From first-time filmmaker Cati Gonzalez, Ekaj is a gritty indie film that delves deep into the triumphs and torments of a gay teenage street hustler with an unflinching authenticity.
Ekaj, played by Jake Mestre, is a confused young teen living on the streets of New York City – trying to find his place personally, socially and sexually. His life begins to change when he meets Mecca, played by New York City-based artist Badd Idea.
A cynical hustler who is dying of AIDS, the older Mecca takes Ekaj under his wing. Ekaj starts taking on sex work, hoping to become the lover of a rich man and be taken care of for life. When he starts up a romance with an abusive painter named Johnny, his day-to-day existence goes from bad to worse.
Having earned acclaim at over 35 film festivals around the globe, Ekaj examines the turbulent lives of LGBTQ youth, specifically those who have been kicked out of their own homes. The film articulately depicts what it means to be gender-queer and struggling in the fast-paced landscape of New York.