Category Archives: World Cinema

REINVENTING MARVIN – The Origins

 

Though “Marvin” was inspired by “The End of Eddy” by Edouard Louis, your Marvin is not an adaptation of that book. Tell us how the film was born.

I felt a very strong connection to the hero of the book by Edouard Louis, and I almost immediately felt like I wanted to make his story my own. I wanted to invent a new destiny for him. Explore the way he had to reconstruct himself after such a difficult separation from that family, and that subculture of France, socially and culturally disinherited. Dream up the crucial influences of his teenage years. In short, adapt it so liberally that “Marvin” could no longer be considered an adaptation, though the book was powerful.

How do you explain the connection that you feel with this character?

I like the idea that powerful people can escape what they are born into, that nothing is ever predestined or doomed, and that it’s possible to transform obstacles into strengths. That is what has always guided me. How do we manage to do that? How do we succeed in transcending difficulties? Those are questions that I, as a completely self-made person, can identify with. Marvin’s journey fascinated me as much as Coco Chanel’s. She, too, was able to invent herself, though she came from an extremely disadvantaged background.

Marvin also has to deal with being different. Having nothing in common with his family or classmates, he is totally alone.

Yes. You’d think he came from another planet. He has the face of an angel, and it’s as if his beauty stimulates the cruelty of others. He is an object of sadistic treatment to his classmates and an object of shame to his family. But that grace, that expression of femininity he carries within him – which is the cause of all that violence – is precisely what will feed his creativity and allow him to find his own path.

Your characterization of the family is never insulting; it even lends them certain humanity.

I felt it was important not to disparage those characters and pin them down like butterfly specimens. It’s their subculture that gave them those often terrifying phrases they say. They do it almost despite themselves; they think from where they stand, with their close-minded languaging. My co-author Pierre Trividic and I didn’t want to judge them.

Despite his ideas, the father is almost touching.

He says “faggots are awful… it’s a disease.” He is obsessed with the norm, but you can tell he is not mean. He has never hit his children, which is already progress by comparison to the previous generation. He is never outright violent. He even makes an effort when he takes Marvin to the train station and gives him money to buy Coca-Cola. He tries to be interested, and that makes him moving because we know full well that he doesn’t care about theater. That’s somewhere else, in another world.

You make him, as well as the character of Marvin’s mother, truly poetic.

There is something theatrical about the father. He makes a show of who he is. He’s not a hick, as his daughter points out. Strangely enough, there is love in that family. It’s lively and complex. Marvin can feed off of that material.

Which feeds them in return?

Yes. In the end, the father manages to say the word “gay” and talk about homosexual marriage. He has opened a door.

The older brother ends up being the only one in the family who is unreachable.

That is also a possible truth of that subculture: the incredible violence that suddenly breaks out from nothing, from the fact that their little brother was hiding in the church to eat candy. Combined with alcohol and his vision of Marvin (a representation of homosexuality), it triggers in Gerald an irrepressible urge to bash. It’s a horrible scene. Dramatically, it was important for the parents to step in. But I wouldn’t say that Gerald is “unreachable.” None of their destinies are set in stone.

You have never delved into that community.

Not being from it myself, I did question my own legitimacy. But I brushed that away pretty quickly. You don’t have to be in it to talk about it. What is essential is to feel things. And I knew them, in a certain way, through one of my grandmothers, who ran a small business under very tough living conditions and who was culturally very close to the Bijou family –

anti-homo, anti-black, anti-everything. As a kid, that intellectual poverty struck me deeply. But she was also a generous woman with amazing humanity. I loved that grandma and got inspiration from her, of course. Just as I got inspiration from the families I met in the area around Epinal – people who are forgotten, living on the edge in incredible poverty and often very close to the Front National. I really settled into the region and stay put. That was the best way to understand it from the inside. Though I’m not obsessed by the documentary aspect, what I showed had to ring true.

MARIO a revealing look at homosexuality in The Beautiful Game.

No matter who I talk to, hardly anyone understands why it should be a problem to be an openly gay professional football player in 2018. As early as 2013, many German politicians as well as high-ranking club functionaries and representatives of professional associations took a stand and signed the “Berlin Declaration” – a position paper against homophobia in sport. We know that there are gay football players, and club-internally they receive professional guidance and management, but towards the outside, the silence is maintained.

Coming out in professional football is still a taboo. The blame for this is passed back and forth. Some say reactionary fan groups are the problem. Others point to the sponsors, who could bail out. Or individual players from chauvinistic cultures who would not be able to deal with the situation. Corny Littmann, former President of the St. Pauli football club in Hamburg, Germany, and gay himself, gave an interview on the topic in 2012. Asked why not a single player had come out as gay yet, he answered that this would be stupid. “Only a fool would do that.” Littmann regards the world of football as a professional field lacking the social competencies to deal with a coming-out.

Homophobic clichés and small-mindedness are still widespread, according to him. On average, a football player can pursue his career for 16 years and changes clubs every two to three years. He is a commodity, bought and sold again as lucratively as possible. An openly gay player would, however, encounter problems when trying to find a new club. He would be seen as “difficult”, even if his athletic performance were high. Coming out would therefore destroy his market value – and with it his entire career. So is everything, as so often in our society, a question of money?

In 2018 the FIFA World Cup will be carried out in Russia, a country that discriminates against and ostracises homosexuals. 2022 will see the World Cup in Qatar, a country that punishes homosexuality with five years’ imprisonment or 90 whiplashes. As we know, football is big business, and FIFA will make sure that nothing comes in the way of that – least of all the gay question. And we will follow both cups with excitement, and we will pay to see the games. In the end, the current status quo regarding homosexuality in professional football is a contract we have all entered into. But the weight of self-denial is a weight that the gay players carry alone.

When screenwriter Thomas Hess approached me in 2010 with his idea to make a feature film on the topic of gay love in professional football, my first question was: Hasn’t that film already been made? The topic was already present in the media, but our research showed that, apart from numerous news features, there was only a comedy dating from 2004.

The great football love story, however, had not yet been made for cinema. This is why I committed to the project. Apart from the topical relevancy, I felt very much like making another love story twenty years after “F.est un salaud”. Since classical literature, love stories that are framed by any kind of forbidden love have moved us the most. I saw the opportunity to tell a truly moving story in the given social context of a modern forbidden love. It was important to me to illustrate this context as realisticallyand contemporarily as possible. The football club BSC YB from Berne, Switzerland, generously supported me during the research and script development phases. During shooting BSC YB and the St. Pauli football club provided us with infrastructure, materials, and their names, for which I am very grateful.

Marcel Gisler

Director and co-writer of MARIO – Marcel Gisler

Meet the Amatos – with THE CIAMBRA Director Jonas Carpignano

In the first part of a two part interview, writer / director Jonas Carpignano talks with us about about casting the Amato family in his film THE CIAMBRA.

Jonas Carpignano

Writer-Director Jonas Carpignano

How did you first encounter the Amato family? 

The first time I met the Amato family was in 2011 after the Fiat Panda filled with my crew’s film equipment was stolen. We were in Gioia Tauro (Calabria) shooting A Chjana (the short film which would later become Mediterranea). In Gioia Tauro, when a car disappears, the first thing you do is “go to the gypsies.”

That’s when I saw the Ciambra for the first time. I immediately fell in love with the energy of the place. Whenever I tell this story, Pio says that he remembers seeing me, but at the time I didn’t notice him – there was too much to take in. We had to wait three days to get the car back because Pio’s grandfather (the Nonno Emilian character is based on him) had just died and they wouldn’t negotiate the ransom for the car until after the funeral. Clearly that funeral procession made a big impression on me because five years later I wrote it into the film. Needless to say the entire situation had an enormous impact on me and soon after I wrote the first draft of the short version of A Ciambra.

It’s hard to generalize the position of the Romani in Italian society, and I don’t  have the space here to really get into the complexities of their situation in Italy or in Europe in general. The fact is that they are not a monolithic group. There are those who have risen to the top of the organized crime pyramid like the Casamonica in Rome; or the hard working blue collar Romani who have everyday jobs and are indistinguishable from other Italians; or the nomads who live in squalid trailer camps created by local governments on the periphery of many major Italian towns; and countless other examples. What is relevant for the film is the role the Romani of the Ciambra play in Gioia Tauro and their relationship with the newly arrived African immigrants in Southern Italy. While I think that looking at this example can, hopefully, speak to a more universal condition, the goal with this film was never to shine a light on these broader sociological factors. I am interested in Pio and Ayiva and I think the film clearly articulates their relationship – specifically, its potential and its limits.

Pio Amato stole the show in Mediterranea and your short film A Ciambra (2014). Was it always your intention to go back and write a film around him and his family? 

I met people who had all kinds of opinions while I was on the road with Mediterranea, but one thing that was consistent was the complete, utter love and appreciation for Pio. He has, as my friends in New Orleans say, it. Whatever it is, Pio has enough to burn, and I realized that the second I met him.

That said, I had intended to make a feature in the Ciambra before I ever met Pio, even before we started shooting Mediterranea. Casting the short version of A Ciambra was exactly like casting the short version of A Chjana. I went into the Ciambra with a rough idea of a story.  Once I met Pio, I revised the story to take into account him and his family. Biographical elements of the Amato family ended up reshaping and altering the story in the same way that Koudous Seihon’s story shaped Mediterranea.

In both cases, after meeting the protagonist, I tried to make the films as true to their protagonists’ experiences as possible, while keeping some semblance of dramatic structure. In the case of A Ciambra (the short), I was interested in telling the tale of two brothers. In the winter of 2013 I started going to the Ciambra regularly to cast the film and the first person I was drawn to was Pio’s older brother.

At first he was completely against the idea of being in a film. He was so reluctant that one of the producers encouraged me to find someone else. However, I couldn’t see anyone else playing the role, so I kept after him for months.

A week or so later, Pio and I began becoming closer. He had shed his initial distrust for an outsider and it became clear that he and I had a special bond. It’s hard to describe what and how it happened but both of us knew, pretty quickly, that we would be important to each other. In a lot of ways his relationship with Ayiva in the film is a combination of his relationship with Koudous and with me. The first testament to that was when Pio helped me convince his brother to be in the short. It was our first success, kind of.

Kind of? 

I say “kind of” because in reality Cosimo is played by two twins, Cosimo and Damiano Amato. I was always after Damiano, but for the short film I had to use Cosimo because Damiano wasn’t having it. Finally, by the time it was time to make the feature, Damiano came around to the idea and the film is all the better for it.

Pio

You have managed to get remarkable leading performances out of non-professional actors Pio Amato (and his family). What’s your approach in working with cast?

It’s different for each cast member. My approach to working with Pio was very different from my approach with Koudous, Iolanda, Pasquale or even my father, who played the guy at the train station. If there were one consistent element in working with all of them I’d say it was the atmosphere I tried to create. I am very militant on how many people are allowed on set, who is watching, and so on. Since we are always shooting in real locations, often in people’s houses, I never want to feel like we are altering the natural rhythm of the place. I always said to the crew that we need to adapt our approach to them, instead of trying to impose a traditional filmmaking infrastructure upon them. That would have never worked. So I think that by going with the flow, we were able to create a very safe atmosphere where people didn’t feel exposed. I’m not sure I could have gotten the same performances if I brought the A Ciambra cast to shoot those scenes on a soundstage in Rome, for example.

I also spent a lot of time breaking down barriers between the cast and myself. It was not a “professional” relationship. There was a deep familiarity between us which I think is why they were willing to go places when I asked them to. I can’t remember who said it recently, but I recall hearing: “There are two styles of directing. One where you stand still and demand that the actors come to you. And one where you go where they are and try to steer them in the direction you think is best.”  I clearly fall into the second category.

Read part two of this interview here.

 

Tamara Shogaolu talks about HALF A LIFE from Boys on Film 18: Heroes

Tamara Shogaolu, the director of the stunning short film Half a Life – part of  Boys on Film 18: Heroes chats about her inspiration for the film and the experience she had making it:

Half a life balcony

How did you meet the narrator, and what led you to want to tell his story?

Over the course of two years before, during and after the revolution, I traveled around Egypt collecting oral histories of a variety of people—mostly women, activists and members of marginalized communities. It was a time of openness where people felt like they could talk and be honest and for that I feel incredibly fortunate.

The plan was always to make an animated documentary film based on these oral histories. We felt an urgency to share this story first because of the active persecution of LGBT individuals in Egypt at the moment. We are also currently developing an interactive augmented reality animated
documentary based on some of the other interviews.

 

Where does the title “Half a Life” come from?

The title of HALF A LIFE is inspired by Khalil Gibran’s poem of the same name. It speaks to the value of individual action, commitment, and resistance, like the film’s interviewee and main character. The film ends with a selection from the poem:

The half is a mere moment of inability
but you are able for you are not half a being
You are a whole that exists
to live a life not half a life

Half a life sunrise

How and why did you decide the documentary should be animated?

Animation has allowed us to protect the identity of the people involved in the story, but it also affords us the artistic freedom to convey its emotion visually and viscerally. It also emphasizes Adam’s voice as he tells his story, offering us a firsthand look into the gay experience in Egypt today.

 

How was the experience for you as the director?

It has been an incredible experience. I have been working on this project for years and was finally able to get a really great team together. Everyone was really involved in all aspects of telling this story. This is the first animated film I direct and was also the first narrative film for the animation team. We were also incredibly lucky to have wonderful mentors who gave us key feedback to make the film and story more powerful.

 

What do you hope the impact of this film will be?

Like Adam, many Egyptians love Egypt, while they are struggling against the very backlash that many involved with the 2011 revolution feared. Our team is devoted to sharing Adam’s story, and it is our hope that this film can embolden and contribute to the movement for gay rights taking place in Egypt right now.

half a life face

Boys on Film 18: Heroes is released on 30/04/2018 and you can order your copy here.

 

 

 

 

The Wound – When Controversy Prompts Conversation

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John Trengove’s debut feature and Oscar-shortlisted film, THE WOUND (INEXBA), has been bestowed with accolades and critical acclaim; going on to sweep the South African Film and Television Awards this past month. With such success, there was always bound to be a degree of controversy. As with any hard-hitting film that delves into themes of sexuality, masculinity and culture; finding a consensus can be difficult, if not impossible.

The controversy in question focuses on the way in which the film handles its depiction of the Xhosa ethnic group and the rite-of-passage ceremony these young men are put through as they transition to manhood. A call to ban the film was effectively successful in South Africa but has since been overturned, allowing it a full run in cinemas. Critics of the ban and controversy have pointed to an inherent homophobia that underlines the backlash – claims that are exacerbated by the fact the film hadn’t even been released when the controversy began to emerge.

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Nevertheless, isn’t any dialogue surrounding a LGBT film helpful? Isn’t a film like this essential in reaching out to queer black men and women in the 8 million strong Xhosa ethic group? Shouldn’t Cinema provide a voice to those who are oppressed?

First and foremost we must address the very nature of the controversy and how some have argued that the film exposes private and secretive cultural traditions. Furthermore, critics have contended that the filmmakers had no right to explore these customs; attacking the film as an appropriation and distortion of their culture. However, the films depiction of these traditions is never exploited. Rather, director John Trengove directly avoids graphically depicting the ceremonial event and maintains a level of ambiguity that respects the culture but also underlines the focus of the film: a love affair between two men.

When a film such as THE WOUND is classified as R-rated and essentially deemed ‘pornographic’, isn’t it essential to debate these issues? Oppressive and draconian reactions to the tougher aspects of the film are an attack on both free-speech and art itself. With cinema, audiences are given the opportunity to submerge themselves in different cultures, ideas and mind-sets. To be transported, shocked and even inspired.

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John Trengove argues that the setting of the film is in direct resistance to ideas perpetuated by many African leaders; some whom have suggested homosexuality is un-African and a symptom of western decadence. In an interview with Peccadillo our friend the film’s director stated: “We knew we wanted to tell a story about same-sex desire in a specifically African culture”, directly challenging African taboos around homosexuality that has been embedded into their culture. The filmmaker’s bold storytelling not only opposes these beliefs, it also encourages a much-needed conversation.

Devoid of the freedom that cinema can provide, people are bound to be more close-minded, more Orwellian and more muted. Cinema – no matter how hard-hitting – gives us all a voice.

So, endeavour to go and see THE WOUND when it hits UK cinemas on 27th April 2018; make up your own mind about the film and engage in a much-needed dialogue with those around you. That’s what Cinema is all about!

Maysaloun Hamoud director of IN BETWEEN

Born to communist parents in Budapest where her father was studying medicine, Maysaloun grew up in Dir Hanna, a village in the North of Israel.

After a Masters in History of the Middle East at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Maysaloun’s interest shifted towards cinema. In 2012, she graduated from the Minshar School of Art in Tel Aviv. She has been living and working in Jaffa for the past nine years.

From 2010 to 2013, Maysaloun was in charge of communications at the Tel Aviv based NGO SADAKA, which promotes political and social change.

Since 2009, she is a member of the group PALESTINEMA, a group of young filmmakers whose objective is to promote Arab culture by organising screenings of films in Israel and Palestine

Maysaloun Hamoud, July 2017 Tel Aviv Yaffo.

Maysaloun Hamoud -photo by Anne Maniglier

Maysaloun Hamoud in conversation with Haggai Matar – +972 Magazine

Is Tel Aviv the condition for freedom? Could this happen elsewhere, or is the Jewish hegemony in which the story is set needed for the girls’ feminist liberation?

“The movie takes place in Tel Aviv, because I wanted the imagery to be within a hegemonic space, but the scene in which they live is in Jaffa. The essence of the scene is Jaffa-Tel Aviv, and the plot-lines draw a lot of inspiration from what happens around me and from real characters in my own life…

Tel Aviv is a city, and that’s what a city does. It challenges. The same things would likely happen in Beirut or Amman…Tel Aviv is not the Berlin of the Middle East. It’s just the city that’s here. The scene here is unique because it’s Jewish-Arab, with a lot of mutual influence. Most young Palestinians in the city believe in a shared life, while the Jews [in this particular community] are left-wing and anti-Zionist, which is like a glue that creates mixed couples.”

 The difference between religion and the religious

… “The atmosphere of the Arab Spring didn’t skip Palestine/Israel, we were all with them in spirit — in the opposition to oppression, patriarchy, chauvinism and the perpetuation of the old system. This generation can no longer continue playing around with obsolete codes. We have to put everything on the table, because as long as we keep sweeping our fears under the carpet, the carpet will rise and we will stumble. Fundamentalism is a serious disease, and if we don’t shake out the carpet it’s likely going to be too late.”

Now that the film has been commercially released, what response are you expecting to these sentiments, which are also at the heart of the movie?

“Some people will want to hang us in the town square, for sure. The conservatives. The film does something very clever: I don’t say a single bad thing about religion. Everyone has his own faith. That’s not what the religious say, but even among them there are no ‘bad guys.’ There are characters you fall in love with in conservative society as well. Nour wears a hijab; she isn’t leaving the faith. Yes, she’s searching for a place of liberation in her own world — the religious, believing world — and that’s the place I’m searching for. So I’m very curious as to what the religious will pick up from the film.

The film doesn’t let liberals off the hook. It holds up a mirror to them too. We all know those families, Christian or Muslim, that are terribly open, but in moments of truth everyone falls in line behind the same traditions. It’s not just Nour’s family from Umm al-Fahm — it’s also that of Salma, the Christian. And the film doesn’t go easy on Jews, either. Maybe they’ll say, ‘Hey, it happens among us too, how great,’ but they need to address the fact that they always leave Arabs out. It’s a case of not here, not there. But the essence [of the film] is the intra-Palestinian conversation.”

InBetween5_ImagebyYaniv_Berman small web

Drugs and alcohol are a significant part of the film — marijuana, MDMA and more. What does that mean to you?

“First of all, during the first party in the film they’re taking Ritalin, and that’s intentional, because the parents watching the movie are themselves giving their kids Ritalin. Coke generates more antagonism, so I didn’t put an emphasis on it.

But there’s more to say beyond that. We want to say that the current period is like the Sixties of the Arab world, and in an underground which you don’t want in the Middle East, everyone is taking every drug. It’s integral to the scene, and it influences identity, politics and culture. If we’re already doing it, why not show it?”

Balls in the face of BDS [The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.]

Success aside, In Between also sheds light on the complications of politics and identity faced by many Palestinian citizens of Israel who are filmmakers. For example, Hamoud put together a soundtrack featuring original music by artists from different countries in the region, whose names she could not publish and who couldn’t be credited in the movie. The movie also features music by DAM, a Palestinian hip-hop group from Lod, who wrote a dance song especially for the film. “They were amazing collaborators and I love them so much,” Hamoud says.

Other artists who saw earlier versions of the movie wanted to collaborate, but ultimately felt that their reputation would be in danger if they worked on a film funded by Israeli government institutions.

One day, Hamoud met a musician in Ramallah who was especially enthusiastic when he heard the movie’s plot and watched some of the rushes. “So I told him, yalla, we’ve put ourselves on the line for this movie, put yourselves on the line and say, ‘We’ll be the first people to look at the complexity, at the Palestinians who are inside [Israel – h.m.].’ But in the end they refused, despite knowing that they were contradicting themselves. There’s no link between the synchronization among us and the separation that reality has created.

“Yes, the state is giving me money, because I deserve to make films from the money I pay [in taxes]. I’m not ashamed, and I deserve even more. And still, I would have taken money from elsewhere in order to lift the cloud of a boycott, but there’s nowhere else. So I took from the state, and the film will be screened as an Israeli-French movie, despite it being mostly Arab-Palestinian.”

InBetween11_Yaniv_Berman small web

 Bitter candy

“People in the Israeli cinema world have never worked with the Arab community. They don’t know what it is. Arabs don’t go to the movies much, because there aren’t cinemas in their communities, they watch Hollywood films at home and there are no local movies they want to see. Now all of a sudden they have a reason to go out, and we need to make use of this swell in order to bring other people into the industry.”

But the most important thing of all for Hamoud is her dream that her movie will open up a “new era of representation of women in Palestinian cinema, in which the woman is at the center and not behind the male character,” she says.

“In most Palestinian movies the political story dominates the plot, and so [women] are generally represented as victims. Even in my early movies [filmed when she was a student – h.m.] I told women’s stories via men’s heroics. The women I want to show are all around us but are invisible in the movies. Gender, activism and liberation from the patriarchy can be feminist, even if that word doesn’t necessarily define the women themselves. One way of telling this complex story of women, and the weighty issues that accompany it, was to wrap the whole tale in simple cinematic language, almost American. It’s also the women’s internal language in the film. They are burdened by the outside world, but they see themselves in the same image we are accustomed to seeing in the cinematic output of a liberated and vibrant society. The film’s producer, Shlomi Elkabetz, calls this “bitter candy” — something wrapped in flamboyance and beauty. You get into the film, and then get kicked in the stomach.”

 Translated from Hebrew by Natasha Roth.    

 

The Boys are Back for Christmas

The second BOYS ON FILM of 2017 is arriving a touch later than usual, but presents the perfect antidote to Christmas viewing, either on DVD or in high definition On Demand. As you know BOYS ON FILM is the world’s most successful short film anthology series, now with it’s seventeenth edition aptly titled LOVE IS THE DRUG. Here’s a run down of the nine films in this collection along with links to interviews that their directors did with Gay Star News.

ALEX AND THE HANDYMAN

Dir. Nicholas Colia (USA) 14 mins

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When Alex, a precious nine-year-old boy, develops a crush on Jared, the moody twenty-five-year-old handyman who works in the mansion where he lives, he will stop at nothing to get his attention.

Read the interview with director Nicolas Colia HERE

NICHOLAS COLIA is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker who recently graduated from NYU Graduate Film School. Alex and the Handyman is his graduation film, it screened at Palm Springs International ShortFest and Outfest and has since won numerous awards. He is currently finishing work on a new short, a TV series and a feature film.

 

MR SUGAR DADDY

Dir. Dawid Ullgren (Sweden) 13 mins

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Fifty-something Hans is looking for a fresh start. When he is pursued by the handsome younger Andrej, he falls for him fast. As the pair get closer, his wallet becomes looser. Is Andrej interested in Hans, or just the perks of an older man?

Read the interview with director Dawid Ullgren HERE

Dawid Ullgren studies directing at the Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts.  Dawid has previously directed the award-winning shorts Karma is a Bitch (2014) and Love at 03:56 (2013). Dawid also works as a casting assistant in Sweden, and holds a diploma in screenplay writing from Alma Writer College.

 

SPOILERS (Iris)

Dir. Brendon McDonall (UK, Australia) 22 mins

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Leon’s loved and lost. Scarred by his experiences, his life takes a turn for the better when he meets the ideal man. Life seems full of possibility again, but what if he knew the ending before it even began?

Read the interview with director  Brendon McDonall HERE

Brendon is a director, screenwriter and actor. His short film, All God’s Creatures, won numerous awards, including Best Film and Best Director at the 2014 Sydney Mardi Gras Film Festival and the prestigious international Iris Prize in 2014.

Brendon won the AFTRS/Foxtel Award for Exceptional Talent and was Associate Director to Ian Watson on the ABC series Janet King.  His previous short films include The Law, Midnight Blue, All God’s Creatures and The Dam.

 

TELLIN’ DAD

Dir. André D Chambers (UK) 15 mins

04_Tellin Dadresized

A year into his relationship, Dan finally agrees to come out to his family. He writes letters to all of them. As each arrives, he deals with the aftermath, until there’s only one left… Starring Ricky Tomlinson (The Royle Family)

Read the interview with writer / producer Carl Loughlin HERE

André D Chambers studied Digital Film Making at the SAE Institute in Liverpool. His previous short films include Trip, a silent film about homelessness in Liverpool, and Thomas which screened at multiple film festivals around the world. Andre is currently working on short film Nam set in the Vietnam War.

 

BOYS

Dir. Eyal Resh (USA) 14 mins

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Set on the first day of summer, Brian sleeps over at Jake’s house, as they have done countless times before. This night however, the two encounter unfamiliar desires that illuminate a new side of themselves.

Read the interview with director Eyal Resh HERE

Eyal Resh was born in Haifa, Israel in 1988. After graduating from the film department at Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts in Tel Aviv, he went on to do the Film Directing MFA Program at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). His films were chosen to be part of the CalArts prestigious show case and are now playing in festivals all over the world. Today, Eyal is focusing on narrative story telling using live action film making, animation and photography.

 

HOLE (Iris)

Dir. Martin Edralin (Canada) 15 mins

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A daring portrait of a disabled man yearning for intimacy in a world that would rather ignore him.

The interview with director Martin Edralin will appear later.

Martin Edralin is a Toronto-based filmmaker and producer. Welcome to La Hesperia, shot in Ecuador, was his first documentary short. It was followed by several other award-winning short films, including Sara & JimThe Tragedy of Henry J. Bellini and Jane. Hole won numerous awards around the world and has screened at over 100 international film festivals, including Toronto and Sundance. He is currently developing two feature film projects.

 

HAPPY AND GAY

Dir. Lorelei Pepi (USA) 10 mins

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A queer revisionist history of 1930’s black and white cartoons, Happy and Gay is a musical cartoon inspired by the power of representation.

Read the interview with director Lorelei Pepi  HERE

Lorelei Pepi is an American award-winning animation artist whose work engages with issues of identity and representation, the sexual body, gender and LGBT issues. Using animation‘s various forms, her materials and treatments range from the highly experimental to the character-driven narrative, lyrical and personal (Grace), to the socio-political  queer cartoon (Happy & Gay). She teaches Animation at Emily Carr University of Art & Design in Vancouver, Canada.

 

PEDRO

Dir. André Santos and Marco Leão (Portugal) 24 mins

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When Pedro gets home at dawn exhausted, he is dragged to the beach by his loving mother. Initially reluctant, his interest is peaked when he catches the eye of a handsome stranger by the water.

Read the interview with directors Andre Santos and Marco Leao HERE

André Santos and Marco Leão started their long-lasting collaboration in 2008. Since then, they co-directed Our necessity for comfort, Wild Horses, Infinite, and the award-winning Bad Blood. André also works as a cinematographer, and Marco as a sound operator.

 

KISS ME SOFTLY

Dir. Anthony Schatteman (Belgium) 16 mins

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An unexpected kiss from a friend brings a shaft of light to 17-year-old Jasper’s dull existence. It provides the spark he needs to embrace who he is, but how can he persuade his self-involved father to do the same?

The interview with director Anthony Schatteman will appear later.

Anthony studied film directing and holds a Master’s degree in Film Studies and Visual Culture from the University of Antwerp. KISS ME SOFTLY, his graduation film, was based on his relationship with his father and won him the 2012 Humo award at Leuven International Short Film Festival. Anthony’s work regularly explores difficult LGBT themes and is filmed in his own distinctive visual style.

 

Special Features for BOYS ON FILM 17: LOVE IS THE DRUG

Director’s Introduction for Spoilers

The Making of Kiss Me Softly

Trailers for Alex and the Handyman, Hole and Happy & Gay

 

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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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.

What are little boys made of..?

If you’re blind to what is different, this story is not for you. But if your eyes are open, you should listen carefully

Every so often a film comes along where it is incredibly difficult to find the right tone. With GIRLS LOST we have been through countless design concepts and have really discussed, argued and fought over how it should look, how the synopsis should read, how to present this to the audience and even who that audience should be.

We’ve never had it like this on a single title before. But I have to say that after months of changing minds, designs and words we’ve finally cracked it, literally the day of release!

It’s an amazing film, in fact one for all the family! Read more below…

Kim (as a girl) and Momo (as a girl) from GIRLS LOST

Kim (as a boy) and love interest Tony from GIRLS LOST

“Girls Lost is maturely executed, offering a discussion that presents us with ideas that cannot be considered in haste, the post-contemplation of the film necessary.” HeyUGuys

Here’s the synopsis follow link

You can find out where and how to watch GIRLS LOST : http://www.girlslostfilm.com/