Author Archives: matthewjohnbriggs

Revealing the BODY ELECTRIC

Marcelo Caetano - dir

Director Marcelo Caetano

BODY ELECTRIC is a boudoir film. With each bed Elias lies in, a new universe opens from the narratives told by the characters. Bodies embracing and caressing each other, voices that speak softly and quietly, lovers who tell of their encounters, sexual adventures and dreams. My desire was to address love as something serial and repetitive, portraying a kind of affection that distances itself from romantic love and its already soiled conflicts.

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Elias loves in a lightly, solar and anarchic way. He is 23 years old, openly gay, a migrant from north-eastern Brazil. He uses each encounter to shape his personality by becoming a kind of human prism, capturing what he can from his partners. He changes his colour, and transitions between the masculine and the feminine. He can be a committed worker, but also a mocking anarchist. In this way, the film questions the socially established places for gay people, black people, immigrants, and workers. My aim is always to seek the individual, avoiding the discourse of identity that tries to capture and classify everybody.

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BODY ELECTRIC is also a Bildungsroman. Elias comes into adulthood with great difficulty while trying to balance his personal pleasure with professional life. He is resistant to some conflicts simply because he does not believe in the high value that professional success and marital happiness have in our society.  For him it is necessary to grow on his journey. I love filming these encounters and I love them more, the more unlikely they are. Perhaps the film’s most prominent political face is resisting intolerance by building links between socially distant people.

 

The film is influenced by Walt Whitman’s poem I SING THE BODY ELECTRIC in which the American author celebrates the beauty of bodies, regardless of age, gender, colour and form. I was also very touched by cinema of the 60’s and 70’s, especially the relation between word and image that I found in the poetic cinema of Pasolini and Joaquim Pedro de Andrade. The choice of words and the strength of the narration are structural to me. This is how I found the way to speak of these bodies, this group of workers, and Elias is my spokesman: Like Scheherazade in ONE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS, he recounts his adventures as if he wanted, by the seduction of the story, to postpone the end of his youth.

Marcelo Caetano

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Tom of London?

TL Blo

 

In an exclusive interview with Durk Dehner, co-founder and president of the Tom of Finland Foundation, we heard plenty of insightful tales about the gay icon where it was revealed he even came close to becoming Tom of London. By the late 1960s Tom (real name Touko Laaksonen)  had made plenty of visits to the UK capital and thrown himself into the emerging underground leather scene, one which he had heavily influenced through his erotic art. Along with friend and leather club entrepreneur Felix Jones, he embraced a fetish flourishing London and was close to permanently sharpening his pencil in the big smoke.  However, restrictions in the British postal service proved too invasive and would have called a halt on the artists already well established homoerotic mailing operation.

 

TOUKO LAAKSONEN (PEKKA STRANG) MAINOSMIEHENA BY JOSEF PERSSON

 

Touko was distributing his work way before the internet, PayPal or buy-with-one-click even existed. He would create a printed catalogue with around 40-50 of his recent drawing and distribute around the world to an established and trusted network. Replying with a list of their selected prints, clients would include payment often in their own currency leaving the artist to act as Bureau de Change. But it worked; his macho fetish drawings were making their way across the globe, almost on an unconscious mission to start revolution and influence gay culture.

 

DOUG (SEUMAS SARGENT) JA TOUKO LAAKSONEN (PEKKA STRANG) JA JACK

 

Dehner first clasped his eyes on a Touko drawing in a leather bar called The Spike in New York City and like most reactions to the stimulating art, it hauled his attention.  Whilst working as a male model, being photographed by no other than Bruce Webber, Durk wrote a fan letter to Touko which was the origin of a yearlong pen pals friendship with the pair eventually meeting in 1978 just before the artist’s first US exhibition.  Through building a treasured relationship which crossed boundaries from professional, personal and intimate, together  spread the fetish word, steadily building the Tom of Finland brand which today lends its name to condoms, oven mitts, bath towels and coffee (oh and cock rings, nipple clamps and handcuffs).

We’re sure there’s plenty more stories which we’ll never know about the man behind the giant graphite gentiles but we’re certainly more educated than when we first caught a glimpse of those fine Finnish exports.

Tom of Finland is released UK wide from 11th August, book tickets http://www.tomoffinlandthemovie.co.uk/

50 Years What to Watch

50 Years What to Watch.  It’s proving to be a Summer of Love for the LGBTQ+ community. Not just with this being pride season across the country, but also this being a significant year for LGBT history being the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act established in 1967, which legalised sex between two consenting men above the age of 21 in England and Wales.

Queer lives have been reflected on our screens over the decades in both positive and not-so-positive lights. This anniversary is the perfect opportunity to watch  the groundbreaking films and TV shows that presented queer lives in all their glory over the past 50 years and beyond. BBC and Channel 4 have also commissioned a range of fascinating documentaries and drama series centred around the 50 year anniversary. Keep reading for a run down of what’s on this summer and 50 years what to watch suggestions;

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BFI: Gross Indecency

The BFI is screening a series of classic films, TV and archive material throughout July and August that address the more problematic on-screen relationships with queer portrayal on British film and TV. This includes The Leather Boys, Sunday Bloody Sunday and Edward II.

 

Picturehouse Cinemas: Criminal Acts A Charged Past

Launching with The Naked Civil Servant, Picturehouse have programmed a season of landmark British film including Andrew Haigh’s Weekend on 18 July. Since Peccadillo released it in 2011, it has become a modern classic, winning many awards and international critical acclaim, as well as launching Andrew’s meteoric career along with his two leading men, Tom Cullen and Chris New.

 

Channel 4: 50 Shades of Gay

At the forefront of LGBT programming in the 80s and 90s, Channel Four has a series of documentaries available on All4 that look at the social and cultural changes of the past 50 years including Rupert Everett presented 50 Shades of Gay.

BBC: Gay Brittania

BBC ONE: Man in an Orange Shirt – Broadcasting soon

A two-part drama about two gay love stories from across generations written by best-selling novelist Patrick Gale and directed by Michael Andrews. It Stars Julian Morris, David Gyasi, Tommy Bastow, alongside Vanessa Redgrave and Frances De La Tour.

Accompanying this are a documentary on Patrick, What Gay Did For Art which looks at the contribution of LGBT people to British culture and Is It Safe To Be Gay in UK?  a hard hitting investigation into the alarming rise in homophobic attacks.

BBC TWO: Against the Law – 26 July

Against The Law,starring Daniel Mays, Charlie Creed-Miles and Mark Gatiss, tells the true story of Peter Wildeblood’s affair with a handsome serviceman that led to him being jailed during the 1950s. The drama is interwoven with real-life testimonies from men who lived through those pre-1967 years, experiencing jail and even subjected to aversion therapy.

BBC THREE: Queer Britain

Presenter Riyadh Kalif, delves into issues that still face the LGBTQ+ such as faith, body image, homelessness, porn and racism in thisbreezy BBC Three series. Available on iPlayer.

There’s plenty to entertain, stimulate and provoke your viewing pleasures this summer, far more than we could fit on this list of 50 years what to watch, so if you have anything else you think we should include get in touch on Facebook or Twitter

Losing our Satellite Virginity to This Lot

We had an incredible night last Sunday (April 2nd) thank you for that. We woke up on Monday aching and tired but it was worth it, you took our satellite virginity and it was amazing.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, who missed the adverts, interviews, reviews, posts, tweets, trailers and posters (where have you been?) this weekend we broke new ground.; we held not just our first, but the UK’s first live cinema event ever for an LGBTQ+ film.

At four o’clock on Sunday our brilliant film WHO’S GONNA LOVE ME NOW? played to audiences in over 40 cinemas across the country, followed by a live Q&A hosted by the wonderful Julian Clary and a performance by the London Gay Men’s Chorus. If you haven’t heard about it, WHO’S GONNA LOVE ME NOW? is a documentary that is in equal parts heart-wrenching and heart-warming. Read more about it here.

The heartwarming Q&A with director Barak Heymann, producer Ali Bodin Saphir, and the stars of the film Saar and Katri was received brilliantly by the crowd. According to Adam in Brighton there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Watching where Saar and Katri had started, and seeing how far they’ve come and how close they’ve grown is truly inspiring, they are very special people.

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We finished our broadcast with a spectacular performance from the London Gay Men’s Chorus, but the show wasn’t over yet, oh no! After Saar joined the choir once more for a beautiful rendition of ‘Only You’, Julian invited all the cinemas to end the show with a sing-a-long to the classic musical number ‘I Feel Pretty’

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It was a brilliant end to a wonderful night that evidently stayed with people long after. Later that night, producer Ali received a text from a friend informing him that, in the Ladies loos of Showroom Sheffield, she could hear a lady singing a chorus of ‘I Feel Pretty!’

If you weren’t able to catch our special event of WHO’S GONNA LOVE ME NOW? last weekend, never fear! It opens on general release and VOD tomorrow, you can find your closest screening here.

I wanted to end by saying a BIG thank you to the Barbican, the London Gay Men’s Chorus, the Heymann brothers and Saar and Katri. I also wanted to highlight the great work of our local choirs Sing Out Bristol, Reading Phoenix, the GMDC Choir in Clapham, the SWGMC in Cardiff and Northern Proud Voices at Tyneside.

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The Levelling – Making a Trailer

THE LEVELLING – making the trailer

Mike Tang

A trailer is about 90 seconds.  Sounds easy right?  Nope.

Trailers are hard – which is why we hand the work off to our super-talented editor Claire!  (Joking aside, we here at Peccadillo do have some input…)  So, to take you into the magic of what goes on here, this is a quick rundown on how we do it and some of the thoughts that go into it.

Watch the film
It always starts with the film.  We watch it, watch it again and then again.

This lets us decide on the direction we want to take it in terms of marketing.  Is there anything there we’d like to highlight and show off in a trailer?  Lines of dialogue, scenes, getting the tone and emotion spot on.  We’re trying to set the appropriate tone and feel that will show the film off at its best.

Editing, editing, still editing…
Then we call in our editor, Claire.  (Fans of lesbian film and culture, you really have to take a look at her work.)

We give her our take on the film and she can add her input.  Claire stitches together the scenes and music that puts our vision into 90 seconds.  It’s not a quick process and we may work through several versions before we’re happy.

For THE LEVELLING, the film’s a stunning drama powered by the towering performances of Ellie Kendrick (Game of Thrones) and David Troughton (The Archers).  We wanted to highlight that.  The mood, the beauty of the film, the interplay and inherent drama between Ellie and David’s characters, the feelings we had when we first watched the film.

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In the edit suite to finalise the trailer.

Finishing touches
We add in some strong review quotes for the film.  Why?  Well, we think our films are pretty good and so we’re going to shout about it.

Next is the sound.  It’s here that we sometimes work with a sound studio.  For THE LEVELLING, the wizards at Tamborine have been working their magic.  They work on effects, the dialogue, the music – anything that you can hear, they can work on and improve.  It’s about creating the mood to match the video, to fit the mood and direction that we want.

We took a trip to Tamborine’s studio to review their work and the difference it makes is incredible.  As any cinephile will tell you, sound adds a huge dimension of atmosphere to images on screen.

Harder than it looks
Did you notice a theme?  One word: we.  It’s a team effort, both from technical and creative standpoints.

The trailer for THE LEVELLING is out now.  Hopefully, you’ll have an insight into what we were thinking when it came to putting it together.

In the meantime, keep up with news on THE LEVELLING on Facebook and Twitter.

Blimey, this was a bit long-winded
Just wait till I write about how we do posters.

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Ellie Kendrick

Our Top 10 Bestselling DVDs of 2016 & Interview with Tom

What a dramatic year 2016 was for films,  dramatic in other  ways too, but we’re going to focus on the films. To get an industry insider’s perspective we’re bringing you an exclusive interview with our MD Tom Abell to get his take on a wonderful year of films and the changes affecting our industry.

But first; to celebrate a bumper year at Peccadillo Pictures we’re taking you on a tour of our top 10 bestselling DVDs of the year. We searched the world to bring you the most thought-provoking, entertaining and captivating films possible. Whether they were hidden gems like GIRLS LOST or global behemoths like EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT, each DVD is etched with our passion, love and care. Enjoy.

Peccadillo Top Ten DVDs of 2016

10 THEO & HUGO

The steamy French romance that was ‘too sexy’ for most cinemas, careened into tenth place despite being one of our last releases of the
year.

09 CLOSET MONSTER

A beautiful 21st century “coming of age” tale complete with teenage angst, a thumping electronica score and an Isabella Rossellini-voiced Hamster.

08 The GIRL KING

Our captivating drama based on the scandalous life of Queen Kristina of Sweden, and her “royal bed-warmer” Countess Ebba Sparre.

07 CHEMSEX

A brave and unflinching journey into the hidden world of modern, urban gay life. Told through the eyes of ‘slammers’, survivors and the health workers fighting to protect them.

06 BOYS ON FILM 14: WORLDS COLLIDE

Once again the powerhouse that is Boys on Film has been a top seller this year, worlds collide in more ways than one in this stunning collection of award winning short films.

05 BOYS ON FILM 15: TIME & TIED

A sensation as always, the latest Boys on Film collection is our hottest to date. Between a time traveling closet, a 1976 trouser bar and a “zombie infested” sauna, it will have you re-examining your concept of time, age and the ties that bind us.

04 HOLDING THE MAN

The powerful true life story of a forbidden high school romance that was to last a lifetime. Holding the Man will have your heart plunging and soaring. Australian gay cinema has never been so strong.

03 DEPARTURE

An intimate film about love, loss and moving on that charts the beginning of the end of a mother’s marriage, the coming of age of her sexually confused son and an awakening that will make or break their new, unfamiliar family. Juliet Stevenson soars in this beautiful British drama set against the stunning backdrop of southern France.

02 THE GERMAN DOCTOR

A lonely 12-year-old girl unknowingly becomes friends with one of the world’s most terrifying Nazi war criminals in this dark, intense thriller. Based on true events, THE GERMAN DOCTOR will have your skin crawling and heart pumping all the way up to it’s dramatic, final minutes. This “Mesmerising and haunting” Argentinian film was a huge success across the board, particularly in stores.

01 EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT

Karamakate, a warrior shaman and last of his tribe, transcends the worlds of men and seeks truth through their dreams. Based on the diaries of Theodor Koch Grunberg and Richard Evans Schultes, the only known accounts of many Amazonian cultures, this extraordinary “Oscar nominated” film was destined for our top spot.

 

So, which ones have you seen? Which titles do you need to see? Get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter and let us know!

 

We’re immensely proud of our top 10, and the contribution Peccadillo Pictures has brought to the film world. Our Managing Director Tom Abell, he’s been in the business a “long time” and knows it inside out. Tom’s taken some time out of his very busy schedule to give us a quick interview about the past year at Peccadillo Pictures, the changing face of Film Distribution and our biggest hit of 2016.

 

Did you have any idea how successful EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT was going to be?

 

TOM: We thought it was going to be successful, we knew that it would do well but no, its actual success was far greater than we expected. It was a wonderful surprise that the audience in the UK and Ireland took to the film as passionately as we had.

 

You’re passionate about finding new ways of getting films out there, what has been your most exciting distribution project?

 

TOM: Well, our most amazing campaign was for cinema release of EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT – most definitely. Every aspect of our promotion and marketing of the film worked perfectly in every single area. I can honestly say that in hindsight there isn’t one single thing that we would change, and it’s not often you can say that.

 

I think it’s the best campaigns we’ve ever done and we won the Screen Award specifically for that campaign. Getting that recognition from the industry itself was one of the highlights of last year.

 

Are there any films that you think were unsung heroes of 2016?

 

TOM: GIRLS LOST. It’s a very special film with lots of important social and sexual commentary, but at no point is it overbearing or preachy. Every country in the world has had problems marketing it, because it’s difficult to define a single audience for it – do you target a gay audience, a lesbian or trans audience or do you market it as a Disney film with a dark side?

 

It took us a long time, but I do think we got the tone spot on. Unfortunately, it hasn’t yet translated into sales, despite great acclaim from critics like Mark Kermode. It’s a little gem that many people still have to discover.

 

Peccadillo Pictures will be seventeen years old this year, how has the industry changed in that time and what have been the most dramatic shifts?

 

TOM: It’s changed enormously, the biggest change has been the move from 35mm to digital for projection in cinemas, and whilst it was supposed to make things more diverse it’s done the opposite. It’s made it much harder for smaller films to get into cinemas and now allows most of the cinemas to play the same films, which is not just pointless its tragic.

 

Obviously some screens do offer a more diverse selection of films and we applaud those cinemas who are still supporting non-Hollywood films.

 

How has VOD (Video On Demand) changed the way you distribute home entertainment?

 

TOM: While our VOD side is growing considerably year on year, it hasn’t yet replaced the revenue we were getting from DVDs. While we’re maybe not making as much money from it as we were in the good old days of DVD It is growing well and I’m quite confident that our success with VOD will continue to grow. For example we’re one of a handful of film distribution companies who have their own own page on iTunes, we have our own Peccadillo Player which is powered by Vimeo and every quarter our VOD sales on Amazon are increasing considerably, so the VOD side is really moving upwards for us.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog, you can also keep up with the incredible adventures of the winking black cat on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Check back regularly for exciting new updates, exclusive content and information on our upcoming films before anyone else.