a short coming-of-age film that beautifully weaves music and dance into the intersection where budding queer romance and what it means to be deaf meet. The film follows Niall (played by Marty Lauter) – a queer, deaf dancer – as he develops feelings for Ansel (Luke Farley) during their time sharing a rehearsal space. The two leads are supported by actress Apryl Wilson in the role of Kenya who serves as a link between the boys when a romantic gesture isn’t received well and Ansel has to consider the possibility that he might not be straight. I sat down with Dowansingh to discuss queerness, deafness, and the making of Louder Than Words.

Marty Lauter and Luke Farley in Louder Than Words

Julio, tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Julio Dowansingh, and I’m the director of Louder than Words. I was born in London, raised in Jamaica, and then later moved to Boston to study film. It was there that I discovered that I was good at creating a visual connection with people through film. Louder Than Words is the first big project that I’ve brought to fruition from just a story in my head to what you see on-screen. It’s definitely my baby.

What was your main source of inspiration for the events that take place in the film?

Dancers and musicians both rely on sound, and I’ve always had a curiosity as both a writer and a person about whether or not deaf people experience those things in the same way we do. As it turns out, they do. They react to the vibrations. And I was like, “Wow, this is so interesting. This should be in a story.” I also wanted to create a positive representation that deaf and queer people could engage with and enjoy.

Where do you get your creative ideas from?

I draw a lot of my inspiration from music which is such a big part of this film and my life. I wanted to create an original song for the project, so I reached out to a bunch of really talented composers so we could get the vibe just right. Luke is also a musician so it was cool to all sit in a room and throw out ideas. I grew up on country music, so I think a lot of those influences leaked through especially in regards to the rural Massachusetts setting.

Marty Lauter and Luke Farley in Louder Than Words

At the very beginning of the film, we first see Niall dance before realizing that he’s deaf. Was that a deliberate choice?

I wanted to introduce the character in his element before revealing that he was deaf. People are oftentimes shocked when they see a performance and then find out afterward that the person is hearing impaired. The truth is that the Deaf community can do all the things we can do and there’s really nothing that separates us aside from their ability to hear. That first scene is a nice moment where the audience gets to realize this firsthand.

Is Niall’s crush on Ansel his first queer experience?

It’s not his first queer experience, but this time definitely feels more real. He feels that there’s a connection there and decides to put a little bit more effort into the relationship to see where it could go.

How did you approach taking on a deaf character in your film?

When I started this project, I wanted to provide the Deaf community with positive representation. Because I wasn’t a part of that community myself, I wanted to make sure that everything was accurate. Except for a few hearing-impaired family members, I didn’t know much about the Deaf community, so I wanted to learn as much as I could. Luckily, I have two close friends with experience in that regard. One is deaf and the other is very fluent in ASL (American Sign Language), and I had them look over the script to get their feedback which was extremely helpful. I also learned sign language myself by taking a couple of courses.

Marty Lauter in Louder Than Words

Did you have any specific instructions for Marty Lauter, the actor who played Niall?

Marty basically had a week and a half to get everything down, but he picked it all up really quickly. He understood the character and was perfect for the role which required a heavy emphasis on visual communication. Thankfully, he was a genius with the ASL, the dancing, and the acting.

Ansel’s character seems to be an outsider. What do you think drew him to befriend Kenya and Niall beyond the scope of just using their rehearsal space?

In the first scene, the character comes off as a little abrasive. When Kenya gives him some attitude back, he realizes he needs to reconnect to let them know that there’s more to him. Their first impression of him wasn’t so great so he decides to put his best foot forward by apologizing to not seem so standoffish since they’re going to be sharing a rehearsal space.

Towards the beginning of the film, Ansel seems very interested in Niall’s deafness and then goes on to fix the chain on Niall’s bike and even tries his hand at dancing. What do you feel are the motives driving those interests?

Throughout the film, Ansel sees Kenya and Niall being so comfortable in themselves, and he becomes more open as he gets to know them more. He also feeds off of the interest that Niall is showing in him even if he doesn’t necessarily understand why at the time. All he knows is that Niall experiences everything a little bit differently than he does which intrigues him.

Luke Farley in Louder Than Words

The kiss at the very end of the film lends itself to being open-ended. What were the choices behind this ambiguity?

My goal was to have the audience in this place where they didn’t really know where Ansel stood because that’s where he was in his own head, too. He was confused but definitely interested even if it wasn’t in an overt way.

What do you think modern-day LGBTQ youth will gain from seeing this film and why is it important to show these kinds of stories on screen?

Hopefully, they’ll gain more understanding about deaf and bisexual people because we don’t see a lot of that on screen. After the film was released, I got fan letters from some queer deaf people telling me how deeply they connected with the film which was one of my goals. I was so nervous just to hear their feedback, but it was really well received. They said it was so good to see someone like themselves on the screen. I made this film for those people, and the fact that they related to these characters was more than I could ever ask for.

What would 15-year-old Julio say about seeing something like Louder than Words on screen?

I remember watching these short, queer films that had these sad,  depressing endings. My driving force in creating Louder Than Words was to create a positive narrative that people in the Deaf and queer community could watch and feel good about themselves.

Marty Lauter in Louder Than Words

Any plans for Louder than Words in the future?

The film has had a pretty good run so far. In addition to having been in a few festivals from Barcelona to China, it is a semi-finalist for the jellyFEST Film Festival in LA this summer which I’m so excited for. I also think that it could easily be adapted into a series or a feature-length film.

What’s it like to have your film featured on Dekkoo?

Right away, I knew that I wanted to be apart of Dekkoo because the platform helps my film reach the audience it’s meant for.

Are you currently working on any more exciting films or other creative projects?

I’ve been working on a lot of music videos with artists lately. I’m also currently writing a feature-length script that’s in its early stages. I would like to continue incorporating deaf and queer characters to reflect what we don’t often see on screen. Their experiences can be vastly different from our own yet their stories need to be told.

Marty Lauter and Luke Farley in Louder Than Words

You can watch Louder Than Words on Dekkoo today, available now!