Short Film Spotlight: Jesse

Jesse (Mercedes Torres) is s mixed-race transgender teen, arrives from Switzerland for a cross-country road trip with her estranged father Marcus (Stephen Hill).

As Marcus struggles to understand his daughter, and Jesse finds her deep desire to be understood, accepted and loved by him growing. This leads the two to strike up an unusual and weighty agreement, one with serious repercussions for their relationship and their trip.

Written and directed by Swiss filmmaker Vinz Feller, Jesse won the Bronze Award for Best LGBTQ Short at the Independent Shorts Awards. The film was also chosen as an Official Selection at both the LA Queer Film Fest and OutFest Los Angeles.

Watch the trailer for Jesse below. The full 15-minute short film is available now on Dekkoo.

New This Week – 6/11/21

Jacques is an older writer from Paris. Arthur is a young student in Rennes. They instantly fall in love. But they’ll have to face rejection and sickness to keep it that way. ‘Sorry Angel’ is available to watch now on Dekkoo!

Produced in 1967, this amazing 22-minute short film introduces us to four transwomen who are subjected to a six-month psychological project and then grilled about their personal lives. This unique exploitation documentary offers a rare and provocative glimpse into pre-Stonewall queer life. ‘Queens At Heart’ is available now on Dekkoo!

Don’t miss: LGBT Film Archivist and Historian Jenni Olson on Queens at Heart

Knowing your queer history is essential, and the award-winning ‘When The Beat Drops’ offers an immersive deep-dive inside the growing culture of bucking—an energetic, hyper-athletic, dance phenomenon cultivated by queer people of color in the Deep South. Watch ‘When the Beat Drops’ on Dekkoo!

Jesse, a mixed race transgender teen, arrives from Switzerland for a cross-country road trip with her estranged father Marcus. They strike a weighty deal, one with serious repercussions for their relationship and their trip. ‘Jesse’ is now playing on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: Arturo and Alessandro have been a couple for 15 years. When their friend leaves her children in their care, their tired routine is turned upside down.

LGBT Film Archivist and Historian Jenni Olson on Queens at Heart

For contemporary LGBT viewers, Queens at Heart offers a vivid and compelling lens on how far we have come as a movement while also giving a deep (and wildly entertaining) understanding of what it was like to be transgender at a very different time in history. There are very few filmed images by or about LGBT people before the Stonewall Riots of 1969. There were especially few portrayals of trans lives and experience in this era. The two other films that come to mind from this period are: the remarkable feature documentary, The Queen (1968) and the short documentary portrait of an African American trans woman, Behind Every Good Man (1967). (While the 1970 dramatic feature, The Christine Jorgenson Story is at least somewhat well intended, it primarily comes across as lurid and sensationalist.)

Produced in New York City in 1967, this amazing 22-minute short introduces us to Misty, Vicky, Sonya and Simone — four courageous trans women who candidly discuss their personal lives with a lurid male interviewer who claims to have spoken to “thousands of homosexuals” (and who clearly doesn’t understand the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity). The film offers an extremely rare and poignant glimpse into pre-Stonewall queer life as it takes us to a New York City drag ball and follows the women through their daily lives. They talk about their double-lives — going out as women at night but living as men during the day, and about how they take hormones and dream of “going for a change.” One talks about avoiding the draft, another about her fiancé and another about the torment of childhood as an effeminate youth.

“We know that homosexuality is a psychological aberration that should be treated,” proclaims the interviewer as the film ends. Shifting to a surprisingly sympathetic tone he then concludes with the provocative challenge, “but what about those who don’t want to change? Who are we to judge?” This flip-flop perfectly encapsulates the film’s schizophrenic combination of attitudes as it alternates between luridness and validation, judgment and empathy.

Of course it is extremely significant for us to be able to look back and see this rare portrait of four wonderful trans women being so candid and courageous in the years before Stonewall. Queens at Heart is especially remarkable for how candid and brave the women are in expressing themselves so vulnerably when we can tell that the film was produced more as an exploitation film than as a serious documentary.

As a film historian and archivist I’ve unearthed many films over the years. Queens at Heart is the most significant on every level. It is a film that had been essentially lost to us — with nothing having previously been written about it in LGBT film literature. As a glimpse at pre-Stonewall queer life it is remarkable: from the wonderful footage of the drag balls and gay men dancing together to the provocative interviews with transgender women which are truly jaw-dropping in their candor. The power of this film for bringing us face to face with our forebears (and queer life in 1967) is absolutely incredible, and the film is of even greater interest in this era of increased trans awareness and activism.

Queens at Heart is a tremendously valuable archival portrait of pre-Stonewall trans women — their candor and courage are a true gift and this is a must-see film for anyone interested in transgender history.

About Jenni Olson:
Jenni Olson is an LGBT film historian, archivist and filmmaker based in Berkeley, California. Her work as a film historian includes the Lambda Award nominated The Queer Movie Poster Book (Chronicle Books, 2005) and her many vintage movie trailer presentations (Homo Promo, Trailer Camp, etc.). She is on the Advisory Board of the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project for LGBT Moving Image Preservation.

Now Available: Romeos

How do you love someone if you don’t show who you are?

Twenty-year old Lukas (Rick Okon) is a prisoner in his own body. As a pre-op trans person, he is constantly finding himself trapped in uncomfortable, compromising positions.

His best friend, Ine (Liv Lisa Fries) introduces him to the gay scene in Cologne where he meets the confident and gorgeous, Fabio (Max Befort). The two develop a romantic relationship that tests the boundaries of love.

Originally released in 2011, this critically-acclaimed debut feature from German writer-director Sabine Bernardi forgoes stereotypes and conventions to offer an honest and humorous examination of the most basic of human conditions: friendship, sex, and love.

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

Take a trip through Queer Japan from the comfort of your own home

In this new documentary, trailblazing artists, activists, and everyday people from across the spectrum of gender and sexuality defy social norms and dare to shine in this kaleidoscopic view of LGBTQ+ culture in contemporary Japan.

From glossy pride parades to playfully perverse underground parties, Queer Japan pictures people living brazenly unconventional lives in the sunlight, the shadows, and everywhere in between.

Dazzling, iconoclastic drag queen Vivienne Sato peels back the layers of language and identity. Maverick manga artist Gengoroh Tagame tours the world with his unapologetically erotic gay comics. Councilwoman Aya Kamikawa recounts her rocky path to becoming the first transgender elected official in Japan. At the legendary kink-positive hentai party Department H, non-binary performance artist Saeborg uses rubber to create a second skin.

Culled from 100+ interviews conducted over three years in locations across the entire country, Queer Japan features dozens of individuals sharing their experiences in their own words. Get to know a vibrant and inspiring group of human beings in a country with a unique history of queer expression.

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

New This Week – 5/14/21

Lukas is a prisoner in his own body. As a pre-op transgendered person, he is constantly finding himself trapped in uncomfortable, compromising positions. His best friend, Ine introduces him to the gay scene in Cologne where he meets the confident and gorgeous, Fabio. ‘Romeos’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!

When a happily married couple go on a routine staycation, the wife demonstrates that she knows her husband better than he knows himself. ‘More Than He Knows’ is available now on Dekkoo!

Trailblazing artists, activists, and everyday people from across the spectrum of gender and sexuality defy social norms and dare to live unconventional lives in this kaleidoscopic view of LGBTQ+ culture in contemporary Japan. Stream ‘Queer Japan’ now on Dekkoo!

Leo had never imagined he would see his Dad kissing another man in the middle of a party – Until it happened. Now, with the help of Carol, his best friend, he has to find the most perfect way to tell his Dad that he found out about his secret. Watch ‘After That Party’ now on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week – A prodigal son and a Syrian refugee are thrown together in the Finnish countryside in this spare, intense gay romance. – Variety

New This Week – 4/2/21

After the death of his father and end of his marriage Eric becomes restless and rudderless. When and old friend comes to town looking to reconnect with Eric the two must navigate unresolved issues of the past and uncertainties of the future. ‘Drawn Back Home’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!

Dekkoo Films presents ‘The Big Snore’. In this short film a light sleeper struggles one night to get some rest amid his man’s loud snores.

‘Little Miss Westie’ chronicles a year in the life of two transgender siblings as they navigate puberty, a local beauty pageant, and transitioning in the Trump era. Watch ‘Little Miss Westie’ now on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: A recovering alcoholic returns to his hometown after a hiatus, and falls in love with a man who will turn his world upside down.

New This Week – 3/26/21

While shooting a film in a small town, a famous actor puts his personal life and career in jeopardy by starting an intense affair with another man. ‘I Am Syd Stone’ is available now on Dekkoo!

This screwball comedy follows a young couple who discover a secret room filled with cash while house-sitting for celebrity friends who die mysteriously while overseas. Stream ‘Such Good People’ now on Dekkoo!

France meets her son’s girlfriend for the first time. She loses control. ‘Calamity’ is available now on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: A film about the lengths people go to find love, friendship, and a place to call home.

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.

 

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.