Showing posts with label Film. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Film. Show all posts

October 24, 2019

Boys Don't Cry

Boys Don't Cry opened in theaters Oct. 22, 1999, first on 25 screens before spreading to hundreds. It became a runaway hit that drew rave reviews for its empathetic portrayal of a young person on a quest for love and acceptance — based on the true story of murdered Nebraskan Brandon Teena — at a time when transgender characters were just not represented on screen.
When Riki Wilchins began transitioning in the late 1970s, she says there was very little trans visibility, even in large cities.
"Trans people were like unicorns," Wilchins says. "I mean, no one had actually seen one in the wild. There was really no one to talk to. The term transgender wasn't even in use." 
In the early 1990s, Wilchins co-founded Transexual Menace, one of the first transgender rights organizations. Among its first goals was the documentation of anti-trans murders, which often went unreported. And when they were, says Wilchins, the stories were often coded.
"When trans people were killed the only way we would find out about it was there would be four paragraphs in the back of the local paper, you know, 'Man Found Wearing Articles Of Women's Clothing Murdered In Alley,' says Wilchins. "And that meant that a transgender woman had been violently murdered, but you had to kind of read backward." 
The murder of 21-year-old Brandon Teena was different — it garnered national headlines. In 1993, Teena was killed in the town of Humboldt, Neb., along with two witnesses, Lisa Lambert and Phillip DeVine. The brutal triple homicide garnered salacious, victim-blaming headlines, such as "Cross-Dresser Killed Two Weeks After Town Learned Her True Identity." 
When two men stood trial for the murders, members of Transexual Menace and their allies planned a vigil outside the Falls City, Neb. courthouse. They were met with a harsh reception, recalls Kimberly Peirce, who directed and co-wrote Boys Don't Cry.
"We were standing in front of the court building and guys would go by in their big truck and scream terrible things at us and throw things," Peirce says. "And certainly us being there, you know, was catalyzing some kind of anger and that was scary." 
Peirce, then a graduate film student at Columbia University, had hitched a ride to the trial with Riki Wilchins and other members of Transexual Menace. She decided to make her thesis film about Brandon Teena after reading an article about him in the Village Voice
"I fell instantly in love with Brandon," Peirce says. "I was coming at it as a person who was discovering my own gender queerness, and getting to know trans people, and saying, 'Help me tell this story in a way that would be the most authentic.' And I wanted to tell his story as a movie so that other people could empathize with him."
Peirce's thesis evolved into a full-length feature film, and over the next four years she immersed herself in Brandon Teena's world, returning to Falls City to interview his girlfriend and other townspeople. When it was time to cast the film, she says hundreds of actors auditioned, starting with the trans community.
But Peirce says trans actors were harder to find than they are today. The part ultimately went to a relatively unknown cisgender actress: Hilary Swank. When Swank won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her portrayal of Brandon Teena, she used her acceptance speech to honor his courage. 
As the first film to introduce mainstream audiences to a transgender man, Boys Don't Cry was a landmark, says Nick Adams, director of transgender representation at GLAAD. But today, Adams says we expect trans roles to be played by trans actors, who now appear in such popular television shows as Good Girls and Grey's Anatomy. He points to Orange is the New Black's Laverne Cox.
"Prior to Orange is the New Black, almost every transgender character was portrayed by a cisgender actor," Adams says. "And with transgender women, men playing them, which only reinforced in people's minds that transgender women are not women, but just men in dresses." 
Transgender directors and writers also work behind the scenes on hits including Transparent and Pose.
At the same time, Boys Don't Cry has taken on a more complicated legacy. Some trans audiences object to the brutal violence depicted in the film, others to Peirce's decision to cast a cisgender actress. 
Wilchins says sure, the film might not be made the same way today, but Peirce doesn't deserve the backlash. 
"It's not fair to go back and apply standards 20 years later that didn't exist back then," Wilchins says. "What she did is a major, major accomplishment. It legitimated and made possible all of these other representations that we've had since."
That includes an increasing number of nonbinary characters who are portrayed by nonbinary actors. One of those actors, Asia Kate Dillon, of Showtime's Billions, has called on the major acting awards to jettison gendered acting categories altogether.
Although visibility continues to expand, violence against trans people persists. According to the most recent figures, at least 19 trans people have been killed so far this year, the majority trans women of color. Nevertheless, Wilchins says she's hopeful that will change, encouraged by other recent studies that indicate that binary definitions of gender have less meaning for the next generation.

August 4, 2017

"In A Heartbeat" Watch The Viral Short Animation of a Boy Coming Out

Animation films are for all ages and it can communicate a million emotions, moving beyond just the mushy appearances, and ‘Up’ was certainly a fine example. Now another Pixar-like film is breaking the Internet for all the right reasons. The short film ‘In a Heartbeat’ made by director duo Beth David and Esteban Bravo deals with a young teenager coming out as gay and is melting hearts online.
The movie, which started out as a student thesis project at Ringling College of Art and Design, and had a Kickstarter campaign has become a hit sensation and garnered more than 10 million views on YouTube since it was released on July 31.

The one-of-a kind film shows a young closeted boy struggling to come to terms with his feelings for his peer, just when he is ‘ousted by his own heart’. The 4-minute film is a silent film but it sensitively and beautifully captures every dilemma a person from the LGBTQI community faces. From the fear of acceptance to being frowned upon by others and a broken heart shunned by the societal norms — the film has captured every essence beautifully with dignity.

March 5, 2017

Mr. Gay Syria (A Film by Syrians)

Ayse met Mahmoud in 2011 as she was reporting on the Syrian refugee crisis at the Turkish border. Before accepting to become her fixer, Mahmoud told her: “I’m gay, are you ok with that?”. They struck up a friendship instantly.

As they returned to Istanbul, Mahmoud told Ayse about an ambitious plan: to organise a secret competition to elect - among the refugees in Turkey’s iconic city - a Mr Gay Syria who would then travel to Mister Gay World contest.

Mahmoud’s goal was obviously not to simply pick a good-looking peer but rather to put a spotlight on his community : Syrians who had to run away from war and homophobia, finding themselves in a place that did not accept them either.

We’re running this crowd funding campaign to finish our film and share the important stories of people surviving the greatest humanitarian crisis of our times.

We wanted to show a side of the migration crisis that is rarely portrayed, steering away from the depictions of nameless masses by certain media and politicians. We made a film that could be understood at a human level - getting to know our characters' dreams and aspirations as well as their daily struggles.

For the past three years, we have been following our characters in Turkey, Malta, Germany and Norway.

Please help us finish this documentary so we can share it far and wide.


Ayse Toprak, the director of this film, worked for many years at Al Jazeera reporting from Turkey. On her assignments, she met countless of people, but no one marked her quite as much as Mahmoud Hassino. He was the first LGBT blogger in Syria and her interpreter whilst on assignment at the Turkish-Syrian border.

He is Syrian and openly gay. Being open about your sexuality is an inherent risk in the region. Mahmoud knew the dangers and accepted them, he wanted to show the world that his community matters. That they deserve a voice and representation.

Mahmoud introduced Ayse to Husein, a 23-year-old gay Syrian refugee from Aleppo, now living in Istanbul. Husein's dream was to finally show his true face to the world, to remove his mask. This is why he decided to participate to Mr Gay Syria.

Last but not least, Mr Gay Syria is a proud French-German-Turkish coproduction:

Paris-based Antoine Simkine has been producing films for more than 15 years. His latest release Summer of Sangailé premiered at Sundance and Berlin Film Festival in 2015.

Christine Kiauk has been running Coin Film with fellow producer Herbert Schwering for several years. They've been at the forefront of indie filmmaking in Europe ever since.

Ekin Çalisir is a Turkish filmmaker and journalist based in Istanbul.

  Shot from Mr. Gay Syrian
for their film: learn more on their websiteVideo by  Ayse Toprak

January 10, 2017

‘Indian’ Bollywood Director Careful About His Sexual Orientation-Is He Right?

{Section 377 may be a law about sexual acts, but it camouflages a more sinister agenda}

 Karan Johar

Karan Johar has been rumoured to be gay for a long time. Now, in a recent excerpt from a yet-to-be released biography titled An Unsuitable Boy the Bollywood director seems to have just come out.

Except, as Johar notes himself, he hasn’t actually said it: “Everybody knows what my sexual orientation is. I don’t need to scream it out. And if I need to spell it out, I won’t only because I live in a country where I could possibly be jailed for saying this. Which is why I Karan Johar will not say the three words that possibly everybody knows about me in any case.”

Johar has got flak for this – and not just from the homophobes. He’s been criticised by LGBT activists for not being willing to make an explicit statement at a time when gays and lesbians across the country are increasingly open about their orientation.

If they can be open without fearing prosecution, why can’t he? At a time when it seems increasingly possible to lead a fairly open life as a gay or lesbian, to write about LGBT subjects, make films with LGBT themes, appear on TV quite open about your sexuality, why is Johar reminding us that it is still illegal under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code?

Sinister agenda
Because he is correct, not just about the law and how it appears to operate, but about how it is meant to operate. Section 377 may be a law about sexual acts, but it camouflages a more sinister agenda. A brief look at the history of the law tells a story of far wider significance than a mere sexual act

It took Lord Macaulay (the man who gave us our Penal Code) over 30 years, from 1825-1860 to fine tune the offence of sodomy. Section 377’s predecessor in Macaulay’s first draft of the Penal Code in 1837 was clause 361, which defined a severe punishment for “touching another for the purpose of unnatural lust”. Macaulay, who never married himself, wrote that he wanted “as little as possible should be said” about this issue, abhorring even the idea of any debate or discussion on this “heinous crime”.

This squeamishness may be why we finally ended up with a more cumbersome offence which punishes “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” between men, and also between a man and a woman. Even though neither “carnal”, “intercourse” or the word “nature” was defined, in time they came to stand for any sexual activity that involved ‘penetration’ without ‘procreation’.

But Section 377 always was, and continues to be, a smokescreen law. Its real intention was never to get inside bedrooms of people to catch them having sex, which is both impractical and to an extent not easily possible. The goal behind Section 377 was to create an environment of fear and persecution among people who are likely to partake in “sexual activities against the order of nature”.

This is the link between the archaic wording of the law and the reality of LGBT individuals today. They might not think the crude assumption of a sexual act extends to covering their lives as people whose sexuality is a natural part of themselves, as likely to be criminalised as their height or which hand they use to write. But under the law, as it has been interpreted, the possibility definitely exist.

  Queen Empress v. Khairati  
This was made clear in the 1884 case of Queen Empress v. Khairati, where a hijra was picked up by the police while dancing in a ceremony and arrested under Section 377. According to the case a “eunuch”, was kept under constant “supervision” by the police and arrested upon being “found singing dressed as a woman”.

There was no record of any actual sexual act taking place, but the prosecution argued that incriminating evidence existed: on examination – the record does not state how, or whether consent was involved – the hijra was found to have an anus distorted into the shape of a trumpet. This, the prosecution argued, was the mark of a habitual sodomite, who had committed the offence at “an unknown place, at an unknown time, with an unknown person”.

The Khairati case established that under the law there was a presumption of sex which could make all LGBT people vulnerable, even in the absence of any sexual act. That precedent doesn’t just hold today, but was expanded and made even more explicit in other judgments over the years.

In fact, far from being the almost never used law that it is often assumed to be, the affair of Indian courts with Section 377 that began with Khairati has a very long and interesting life. Courts both before and after Independence have been devoted to finding ways of expanding the scope of Section 377.

Never satisfied with the narrow vision of “gay sex” alone, which could mean anal sex, in the much cited case of Khanu v Emperor (1925) they added oral sex to its scope. The courts used two essential parameters under S 377: (a) Existence of penetrative intercourse with an orifice, and (b) Impossibility of conception, thus against the order of nature.

To determine whether there could have been penetration, the judges defined intercourse as, “a temporary visitation to one organism by another... The primary object of the visiting organisation is to obtain euphoria by means of a detent of the nerves consequent on the sexual crisis”.

Thus as long as there is an orifice (in this instance, the mouth) which can envelop the “penis” and provide sexual climax, it qualifies as carnal intercourse. This logic was extended to also include acts of masturbation between two men under the scope of Section 377, bringing us closer to the earlier definition of ‘touching’ contemplated by Macaulay.

The case of Noshirwan vs Emperor (1934) makes it clear how the law was used to stigmatise. In this case a neighbour forcibly committed two young adult men to the police station for sodomy. The two accused were released and their conviction set aside as the act of the sodomy was never completed, although the judge did reprimand one of the men, Ratansi, as a “despicable” specimen of humanity for being addicted to the “vice of a catamite” on his own admission. As with Khairati we see the association of the person, a habitual sodomite or a catamite, with the act, rather than the act in isolation.

Thus a better way to understand the law in the present times, if we must stick to a sexual definition, is that it proscribes any kind of same sex intimacy, no matter how it expresses itself. In the year 2007, an English tourist called Desmond Hope was caught kissing another man behind a church in Colva, Goa, and arrested under 377, under a false charge of indulging in “gay sex”.

The police allegedly asked Hope for a hefty bribe of Rs.50,000 – a confirmation of how the most effective use of the law has actually been in enabling blackmail. When Hope refused the police booked him in jail, where he spent over 30 days – under both judicial and media scrutiny – before finally being acquitted.

Hope’s account is an extreme example of the kind of harassment same-sex couples have faced regularly across the country under the garb of Section 377. While, most of us escape by paying a bribe, Hope’s defiance only landed him in actual prison time.

False charges
An even more egregious case was that of Arif Jafar and three other employees of Naz International, a Lucknow-based HIV-prevention organisation. In 2001 they were arrested under false charges of Section 377 and kept in jail for over 45 days before being acquitted. No sexual act was said to have taken place. The only evidence deemed necessary for the police to charge them with sodomy was the material on safe sex practices that they possessed to disseminate against the spread of HIV. This got them charged with running “sex rackets” and “promoting homosexuality”.

Both Jafar and Desmond were finally acquitted, yet they ended up spending more than 30 days in prison. Their only crime was that they were gay. As far as the police was concerned, they applied the law correctly, to its true meaning, to arrest gay men for being gay.

Section 377 was always about the individual, which in the 19th century was the “abhorrent unnamed Khairati”, in early mid-20th century the “sexually depraved” and now in modern times stands proudly as the gay man. The fact that people aren’t being arrested doesn’t mean that they can’t be, or that they can’t be threatened with the harassment of the charge.

Johar understands this clearly when he writes, “The reason I don’t say it out aloud is simply that I don’t want to be dealing with the FIRs. I’m very sorry. I have a job, I have a commitment to my company, to my people who work for me; there are over a hundred people that I’m answerable to. I’m not going to sit in the courts because of ridiculous, completely bigoted individuals who have no education, no intelligence, who go into some kind of rapture for publicity.”

LGBT activists aren’t wrong when they note that so many brave people are coming out and leading their lives openly in India. But they should not in true conscience say that Johar is wrong either. The presumption of being gay, and of this being a criminal offense, is still very much alive and menacing in India today.

December 29, 2016

Debbie Reynolds’ Films

July 13, 2016

Why doesTakei (Sulo) Criticizes Character Being Gay Even though He Himself is Gay

‘Pegg was right to make sexuality a facet of an existing character’. John Cho as Sulu, with Zoe Saldana as Uhura, in Star Trek Beyond. Photograph: Everett/Rex/Shutterstock
It was such a marvelous event to make a character that all Trekkers respect and love Sulo gay.
You would think that the character he represents which happens to be gay would be honored. But Takei which played Sulo on the original series wasn’t so thrilled about it. The 79-year-old actor told The Hollywood Reporter that while he's "delighted that there's a gay character," he doesn't think it should have been Sulu, or any of the original characters. 

"Unfortunately, it's a twisting of Gene's creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it's really unfortunate," Takei said, referring to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry's original intentions for Sulu.

Takei reportedly shared his apprehensions over a gay Sulu when he heard the news from Cho last year that Sulu would have a husband in the next film. Takei also advised Beyond director Justin Lin to create a new, gay character when Lin called him about it, THR reported. 

Actor Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty and co-wrote the screenplay for Star Trek Beyond with Doug Jung, told The Guardian that he disagrees with Takei.

"Justin Lin, Doug Jung and I loved the idea of it being someone we already knew because the audience have a pre-existing opinion of that character as a human being, unaffected by any prejudice," Pegg said. "Their sexual orientation is just one of many personal aspects, not the defining characteristic."

Takei, who spoke at the University of South Florida earlier this year, has been an outspoken activist for LGBT rights and diversity in Hollywood for years.

Takei is showing his age with his anti gay Sulo comments. He wants the show to stay faithful to Roddenberry who was notorious for changing stories at a wimp and went just by instinct in many occasions. He would probably be the first one to say what a nice change. But wether he agreed with it or not the importance here is that by placing a gay character in such a high position on a show loved by millions without making any fuzz, it shows that is the real gay character of today. We want no fuzz we want just what everyone else has, no more and no less. It translates in such a true message that some people have not yet realized.

We have Pride day with a parade because we had to show on our bad times that we were here because for centuries we have been here but hiding. Even people that loved us wanted us in the closet. As long as we don’t talk about it as long as we don’t show it. But the way to show we are here and like everyone else is to show it and Takei knows that among the whole crew of the Enterprise with the percentages of Gay and Lesbians in the community as we now know, there had to be at least one gay or lesbian in that crew. To bring a new character as gay would be to be making a fuzz about being gay and about wanting to be special in the show who would need a gay token as homophobes would say it.  The right way to introduce someone gay to the Enterprise is the exactly the way is being done with smarts and class.

Star Trek Beyond opens in theaters July 21.

Adam Gonzalez  the Net as source.

With special remembrance to a very special actor Anton Yelchin, who was 27 at the time of his death, portrayed Chekov in the film.

June 2, 2016

It’s Time Gay SuperHeroes Were Portrayed Accurately on Film


The Twitterverse has spoken. Last week #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend trended on Twitter, just weeks after #GiveElsaAGirlfriend trended. Both called for greater LGBT representation in Hollywood.
One director heard these cries and decided to take matters into his own hands, producing a trailer to show what better LGBT representation could look like.

Mike Buonaiuto has produced a trailer video calling on studios like Marvel and DC to include LGBT characters in their films, and to give "LGBT kids a hero they can look up to."

"Iceman, Mystique and Catwoman are LGBT in the comic books, but appear as straight on screen," the video says. "So, we imagined a story where all superheroes could be portrayed accurately."

"Growing up I used to love characters like Iceman, Mystique and Catwoman, but never realised they were originally written as LGBT in the comic books and therefore affectively stripped of their sexuality when they hit the big screen," Buonaiuto told Mashable.

"It's such a shame because when I was 'coming out' as, having positive icons and role models of LGBT people in mass media would have be a huge confidence boost to myself and millions of others who look up to characters such as superheroes," he continued.

Recent figures taken from GLAAD's 2016 Studio Responsibility Index show that only 17.5% of 126 major studio films released in 2015 contained characters who identified as LGBT. Furthermore, only eight of the 22 films to include LGBT characters passed GLAAD's Vito Russo Test, which examines the way LGBT characters are portrayed in films.

Buonaiuto says it's time for studios to accurately portray superheroes' sexuality on screen.

The video will be delivered to Marvel and DC studios in a "physical package" complete with website analytics to demonstrate the size of the audience, according to Buonaiuto.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. 

February 24, 2016

White House Screens Black Gay Film Celebrating BH Month


Today, the White House will screen the documentary “Holler If You Hear Me: Black and Gay in the Church,” in what the film’s director calls “the embodiment of the success of the Obama administration.”

BET entertainment editor Clay Cane, who shot the film in the Atlanta area last spring, does not come from a religious background himself, but as gay black man, “You can’t avoid religion. It’s a constant part of the conversation,” he told MSNBC on Tuesday. Because of the black church’s role as a place of both refuge and a source of revolution during slavery, Jim Crow and civil rights movement, the African-American community enjoy a unique relationship with its houses of worship. But for black LGBT people, according to the film, the church has become “a space of oppression.”

The one-hour film looks at couples “shunned” by their families, as well as clergy members marginalized and youth abandoned all because of their sexual orientation. The rationale behind all of the intolerance is almost always religion, but in the black community paranoia about perceived threats to traditional masculinity plays a role as well. As one openly gay choir director says in the film, you can be “anything but gay” in the black community.

The White House’s decision to screen this film for Black History Month speaks to the president’s evolution on gay rights. Obama has shifted from a candidate who staunchly opposed same-sex marriage to a sitting president who openly embraced it prior to his re-election in 2012. His decision to back marriage equality has been credited with shifting the needle on public approval. The majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage, and while numbers in the black community still lag behind the national average, they did begin to tick up after Obama’s endorsement.

“I will tell you … that African-Americans thought differently,” said Cane, who also cited first lady Michelle Obama’s DNC speech in 2012 — when she told the audience that her husband wants opportunity for all, no matter ”who we love” — as a crucial moment for LGBT black Americans. “I wouldn’t be there under any other administration,” added Cane about his upcoming White House visit. “This shows the inclusiveness of the Obama administration.”

Besides his support for anti-hate crime legislation and his role in ending “don’t ask, don’t tell,” Obama has taken his pro-gay rights message directly to communities of color here and internationally as well. In 2013, he clashed publicly with the president of Senegal over the homophobic policies of his government, and he has also condemned anti-gay Ugandan laws. The president has also made more subtle gestures, like honoring the late, great, openly gay civil rights icon Bayard Rustin that same year and paying homage to the first openly gay NFL athlete, Michael Sam, in 2014.
He had to undo the sins of the Clinton administration to make some great gains for the LGBT community,” said Cane.

Still, despite undeniable progress under Obama, “Holler If You Hear Me” powerfully portrays the uphill battle so many black LGBT people face when they are forced to choose between their faith and “living an authentic life.”
“If you want to meet a whole bunch of black gay folks just go to the black church,” jokes Cane, referring to his belief that many LGBT African-Americans not only stay closeted but sit idly by while their pastors and fellow parishioners denigrate them and refuse to affirm their relationships. Cane said that while making the film he learned to be a lot less judgmental of people who make that choice because for them “walking away from your church is like walking away from [your] family.” And while gay people have been serving in black congregations for years, they simply want the “right to exist” within their communities of faith.

According to Cane, BET, where he has worked for eight years, has been nothing but supportive in his endeavor. The network backed the project from the beginning both philosophically and financially, and Cane remains “very optimistic” about future projects and the cause of gay rights. Case in point: One of the most stirring moments of the film features an encounter between Cane, who is openly gay, and a devout woman who refuses to approve of her daughter’s marriage to another female. Cane says that although some audiences have recoiled at the woman’s position, the fact that she even spoke to him on camera is a small ray of hope.
“I’m more concerned about people living on the fringe of society like I was,” said Cane, who promises that his next film project will “shake up and disturb as many people as possible.”


Would we ever again have both a President and Vice President constantly working for LGBT rights?

Vice Pres. Biden Joins Gay’s HRC  together with world company leaders in Davos:

As world leaders congregated in Davos, Switzerland during the World Economic Forum's annual meeting last month, HRC hosted a global equality round table for business leaders and industry influencers with longtime HRC supporter and LGBT ally Vice President Joe Biden.
 "When you speak up, you change the conversation," Biden told the round table participants, which included CEOs from Coca-Cola, Dow, Deloitte and UPS. Hosts of the meeting included HRC President Chad Griffin, President of Microsoft Brad Smith and Anthony Scaramucci, the founder of SkyBridge Capital.
"LGBT people should have a fair chance to earn a living and provide for their families no matter where they live, and leaders of the world's foremost companies can and should provide equal treatment and protections for their LGBT employees," Griffin said. "They are also powerful voices in making the case globally that equality and inclusion in the workplace are both common sense and good business sense."

January 7, 2016

Aban+Khorshid 2 Gay Iranian Lovers Film Winner of 6 Awards Opens


 In honor of Human Rights Day Dec. 10, 2015, the award winning short film "ABAN + KHORSHID" has been released worldwide on Vimeo, where it will be featured as a Staff Pick:

"ABAN + KHORSHID" is an intimate and vulnerable portrait of two forbidden lovers, glimpsing into the world in which they met and fell in love.

Based on a 2005 Iranian photo that was taken of two men on the day they were executed for being gay, "ABAN + KHORSHID" depicts the atrocious and inhumane executions still happening around the world today based purely on sexual orientation.

The filmmakers hope that the timing of the release will help raise awareness for organizations working to end persecution of LGBTQ people around the globe. Viewers are encouraged to share the 13-minute film and tag their favorite human rights organization along with the hashtag #LOVEisbeingEXECUTED. At the end of December, the filmmakers will make a donation to three of the organizations recommended by viewers.

"The story told in 'ABAN + KHORSHID' is a story that is still being repeated in many countries around the world," said writer/director Darwin Serink.

"People have been moved by the film, but we hope with this release that they will also feel moved to support organizations that are working to end these atrocities," said Tommee May, founder of Come What May Productions, which produced the film.

"ABAN + KHORSHID" won the Short Film Competition Special Jury Award at the Seattle International Film Festival, the Jury Award for Best LGBT Short Film at the Cleveland International Film Festival, Best in Fest at the Palm Springs Short Fest and Best Short Film, Audience Award at the Mix Film Festival Brazil. It previously screened at the Cannes Emerging Filmmakers Showcase, American Pavillion and won Best LGBT Short. Additionally, the film has been seen in over 40 film festivals world wide.

If you only had a few hours left to live, what would you share with the love of your life? What would you tell the person you're dying for, to comfort them and ease them into death? Aban and Khorshid explore these questions in the hours before they are executed for loving each other.

In these final moments, Aban and Khorshid share their fears, their dreams and their understanding of what life and love really means.

[pride source]

September 4, 2015

China Censors Approves Gay Movie


Chinese censors have approved public screenings of a movie featuring gay characters in leading roles for the first time, in a landmark ruling that has been hailed as a sign of change in the world’s most populous nation.

Seek McCartney, a romance that centres on a relationship between two gay men - one French, one Chinese – will become the first film of its kind to screen in Chinese cinemas. Director Wang Chao broke the news via a post on the Chinese version of Twitter, Weibo. “This is a small step for the film department,” he said. “And a big step for the members of the film industry.”
Homosexuality was decriminalized in China in 1997 and removed from a list of mental illnesses in 2001, but same-sex marriages and domestic partnerships remain forbidden and many families, institutions and even educational textbooks still treat gay relationships as a problem that needs to be fixed. Attitudes are complicated by the fact that the country tolerated same-sex affairs for much of its history, according to Richard Burger, author of Behind the Red Door, a history of sex in China, but such permissive attitudes applied only when homosexual relationships manifested in addition to “traditional” male-female couplings, and these days there is often relentless family pressure to marry and have children.

Xing Fei, of the Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences, estimated in 2013 that as many as 12m gay men are married to straight women. Work pressures on employees to show they are settled into wedlock can be extreme: many gay Chinese people report being passed over for promotion and even fired without justifiable cause. Gay-straight conversion clinics are widespread, though a landmark case in December last year ruled “gay cure” treatments involving hypnosis and electric shocks were illegal.
Seek McCartney is a Chinese-French co-production, with the local contribution also helping to explain why censors handed it a release spot. China allows only 34 films a year made by foreign film companies to screen at the world’s second-largest box office, as it seeks to foster interest in home-produced movies and protect them in the face of competition from Hollywood fare. Foreign films given permission to screen are rarely those with adult-orientated themes and tend to be blockbuster fantasy productions with little or no controversial content. The censor has been known to mount rapid U-turns: in 2013 the blood-soaked Quentin Tarantino western Django Unchained was pulled from cinemas after less than a day on release following complaints about a full-frontal nude scene featuring the film’s lead actor, Jamie Foxx.

Experts warned that Seek McCartney’s approval should not necessarily be hailed as a sign of a relaxation of censors’ usually prudish attitudes. “The fact that this film can be released in theatres doesn’t mean gay films in the future will be able to released in China,” LGBT film-maker and rights activist Fan Popo told AFP. “China’s system for evaluating films is still very unstable, because the rules are very unclear. It depends heavily on the individual censor’s whims.”

August 21, 2015

Gay Film “Pride” Runs in Anti Gay Russia to a Standing Ovation

The Russian poster for ‘Pride' (Photo: Arthouse/Instagram)

Hit British film Pride (2014) was released in Russia, despite the country’s outlawing of “gay propaganda”.

A distributor called Arthouse, specialising in independent and foreign films, has taken on the British comedy, which premiered at last year’s Cannes film festival. Directed by Matthew Warchus, the film centres on LGBT support of the 1984 miners’ strike. The beginning and end of the narrative take place at the annual Pride parade in London; in June 2012, Moscow courts enacted a hundred-year ban on such gay pride parades.

Arthouse was founded in March this year by Sam Klebanov. His previous company Cinema Without Frontiers, which distributed lesbian romance film Blue Is the Warmest Colour, suffered financial collapse.

Homosexuality is legal in Russia, but difficulties faced by LGBT individuals and groups have increased in recent years. In 2013, Russian lawmakers banned “propaganda” that promotes “non-traditional sexual relations”, with scrutiny even extending to so-called “gay emojis”. In line with the law, Pride will carry an 18+ certificate.

**The film is a success
 [‘Pride’ screened in theaters despite the country's anti-gay laws]

In a city where gay pride parades are banned and LGBT activists are routinely arrested for staging demonstrations, a movie about gay rights premiered without so much as a protest. Pride, the British comedy that was released internationally last year,  made its Russian debut in Moscow last week. Based on the true story of gay activists who united to help a U.K. miners' union in 1984, the movie has since been screened in more than a dozen theaters across seven cities nationwide, according to the Hollywood Reporter. 

Its release is notable considering the country's anti-gay law, which bans "propaganda" that promotes "non-traditional sexual relationships" to minors. The 2013 drama Blue is the Warmest Color was the last LGBT-themed movie released in Russia, the same year as president Vladimir Putin signed the anti-gay bill into law. The legislation came a year after Moscow courts decided to prohibit gay pride parades, a ruling that has drawn criticism from human rights organizations around the world. LGBT activists have risked arrest to host the Moscow Pride Parade every year for a decade.

"As the Western World is becoming more liberal about same-sex marriage, Russia is rolling back to the dark ages with its anti-gay propaganda law," Russian film distributor Yan Vizinberg told The Reporter. His company, Arthouse, rallied to release the film nationwide, despite being given a restrictive rating that prevents anyone under the age of 18 from seeing it. 

Vizinberg and partner Sam Klebanov said local reactions to the film have been overwhelmingly positive, with the Moscow premiere earning a standing ovation.

Jennifer Swann is TakePart’s culture and lifestyle reporter. 

March 28, 2015

Five Gay Films going Global in the name of Human Rights…and Love…gay Love

A still from Chance
 Chance, by Jake Graf, is about a chance meeting on a park bench. Photograph: BFI

Five gay-themed films are to be made available free of charge to a worldwide audience and actively promoted in more than 70 countries, the British Council and the British Film Institute will announce on Wednesday.
The bold initiative is about showing support for freedom and equality and getting the message over that “love is a basic human right,” said Alan Gemmell, the British Council director who hit upon the idea about six months ago.
All five films have been chosen from BFI Flare, the UK’s leading Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender film festival, which opens on Thursday.
Each one will be on the BFI player during the 10-day festival and on Wednesday 25 March there will be a “fiveFilms4freedom” campaign day, when people will be encouraged via social media to come together to watch a film.
The five films chosen are Chance, a self-funded film by Jake Graf about two older men with troubled pasts finding love after a chance encounter in a park; Code Academy, about a girl masquerading as a boy in cyberspace to get the girl of her dreams; Morning is Broken, a coming of age drama set in the English countryside; True Wheel, a documentary about a Detroit bicycle workshop for the city’s gay, transgender and women’s communities; and An Afternoon, about a teenage boy plucking up the courage to tell another boy how much he fancies him.
Gemmell said most gay people remembered watching a film or seeing something that helped them in their lives. “I hope this endeavour will do that in places where it is hard to see that content, where you might be lonely or scared. 
“What we’ve really done is select a bunch of films I think are about love – young love, older love, unrequited love and learning what love is. We’re saying that love is a basic human right and it is something we all share.”
The availability of the films will be actively promoted in more than 70 countries, including China, India, Ukraine, Poland and Israel, where Gemmell is based. 
For obvious reasons, that promotion won’t happen in many of the 77 countries where homosexuality is still illegal, including Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt and Uganda. 
“We have been absolutely clear throughout this that there was some risk to doing a festival in this way,” said Gemmell, and he added they were working closely with partners including the Foreign Office and the UN “to make sure we do things in the right way and that we have the widest possible reach for our films”. 
Tricia Tuttle, the BFI’s deputy director of festivals, said: “Queer filmmakers have delivered some of cinema’s most striking, vital, challenging, provocative and beautiful films and BFI Flare has been key in bringing these to UK audiences over the last 29 years.
“We’re thrilled this partnership will open up the festival to audiences around the world, giving millions of people the opportunity to enjoy great new LGBT films.”
James Taylor, the head of campaigns at Stonewall, said the initiative would bring together the international LGBT community. “In 77 countries around the world it is still illegal to be gay, and in five it is punishable by death, so the opportunity to showcase LGBT stories and filmmakers worldwide is fantastic.”
Gemmell said the BFI Player, created in 2013, was a transformative thing. “It means we can reach a lot of people at once and bring the conversations together. I really hope we will have people around the world sharing on social media and showing that gay rights, freedom and equality are things the majority of us believe in.”
BFI Flare meanwhile opens on Thursday with the UK premiere of I Am Michael, a true story that stars James Franco as a gay activist who renounces his sexuality after he finds God. 
This year’s program me includes more than 50 feature films and 100 shorts and will take place in London until 29 March when the closing film will be Malcolm Ingram’s Out to Win, charting the experience of LGBT sportspeople who have reached the top of their fields, with contributions from Martina Navratilova and the basketball players John Amaechi and Justin Collins.
 Arts correspondent                          

February 14, 2015

Three Generations of Oral Sex inThree minutes

As I looked for anything on ‘Good will Hunting’ that LogoTV might have produced or shown, etc’ I saw Their leading story today and I could not resist sharing with my audience:

Watch Three Generation Of Gay Sex In Just Three Minutes

gay sex
Leo Herrera follows up his 2013 short film The Fortune Teller with 3 Eras Of Gay Sex In 3 Minutes, an examination of  the coded sexual communication among gay men from pre-Stonewall cruising and glory holes, to hanky codes and leather bars in the ’70s and ’80s, and the fast-food sex of hookup apps today. 
“This film is about sharing a facet of our history that is rarely represented in mainstream gay media,” says Herrera. “While I applaud the strides we’ve made in our mainstream visibility, it sometimes comes at the expense of our sexuality.”
“Gay fetish is treated as a punchline, or punished with disease,” he adds. “There is an inherent romance to cruising, a jolt of electricity to our secrets and codes, that’s what this clip is about.”

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