Out Films: ‘The Crown With A Shadow’ Starring Paul Reubens

Poster image for queer short film The Crown With A Shadow

The CROWN With a SHADOW, a mixed-media short animated film by gay Tribeca Film Festival award-winner JB Ghuman, Jr., made its world premiere at the Outfest Film Festival this weekend starring a constellation of queer and trans actors including Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman), Oscar winner Tatum O’Neal, and nonbinary performer iRAWniQ, as well as icon Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice of the Spice Girls). Continue reading “Out Films: ‘The Crown With A Shadow’ Starring Paul Reubens”

Trailer: Emotional Story Of Father’s Tribute To Son ‘Joe Bell’

Mark Wahlberg in 'Joe Bell' (all photos: Quantrell D. Colbert)
Mark Wahlberg in 'Joe Bell' (all photos: Quantrell D. Colbert)
Mark Wahlberg in ‘Joe Bell’ (all photos: Quantrell D. Colbert)

Academy Award nominee Mark Wahlberg stars in the upcoming film Joe Bell, which tells the intimate and emotional true story of an Oregonian father who pays tribute to his teenage son Jadin.

The film, written by Academy Award winners Diana Ossana & Larry McMurtry (Brokeback Mountain), is based on a true story.

In 2013, at the age of 15, Jadin Bell took his own life at a nearby elementary school playground after being bullied and ridiculed by classmates for being gay.

Following his son’s death, Joe Bell embarks on a self-reflective walk across America to speak his heart to heartland citizens about the real and terrifying costs of bullying.

Reid Miller and Mark Wahlberg in 'Joe Bell'
Reid Miller and Mark Wahlberg in ‘Joe Bell’

The film also stars Connie Britton, Reid Miller and Gary Sinise.

Joe Bell arrives in theaters July 23.

Sadly, the issue of mental health and bullying is not just a story for a dramatic film.

The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health notes that:

• 75% of LGBTQ youth reported that they had experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity at least once in their lifetime.

• 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth.

If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 via chat www.TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678678.

Love Found In Israel – The Queer-Themed Film ‘Sublet’

Check out the soon to be released queer themed film "Sublet"

Check out the soon to be released queer themed film "Sublet"

Check out the trailer to the soon-to-be released queer themed film, Sublet.

Starring Tony Award-winning and Emmy-nominated John Benjamin Hickey and featuring the debut of Niv Nissim, Sublet focuses on a New York Times writer (Hickey) who visits Tel Aviv after suffering a tragedy. The city’s energy and his relationship with a younger man he meets there (Nissim) bring him back to life.

In theaters and Video On Demand on June 11.

LGBTQ Critics Honor The Best In 2020 Cinema

Don't miss the Dorian Film Toast 2021 this Sunday, April 19 at 8pm ET/5pm PT

Don't miss the Dorian Film Toast 2021 this Sunday, April 19 at 8pm ET/5pm PT

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has its Golden Globe Awards, the Screen Actors Guild has the SAG Awards, but now its time to find out what the queer entertainment critics thought represented the best in cinema this past year.

GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics will present its first-ever Dorians Film Toast 2021 awards special Sunday, April 18 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on the free LGBTQ+ streaming service Revry at revry.tv.

Hosted by gay entertainment and broadcasting veteran Karel, the Dorians Toast offers a queer-centric twist on the standard awards show combining tributes, interview segments, music, and comedy. Plus, members of GALECA take part in lively round-table discussions on nominees in several categories.

Those categories include Best Film, Best LGBTQ film, Best Documentary, Best LGBTQ Documentary, Best Unsung Film, Campiest Flick, ‘We’re Just Wilde About You!’ Rising Star Award, Wilde Artist Award (To a Truly Groundbreaking Force in Entertainment), as well as honors for best actor and actress in leading and featured roles.

Best Film nominees this year include First Cow, Minari, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, and Sound of Metal.

Among those nominated for Best Director are rising Hollywood firebrand Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman and actress Regina King for her feature film directorial debut in One Night in Miami.

Emmy Award winner Leslie Jordan (“Will & Grace”) will receive the Society’s Timeless Star career achievement honor, and transgender writer-director-actress Isabel Sandoval accepts the inaugural GALECA Trailblazer Award.

For a full list of nominees, click here.

Presenters for the virtual event include director Lee Daniels (The United States vs. Billie Holiday), Cheyenne Jackson (Call Me Kat), Rosanna Arquette (Pulp Fiction), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious, Antebellum), Jharrel Jerome (Moonlight, Concrete Cowboy), Rafael Silva (Fluidity, 9-1-1 Lone Star), Harmony Valle-Ramirez (Room To Grow), comedian Margaret Cho, the legendary Charo, and more.

Dorians Film Toast 2021 is coproduced by Brandon Riley Miller (Life in Segments, High) and John Griffiths for GALECA. In order to be eligible for the Dorians Film Toast 2021, films were required to have a theatrical or digital theatrical release from January 1, 2020, to February 28, 2021.

Don’t miss this year’s Dorians Film Toast 2021 on Sunday, April 18 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on the free LGBTQ+ streaming service Revry at revry.tv.

Founded in 2009, GALECA (formerly known as the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association) boasts a membership of nearly 290 professional LGBTQ journalists covering film and television.

GALECA hosts two Dorian Awards events during the year – one honoring the best in film and another acknowledging the finest in TV – from mainstream to LGBTQ fare. Last September, the organization celebrated their Dorians TV Toast 2020 with appearances by Billy Porter, Dan Levy, Hugh Jackman, Shangela, Thomas Roberts, Bruce Vilanch and many more.

Note: I’m a proud voting member of GALECA.

Review: MOFFIE Scores Amid Testosterone, Tension & Toxic Masculinity

Kai Luke Brummer in 'Moffie'
Kai Luke Brummer in 'Moffie'
Kai Luke Brummer in ‘Moffie’ (images via official website)

Set in South Africa in the early 1980s, Moffie follows Nicholas (Kai Luke Brummer), who dutifully leaves home to serve a mandatory stretch of military service as required of all white men over 16-year-old at the time.

The title of the film comes from the Afrikaans derogatory term for gay men.

Nicholas is shipped off to boot camp where life is brutal, bleak, and harsh. As he and his fellow grunts prepare to defend the Apartheid regime from a conflict at the Angolian border, Nicholas contends with survival in an environment that reeks of toxic racism, homophobia and machismo.

All while quietly coming to terms with his burgeoning homosexuality.

Kai Luke Brummer in 'Moffie'
Kai Luke Brummer in ‘Moffie’

As we’ve seen in previous military movies, the new recruits’ basic training is humiliating and violent on both physical and psychological levels.

Drill Sergeant Brand (Hilton Pelser) takes the hyper-masculine environment to levels reminiscent of R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket.

The direction by Oliver Hermanus is taut and sensitive as he artfully plays elements of the film against each other.

During a barracks game of ‘spin the bottle’ where those chosen by fate must fight for the entertainment of the other soldiers, Hermanus offers a classical fugue as sonic soundscape in contrast with the bare-knuckle brawling.

A scene from 'Moffie'
A scene from ‘Moffie’

Throughout the film, Hermanus deftly balances scenes of war and brutal machismo with momentary touches of intimacy and humanity. The screenplay (by Hermanus and Jack Sidey) displays an economy of dialogue allowing the actors to express achingly tender moments of sensitivity.

In one episode where the soldiers are forced to dig (and then sleep) in trenches during a nighttime downpour, Nicholas’s fellow grunt Dylan Stassen (Ryan de Villiers) convinces him to huddle together under a blanket to keep warm. While the moment leads to a mere brush of Stassen’s hand on Nicholas’s face, the sexual tension is palpable.

Brummer is especially impressive in his first major screen role offering a compelling and continually nuanced performance.

Matthew Vey and Kai Luke Brummer in ‘Moffie’

Additionally, the riveting score by Braam du Toit and gorgeous cinematography by Jamie Ramsay become almost full-fledged characters in the film’s storytelling.

I’ll warn readers that the beginning of the film can be difficult to watch as Hermanus sets the tone and emotional scale of harsh journey ahead. Ultimately, the film – built on testosterone, tension, and trauma – resolves with a surprisingly delicate touch.

The BAFTA nominated film premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2019 and was released in South Africa two weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic closed cinemas there.

Moffie is available in select theaters and digital streaming sites in the U.S. today.

Out Movies: Friendship Turns To Romance In Gay Prison Drama ‘Luz’

Screen capture from LUZ
Screen capture from LUZ
Ruben-Ernesto Reyes in LUZ (promo photo)

What began as a friendship turns into a fierce romance in this heart-wrenching drama. LUZ is a story of survival, not only for the lives of both men, but for their relationship as it transitions to the world outside their cell.

Synopsis:

Ruben Gonzales (Ernesto Reyes) is a young latino man who’s fallen into the world of the mafiosos. When an accident leads him into incarceration, his relationship with the cartel and with his family is strained.

While in prison, he falls in the complex hierarchical system until his cellmate and eventual lover Carlos (Jesse Tayeh), comes to his side and helps him find emotional and financial stability.

When the two men are released from prison 2 years apart, they again meet on the outside and while dealing with the circumstances that had them incarcerated in the first place, they ponder whether what they once had was real or just two people hoping to seek light in a dark place.

The film is available now for streaming/digital download on iTunes, Vudu, FandangoNow, and GooglePlay.

Short Film: A Street Vendor & An American Tourist Meet In ‘TABOO’

A scene from TABOO
A scene from TABOO
Henry Jimenez and Kasey Kerbox in ‘TABOO’

The short film Taboo, starring real-life couple Henry Jimenez and Kasey Kerbox, landed on YouTube last August and has since gone viral garnering over 1.8 million views.

Now, the film’s director, Guillermo Nuñez, is hoping to take that momentum and expand the love story into a full-length film.

From my Instinct Magazine colleague David Lopez:

TABOO’s story focuses on a Mexican street vendor, Enrique, who meets an American tourist, Kasey, and their relationship quickly flourishes into love and passion.

The story delves into the harsh realness that class, language, and culture separates us too often, but proves that these are not enough to impede the heart’s desires.

A scene from TABOO

The story captures the ways this generation is interacting in today’s world. Young relationships, in love, with free, open sexuality and more stripped of social stereotypes, inequalities and old customs that we inherit from a world that is less and less current.

While this is a story of two unlikely lovers, the third character is Mexican scenery that lends its picturesque backdrop of Tulum for the playground in which these two lovers find themselves.

I found the film short took me to an uncomplicated place where I remembered those moments of early love – hope, smiles, the tactile electricity of first touches. I look forward to seeing where the creative team takes the young love story.

Click over to Kickstarter to see how the creators hope to continue the journey of their film short. You can watch the short film that started it all below.

News Round-Up: March 18, 2021

Screen capture from the acclaimed film, Poppy Field
Screen capture from the acclaimed film, Poppy Field
(screen capture from the acclaimed film Poppy Field)

Some news items you might have missed:

The Advocate: South Carolina Democratic Rep. Cezar McKnight is facing ire from his fellow party members for introducing a new anti-trans bill that would make it a felony for doctors to prescribe life-saving hormone therapy for transgender youth. McKnight is joined in supporting the bill by 23 fellow lawmakers, all Republicans.

JoeMyGod: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says he “would talk ’til I fell over to make sure that the Equality Act doesn’t become law.” Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

Stonewall Gazette: The film Poppy Field (top image) follows the struggle of a young Romanian police officer, Cristi (Conrad Mericoffer), who tries to find balance between being a working man in a macho hierarchical environment and that of being a closeted gay person trying to keep his personal life a secret.

NBC News: President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with Asian American community leaders during a scheduled visit to Georgia on Friday in the wake of the spa shootings in Atlanta that left eight people dead, six of whom were women of Asian descent.

KATC: A federal grand jury in Lafayette returned a six-count indictment charging Chance J. Seneca, 19, of Lafayette, with hate crime, kidnapping, firearm, and obstruction charges based on his attempted murder of a gay man and his overarching scheme to kidnap and murder gay men whom he met online.

CNN: Xavier Becerra was confirmed by the Senate as the first Latino Health and Human Services secretary on Thursday. The vote was 50 to 49. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was the only Republican to vote yes – Democrat Mazie Hirono was absent.

News Round-Up: February 26, 2021

Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons
Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons
Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons (photo via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

KTNV: Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds (above) is donating his childhood home in Las Vegas to help LGBTQ youth. Reynolds’ home will serve as Nevada’s first-ever Encircle Resource Center which helps more than 70,000 kids and their families each year.

Instinct Magazine: Benjamin Davis has been charged with capital murder in the death of a man Harris County deputies said he targeted for robbery. His tool? The gay dating app Grindr.

Kenneth-in-the-212: Check out the weekly round-up of the what’s what in LGBTQ publications like Wilson Lai (below) covering DNA Magazine.

Cover of DNA Magazine
(image via DNA Magazine)

Reuters: The U.S. Justice Department has charged more than 300 people with taking part in the deadly storming of the Capitol by former President Donald Trump’s supporters, and at least 280 have been arrested.

The Advocate: A worker at KFC was fired for screaming ‘f*cking queers’ at a gay couple picking up food via the drive-through window.

Stonewall Gazette: The short film, The Dirt Between My Fingers, follows an unlikely friendship when two boys meet under strange circumstances. A coming (out) of age short film about first love.