DEKKOO DISPATCH 071 – ‘PAPER BOYS’

Title – ‘Paper Boys

Director – Curtis Casella

Starring – Kyle Cabral, Nathan Brown, Kai Liu, Sarah Elizabeth

Release Date – 2018

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Hey Dekkoo’ers! It’s almost June which means the shirts are about to come off! Although technically here on Dekkoo we almost always have guys with their shirts off and you don’t have to leave your couch to stare at them. Today on the dispatch we’re very excited to feature the newest member of the Dekkoo Original Series family: ‘Paper Boys‘!!! Wooooo!! It’s always super exciting for us to show off new talent and rising star Curtis Casella who directed all 6 episodes of this new series that takes a close look at a young creative gay man and his immersion into a new life in San Francisco.

This is the cover image of Paper Boys the gay series

Cole is your typical creative type. Shy, cute, and looking for love. For circumstances we’re unaware of (maybe something to explore in season 2?) Cole decides to use the excuse of an engagement party in San Francisco of his best friend to actually move to San Francisco. He’s a cartoonist and even before he gets to say hi to his hunky best friend who he’s staying with he’s already pounding the pavement to look for a job. Daren, the hunky best friend seems to have it all. A nice apartment in expensive San Francisco, a tech job, and an adorable wife-to-be named Rebecca. Everything seems to be going great until Daren confides to Cole that the engagement is actually something he doesn’t really want to happen. Everything so far has seemed pretty typical right? Well here’s the twist: Daren finds an old sketchbook of Cole’s and gives it to him and once Cole starts drawing in it he discovers that everything he draws happens in real life!!

I blew through all 6 episodes in two sittings and thought it was a really touching tale of a shy gay boy just trying to figure out this new stage in his life while at the same time trying to support his best friend that he obviously harbors some feelings for. The plot twist was a super cute addition to the ‘drama’ that naturally occurs in their every day lives. The diversity of the cast was refreshing and the setting of San Francisco was used even better than it was in ‘Looking’ I thought.

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The director sat down with OUT Magazine for an interview and had some really great remarks about race, gay relationships, and queer content:

Tell us about the reasoning and importance behind showcasing a gay-straight male friendship? You often don’t see this story in media.

CC: The gay-straight friendship is somewhat autobiographical for both Kyle and me. Both of us have really close friends who are straight, and we felt like it was something we didn’t see often enough in gay media. It’s really interesting to see the vast differences in life experience between gay men and straight men. My best friend was having a hard time meeting friends and asked me how I made them when I moved back to San Francisco, and I said, well, I have Grindr, and gay bars, and circuit parties, and I just see people again and again and friendships come naturally. And he says, “yeah, I don’t think that’s going to work the same for me.”

In some way, it was also aspirational. Like, if we could show a friendship that was platonic between a straight and gay man, it might normalize it to an extent that it’s perhaps not normalized now. I think there is still an undercurrent of maybe tension in gay and straight relationships – like this feeling on the part of straight men that gay men might either threaten their masculinity, be secretly attracted to them, or both. And we wanted to show a friendship between two men that didn’t have any of that. Where they were like brothers.

The cast is highly diverse. How important was it for you to represent a range of people from different backgrounds to tell this story?

CC: This was one of our most important goals. Kyle is Filipino, and we both have pretty diverse groups of friends, so we felt like it was essential to include a diverse cast in Paper Boys. First, we both were cognizant of the fact that people of color don’t see themselves represented enough in media, so that was one facet. But this also allows us to address issues in the gay community that just wouldn’t ring honest with a cast of white characters – like the racism that exists in dating and hookups, internalized homophobia that some still feel, and themes that white audiences – probably myself included – wouldn’t even think about because of the privilege we’re born with.

That’s also why having a diverse cast is only half of it. I know that there are some things that I can’t see, or that seem innocuous to me but may not be to people with different lived experiences from me. So having writers, editors, cinematographers of color is essential too. We had one line in the 6th episode – which we’d written before we’d cast our series – where Charlie says that Daren and Rebecca would have had beautiful children. It was still there after a couple of rewrites, and when we went into rehearsals, the actress who played Rebecca pointed out that she often had people say that to her and her husband (who was white), and it had a clearly racial tinge to it. That honestly never occurred to me, and we decided to drop the line from the scene because it didn’t advance the story, and wasn’t true to a character who, having grown up with Rebecca, would have seen some of the racism that Rebecca experienced and would not have wanted to perpetuate that.

Dekkoo is changing the way queer men experience content, what has it been like working with the streaming service?

It’s been amazing working with Dekkoo – they’ve been incredibly accommodating and want to let us tell our story the way we want to tell it. Plus, I think having a service that’s targeted towards queer men is important. Netflix is great, but much of the gay content on there is of the B-movie variety, with a few notable exceptions. So it’s great to have a platform like Dekkoo, especially one that works with independent filmmakers like us.

We’d love to know what you think of a new Dekkoo Original Series that we’re super proud of so be sure to leave comments on the videos and let us know!

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Watch it with: Your best friends 🙂

Mix it with: Red Wine.

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 069 – ‘FINDING NEIGHBORS’

Title – ‘Finding Neighbors

Director – Ron Judkins

Starring – Michael O’Keefe, Catherine Dent, Blake Bashoff, Julie Mond

Release Date – 2013

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Welcome to dispatch number sixty-nine! I welcome you to please insert your favorite sixty-nine related joke/snortle here… Today we’re taking a look at a lovely feel-good mumblecore film shot in Los Angeles about the struggles of an aging marriage and the trials of struggling creatively. It’s true this film does come from a straight perspective, but a lot of the film’s focus comes from a gay next-door neighbor who has his own gay marriage problems.

FindingNeighbors_JEFF_SAM_atx_124sew

Meet Sam, he was once a successful graphic novelist, but lately he’s hit a massive creative crisis which is taking a toll on every aspect of his personal life. His last book was a failure and now he’s in trouble with his publisher because he’s late on his new one. One day while procrastinating at a cafe he meets Jeff, a fellow “househusband” who’s acclimating to the “wonders” of married life (aka boredom). Technically it isn’t their first meeting, but their first pleasant meeting as the previous one was a middle-of-the-night misunderstanding wherein Jeff thought Sam was spying on him. It turns out that Jeff is a big fan of Sam’s early works and they strike up an easy friendship. Sam’s wife is a therapist so as you can imagine she’s constantly trying to analyze his current mid-life crisis. She suspects he’s sleeping with this really cute girl next door and has no clue that he’s really just spending all his time with Jeff.

I thought this movie was pretty darn cute. It definitely has a rough “indie” feel, but you can really tell that a lot of love went into this film. The pressure to constantly be a creative force in your professional life is something a lot of people can relate to and the character of Sam does a great job of relaying that to the audience. I do wish they’d dressed Jeff in clothes that actual gay men would wear and not those horrid button down dress shirts, but hey, straight people can’t do fashion as well as the gays! There are a lot of fun actors in these roles: Sam is played by Michael O’Keefe who was nominated for an Oscar for his supporting work in ‘The Great Santini”. Mary, his wife is played by Catherine Dent who you probably will know from ‘The Shield’. And in the role of Jeff’s husband Paul you’ll definitely recognize the hunky Sean Patrick Thomas from ‘Save the Last Dance’ and ‘Cruel Intentions’.

FindingNeighbors_JEFF_PAUL_door

I’ll leave you today with the director’s statement on the film which will give you a bit more of an idea behind his inspiration for the film:

How does someone remain “relevant” in a youth-obsessed culture? How do people nourish intimate relationships long after the honeymoon is over? Is there a difference in the nature of love in gay vs. straight relationships? How do we maintain a sense of humor and grace while negotiating many of life’s setbacks?
The character of Sam in the story is any one of us who wonders if the creative edge that he once took for granted will still serve him. Mary is any one of us who as the dutiful spouse is forced to question whether the trust in her marriage is well founded. Jeff is any young man whose fixation on his past immobilizes him.  Sherrie is any woman reveling in the heady powers of her sexuality, but yearning for more substantial relationships. These characters are people that I know.
I don’t see many filmmakers addressing these questions. But I know that the audience is there. I am the audience.
I’m smack dab in mid-life. Some of my peers are retiring, some “passing by the wayside,” and more than a few are feeling that modern culture has somehow passed them by. And in a large sense it has. But I consider this a great opportunity, because I am a member of one of the greatest underserved film audiences of all time: the aging baby boomers.
The studios produce very little content for this generation.  Independent producers provide even less. And all the while, millions of us go to the theaters, rent DVDs and download to our flat screens, week in and week out.
But when I began writing Finding Neighbors, I wasn’t thinking about audiences or targeting markets. That’s really not my forte. I merely wanted to write and create something to which I could relate, something that concerned itself with issues that are close to me.

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Watch it with: Your hus-bear!

Mix it with: Some chardonnay – the perfect suburban drink.

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