I Always Said Yes: The Many Lives of Wakefield Poole celebrates a queer filmmaking pioneer

I Always Said Yes: The Many Lives of Wakefield Poole tells the story of a sometimes-overlooked gay liberation and independent filmmaking pioneer.

In late 1971, Wakefield Poole, a respected Broadway dancer and choreographer, had the audacity to put his real name above the title of his first film, a low- budget, hardcore gay erotic feature called Boys in the Sand. And to make sure everyone knew about it, Poole advertised the film in the New York Times, creating a sensation.

In an era when anyone making, promoting, or appearing in what the US government considered “pornography” could be liable for prosecution and jail time, Poole was a remarkably open and honest gay filmmaker. He became internationally famous and his movies screened for years as examples that films could be artistic as well as sexually explicit.

Director/Producer Jim Tushinski continues the exploration of art and sexuality he began in That Man: Peter Berlin, but this time around, the main character is not a cool, untouchable icon. Poole, now in his 80s, tells his own story, that of an outspoken and articulate artist in a turbulent, passionate time. He didn’t think of himself as a pornographer. He was a filmmaker who used his dance and theater background to create beautiful, erotic art films that “challenged the mind.”

To many, though, Poole just made dirty movies. But Poole was so much more than a filmmaker and his amazing life story leads him through twists and turns, triumphs and tragedies, and a number of remarkable reinventions.

Watch the trailer for I Always Said Yes: The Many Lives of Wakefield Poole below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.