Watch an Intimate Scene Between Young Men in 'Charlie'

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Charlie Movie starring Shawn Ryan

Breaking Glass Pictures

Written and directed by Shawn Ryan (Bones, America’s Got Talent), who also plays the film’s title character, a young man named Charlie who goes mute after putting his abusive past behind him and then faints in front of the Sanderson family home on Christmas Eve.

“Charlie” was nominated for the Emerging Filmmaker Award in the American Pavilion at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, and Ryan won Best Actor at the Riverbend Film Festival. The film was also recognized as the Best Short at the Gulf Coast Film Festival, and Best International Short at the Shropshire Film Festival.

You can watch it now on

Camp Sites: Classic camp horror films for Halloween

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Southern Rites: A Reminder of the Parallels of Prejudice

Editorial:  Yesterday a judge decided that a bakery had shown prejudice against a gay man by taking his order and payment for a cake, and then calling him back some days later to state that they couldn’t fulfil his order because it was against their Christian principles to promote ‘gay marriage equality’.  The gay man did not seek to have this action in the courts, at no time as has been stated, did he seek to ‘set-up’ the bakery (Loose Women/Janet Street-Porter).

It is obvious from the comments made by our politicians following the judgement, that they cannot separate church from state.  The links between church and state in the UK are, nowadays, mostly a formality and the governance of the UK is relatively secular, although the Lords Spiritual have a significant influence when they vote as a bloc on certain issues, notably abortion and euthanasia.

As Slugger O’Toole penned, “…When it comes to separating Church from State I believe that many of our Unionist politicians are out of step with the views of the majority of Unionist voters….”

The following article on prejudice in the Southern States of the USA, show how legislation and political statements don’t remove prejudice, only a concerted action by all involved with a recognition of everyone’s equal rights will enable a balanced, forwarding looking society.


republished from the The Advocate – BY TRUDY RING  –  MAY 18 2015 6:00 AM ET

A new documentary about racial tensions in rural Georgia reminds us what all types of bigotry have in common.

Sha'von Patterson holds a photo of himself and his older brother, Justin, as children. The new documentary Southern Rites addresses Justin's violent death and its consequences.

Sha’von Patterson holds a photo of himself and his older brother, Justin, as children. The new documentary Southern Rites addresses Justin’s violent death and its consequences.

Sha’von Patterson holds a photo of himself and his older brother, Justin, as children. The new documentary Southern Rites addresses Justin’s violent death and its consequences.

Over the past year, events in Baltimore, New York, and Ferguson, Mo., have provided ample evidence that America’s racial problems are far from solved. A new HBO documentary drives the point home as well — and its director is quick to note parallels between racism and anti-LGBT bigotry.

“It’s all about discrimination and civil rights — it’s all connected,” says Gillian Laub, whose directorial debut,Southern Rites, premieres tonight on the cable channel. And all prejudice, she notes, is about fear of the unknown.

Laub has spent most of her career as a photographer; one of her earlier projects was a multimedia piece called “Becoming Nikki,” about a 10-year-old transgender girl, commissioned by Peoplemagazine in 2013. Another project was documenting the racially segregated proms at Montgomery County High School in rural Georgia, and that’s what gave rise to Southern Rites.

Laub, who is based in New York City, had been photographing the separate proms for several years, and in 2009, The New York Times Magazine published her photo essay on the subject. National outrage led the school to finally have an integrated prom for all students. Laub continued to travel to Montgomery County; “I thought I was going back to kind of show the prom in transition,” she says. But she found far more than that, exposing continued racial tensions.

Norman Neesmith, a white resident of neighboring Toombs County, was arrested in January 2011 for shooting and killing Justin Patterson, a 22-year-old black man Laub had photographed at a prom years earlier. Neesmith’s 18-year-old great-niece, Danielle, whom he had raised after her mother abandoned her, and a friend of hers had invited Patterson and his brother Sha’von to the Neesmith home, apparently for sexual encounters. Neesmith was sleeping when the young men arrived, but he woke up, confronted them, and a fight ensued, ending in Justin’s death.

While Neesmith was facing trial in 2012, Calvin Burns, the well-respected police chief of Mount Vernon, the Montgomery County seat, was seeking election as county sheriff, hoping to become the first African-American to hold the post. Juxtaposing these two stories, Southern Rites explores the role of race in the region, making it clear that bigotry against black residents has not been erased.

It also makes clear that the situation is complicated; as much as Norman Neesmith may incite viewers to anger, it would be an oversimplification to say he’s a hopelessly racist villain. For one thing, Danielle, whom he says he loves deeply, is part African-American. “I think he’s a complicated and flawed human being, like most of us,” Laub says of Neesmith. “He’s very nuanced.”

Laub, a straight woman who is a passionate LGBT ally, notes that she’s met some Montgomery County residents who are facing homophobia along with racism. The prom king at one year’s black prom, she says, came out to her and asked what he should do with his life, as he felt there was no place for him as a black gay man in rural Georgia. But he’s still there and actually doing well, she says.

A recurring theme in her work, she says, is “trying to bring out people’s truth,” whether it’s the story of the “incredibly brave” transgender girl Nikki or race relations in the Deep South. Her next project will take her back to transgender issues; it’s a film about trans people in the military, who still face discharge if their status becomes known. Laub adds that she can’t provide any details just yet.

Meanwhile, as Southern Rites premieres, a companion photo and video exhibit has just opened at New York City’s Benrubi Gallery, where it runs through June 27. There is also a companion photo book, and Laub will give a lecture before a special screening of the film at Dartmouth College May 26.

Laub stresses that while the film, which has John Legend as an executive producer and features a song by him, deals with serious and pressing issues, it’s not all downbeat. For instance, several scenes show teens of all races having fun together and saying how ridiculous they found the idea of segregated proms. “I do want to note the progress there has been and that there is hope,” she says.

Southern Rites premieres tonight at 9 Eastern on HBO; check your local listings. For more information about the film, the exhibit, and related events, go to a trailer for the film below.

Watch: That's Not Us Trailer


That's Not Us


The film That’s Not Us explores sex and relationships with a fresh perspective through the story of three young couples —­ one gay, one lesbian, and one straight — as they travel to a beach house to enjoy the last days of summer. Set to premiere May 23 at InsideOut, Toronto’s LGBT film festival,Out‘s debuting the trailer of the micro-budget indie film today.

“We wanted to make a movie about young gay men and women in committed relationships,” says William Sullivan, the film’s director. “We wanted to show characters who aren’t stereotypes or comedic relief, but are deep, thoughtful and emotionally complex human beings.”

That’s Not Us is available for pre-order now at Watch the trailer below:


GLAAD: LGBT Characters All But Disappeared in Movies

GLAAD’s 2015 survey reports that only 17.5 percent of Hollywood studio films featured LGBT characters — and gives failing grades to Sony and Disney.

Republished from The Advocate: BY ADAM SANDEL  APRIL 15 2015 11:40 AM ET

GLAAD monitored films such as The Interview with Eminem.

GLAAD monitored films such as The Interview with Eminem.

In its third annual survey of LGBT representation in Hollywood movies, GLAAD reports that only 17.5 percent of studio releases featured queer characters — and many of them appear only fleetingly.

No studio earned an “excellent” grade in GLAAD’s report. Warner Bros. was graded “good,” Fox, Lionsgate, Paramount and Universal were deemed “adequate,” while Sony and Disney “failed.”

Although fewer defamatory LGBT images appeared in Hollywood films than in years past, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Horrible Bosses 2, and the Will Ferrell comedy Get Hard featured damaging attitudes and stereotypes.

“More inclusive portrayals of LGBT characters are being seen on television and through streamed content than ever before,” says GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “But according to GLAAD’s third annual Studio Responsibility Index, released today, America’s major film studios lag far behind other media when it comes to nuanced portrayals of LGBT people.” Ellis also explores the findings of this year’s report in this Hollywood Reporter column.

Read the complete 2015 Studio Responsibility Index.

GLAAD monitored films such as The Interview with Eminem.


Good Will Hunting, a gay scene?

Yes, Ben Affleck And Matt Damon Put A Gay Sex Scene In ‘Good Will Hunting’ Script

Posted: Updated:

There was once a gay sex scene in the script of “Good Will Hunting.”

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were rookie screenwriters when they wrote the 1997 film about a gifted janitor working at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They ultimately decided to go with Miramax Films, then run by Harvey Weinstein, to distribute the movie. Weinstein, whose company was known for independent and foreign flicks, beat out the competition for one reason: he actually read the script, and noticed the scene seemed out of place.

“Every studio wanted the movie, every studio wanted them to be in the movie and make this film,” Weinstein said on “The Graham Norton” show earlier this month. “They were young kids, just really starting out, but they had some good roles behind them. They came to my office, and I read the script [before] the meeting, and we walked in and everything was pleasant, and then about 10 minutes into the meeting I said, ‘Guys, there’s just one thing on the script … I just have one really big note. About page 60, the two professors give each other oral sex and they’re on their knees andthis whole big sex scene. What the hell is that? Because the guys are straight, and there’s no hint of anything like that … I don’t get that scene.'”

Apparently, the inclusion was a purposeful one.

“They go, ‘That’s the scene that we wrote to find out whether guys in your job actually read the script, because every studio executive we went to … no one brought that scene up, or maybe people thought it was a mistake or maybe nobody read it themselves.’ They said, ‘You’re the only guy that brought it up. You get the movie.'”

Affleck and Damon had originally sold the rights to Castle Rock, but they began suspecting no one at the company was actually reading the rewrites the two were instructed to hand in. Or at least not reading them very closely.

“We were so frustrated that Castle Rock wasn’t reading the script, so we felt like we had to develop this test,” Affleck told Boston Magazine in 2013. “We started writing in screen direction like, ‘Sean talks to Will and unloads his conscience.’ And then: ‘Will takes a moment and then gives Sean a soulful look and leans in and starts blowing him’ … We would turn that in, and they wouldn’t ever mention all those scenes where Sean and Will were jerking each other off.”

“Good Will Hunting” went on to gross over $200 million worldwide. The film earned Affleck and Damon the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, as well as the Best Supporting Actor award for Robin Williams.

Still fighting for equality: So So Gay speaks to Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners

We have yet to hear anything negative about Pride, 2014’s UK film highlight. Tracking the fascinating real-life friendship forged between a Welsh mining community and a group of London-based LGB activists at the height of the strikes, the film has struck a chord with audiences worldwide. We were keen to find out a little more about what has become of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners in the years that have passed, so caught up for a chat with Martin Goodsell and Brett Haran, the group’s treasurers and founder members of LGSM.

So So Gay: Hi, how are you both today?

LGSM: We’re both very well, thank you. Thanks for asking us about our involvement in LGSM. We know there’s lots of interest in the group following the huge success of Pride.

What have you been doing with yourselves in the 30 years since the events depicted inPride?

Quite a lot of things, as you can imagine, over such a long period of time. We’ve continued to be involved in various political campaigns over the years. In addition to our campaigning work, we both became dads to two delightful kids: a daughter, now 29, and a son, now 23. They’re both really proud and fascinated by what their dads and their comrades were involved in all those years ago.

lgsmSo how do you feel about the positive response to the film?

We think it’s been fantastic. The reviews have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic; many people have said they can’t remember the last time they found a film so moving, uplifting, joyous and life affirming. It really seems to have struck a chord, with many people saying there was spontaneous applause at the end of the film.

Do you feel it’s an accurate portrayal of events?

Well, the film is obviously not a documentary. It’s a dramatised account that’s aiming to get the story and its key message across to as wide an audience as possible. Some elements of the film have been fictionalised for dramatic effect, but the essential story as depicted in the film is very definitely an accurate portrayal.

Before the film came out, many of us felt that the amazing story of the coming together of our two communities – LGBT and the miners – could so easily have been forgotten. The film has ensured this is no longer the case and that’s very gratifying. It’s an important part of working class and LGBT history. As a direct result of LGSM’s involvement in the strike, the National Union of Mineworkers supported a motion which secured the Labour Party’s formal manifesto commitment to lesbian and gay equality – which led to significant advances for LGBT rights in the UK when Labour finally returned to power in the late 90s.

This includes the equalisation of the age of consent, outlawing discrimination against LGBT people in employment and the provision of goods and services, the inclusion of homophobia in the definition of hate crimes, repealing Section 28 and the introduction of civil partnerships, which paved the way for marriage equality.

To what extent do you feel the gay rights movement has become less political?

As a community we’ve achieved many goals over the last 30 years – we’ve just mentioned some of the key achievements in terms of equalities legislation. Because of these successes there’s a danger in thinking that the politics has gone and it’s now more about lifestyle. But there are plenty of stories in the press and online that show us that violence and discrimination against LGBT people – including homophobic bullying in schools – are still depressingly common and need to be confronted. We can’t be complacent and need to continue to support and defend the rights of LGBT people at home and abroad. In political terms, we’re still the target of abuse and hostility from those on the far right including Ukip. This must be challenged and exposed for the naked bigotry that it is. Thankfully, there are still plenty of people, LGBT and straight, who are committed to tackling these issues, through grass roots campaigns, community organisations and the trade unions.

Are you still in touch with any of the miners or their families?

We’ve seen Sian James on a couple of occasions over the last few years, but it was only at the premiere of the film Pride that we caught up again with many of our old friends from the Welsh mining communities.

What do you consider the greatest political challenges for the trade union movement and the LGBT community in 2014?

The biggest challenge for the trade union movement is the continuing fight against the government’s austerity measures, with cuts in public services and attacks on welfare. Some of the poorest and most vulnerable people are bearing the brunt of these measures. It’s very much an ‘us and them’, ‘divide and rule’ agenda. Just like 30 years ago during the miners’ strike, people are being scapegoated. The trade unions must continue to stand up for these people and give them a voice.

It’s important for us in the LGBT community to show solidarity with communities coming under attack. The gains we have made as LGBT people have come about when we have made common cause with others who have been fighting for their rights. The message of the Pridefilm demonstrates this perfectly.

lgsm-3-1-publicity-copy-of-a3-poster-pits-and-pervertsLGSM has regrouped. How has that been for you?

It’s been an incredibly emotional and inspirational experience. We had kept in touch with many of our old LGSM friends over the last 30 years but through the film and the regrouping of LGSM, we’ve also met friends and comrades again that we hadn’t seen for almost 30 years.

What does the future hold for the group?

It’s exciting how much energy and commitment there is for getting involved in new campaigns around LGBT issues and wider solidarity campaigns. There’s been an incredible amount of interest in LGSM generated by the film and not only in the UK but around the world.

We are planning to go back down to Dulais in March 2015 to mark the 30th anniversary of the end of the strike. We can’t wait to see if Jonathan will be able to match the dancing skills of his film counterpart when we find ourselves once again in the Onllwyn miners’ welfare hall! We are also looking to have a high profile presence at London Pride 2015, to mark the historic 30th anniversary of the miners and their families leading the Pride march in a show of solidarity with the LGBT community.


So So Gay readers can purchase a Pits & Perverts t-shirt, as sown in the film, directly from Martin by email at All proceeds go to supporting the campaigning work of LGSM. You can also follow LGSM on Twitter: (@LGSMpride)

Just in time for Thanksgiving, here’s the new short film Black Friday: A Gay Love Story

Dennis Hensley and Tom Goss experience consumerism, long lines and most especially, gay drama

Photo courtesy of Tom Goss

Black Friday, the big post-Thanksgiving shopping day in US, is the setting for high gay drama in a fun new short film by Tom Goss and Dennis Hensley.

Goss tells Gay Star News that he and Hensley came up with the idea while chatting over coffee and pie about the ridiculousness of relationships and Black Friday consumerism.

The short tells the story of Chad (Hensley) and Claudio (Goss) who meet while waiting in line for Black Friday doorbuster deals.

Lust, love and heartbreak quickly – very quickly – ensue.

– See more at:

Oscars’ Foreign Language Preview: Gay Contenders Come Out With Pride

Oscar Contenders Gay Cinema

Oscars’ Foreging Language Preview


At last year’s Cesar Awards, three of the top contenders for France’s top film prize — specifically, “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” “Stranger by the Lake” and “Me, Myself and Mum” — centered on LGBT issues. Compare that with the Oscars, where just one of the nine best picture nominees — “Dallas Buyers Club” — even so much as acknowledged homosexuality as a part of human existence.

What gives? It’s not merely a question of France being more progressive than the U.S. (It’s not, judging by widespread protests against marriage equality seen in Gaul over the past year.) Other countries, including several we think of as more conservative than the States, are also getting behind gay-themed pics.

Study the list of submissions for the upcoming Oscar foreign language prize — always an interesting indicator, since selection committees from each country are allowed only one film to represent them at the Academy Awards — and it’s clear that the U.S. lags in its willingness to make, much less celebrate, films dealing with homosexual themes.

Brazil picked Daniel Ribeiro’s “The Way He Looks,” a coming-out story centered on a blind teen.

Portugal went for Joaquim Pinto’s first-person documentary “What Now? Remind Me,” in which the HIV-positive helmer reflects on living with the virus. It was awarded the Fipresci prize at the Locarno film fest.

Switzerland’s selection, “The Circle,” from director Stefan Haupt, blends scripted reenactment and non-fiction interview segments to convey a sense of the country’s nascent post-war gay scene.

Finally, France is sending Bertrand Bonello’s “Saint Laurent,” a Cannes-anointed biopic on the influential fashion designer that doesn’t shy away from its subject’s sexual proclivities.

(One could also count Canadian submission “Mommy,” from openly gay director Xavier Dolan, whose flamboyant protagonist isn’t identified as gay, per se, but certainly defies Hollywood’s heteronormative paradigm in nearly all respects.)

Past Is Prologue

Considering the Academy’s historical reluctance to reward films with queer content (exceptions being “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Brokeback Mountain” and “Milk”), it’s surprising to see five countries submit pics that, were they competing in other categories, show little precedent for nominations. Such a move suggests that regardless of how Oscar voters might feel, a group of key influencers in each country sincerely believes these films are the best they have to offer.

It’s hard to imagine an American committee deciding to throw its support behind a “gay movie.” But then, Americans seem uniquely inclined to pigeonhole films according to the sexual persuasion of their protagonists, whereas foreign directors have been far more successful in achieving mainstream success with human-interest stories in which the characters happen to be gay — though it hardly goes for all countries, with serious cultural obstacles in Russia, Iran, the Middle East and Japan.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., cinematic representations of homosexual identity are typically relegated to one of two categories: either “gay movies” (typically low-budget fare made for LGBT auds and released, often directly to homevid, by a handful of specialty distribs) or as side characters in mainstream movies (a relatively recent phenom for pics looking to score PC points, often revealing the news as a third-act surprise, a la “ParaNorman’s” gay jock).

Rare Crossover Success

This year brings an interesting exception in Ira Sachs’ “Love Is Strange,” a sweet, low-key romantic drama centered on a longtime gay couple, finally allowed to marry, who find themselves kicked out of their New York apartment and forced to rely on family and friends for housing — essentially a same-sex twist on Leo McCarey’s 1937 “Make Way for Tomorrow.” Sachs’ film was a rare crossover success, overcoming the obstacles one imagines facing a film in which the characters are not only gay, but gray (that is, well past the age of the average American moviegoer). This, of course, is what filmmakers want: for their work to appeal beyond the rigidly defined demographic of the characters themselves.

“If you look at the bulk of the work coming out of other countries, they’re still making human dramas about everyday life that are not being made here,” says Sachs, who deliberately — and somewhat defiantly — chose to tell stories centered on gay lead characters (first “Keep the Lights On” and now “Love Is Strange”) after a gap of 15 years.

The vast majority of independent helmers responsible for making the landmarks of American queer cinema — Todd Haynes, Gus Van Sant, Kimberly Peirce, Gregg Araki — have subsequently gravitated toward more mainstream (i.e. straight) subjects in order to sustain their careers and court a wider audience. Sachs blames the system, not the filmmakers, since American distribs remain gun-shy about supporting directors who incorporate that aspect of their identity into their work.

“If there’s no economic incentive or possibility of sustaining a career as an American filmmaker making strictly personal, human films, there’s no way for those filmmakers to develop or become better over time,” notes Sachs, whose freedom comes from working outside the system. “I’ve built a community (of individual investors) around me that has supported my own personal filmmaking.”

Alternative to Hollywood

In other countries, where big-budget Hollywood tentpoles make it tough for local cinema to compete, there remains a wide gap for relatively inexpensive adult dramas, which have all but disappeared from American studios’ diet.

That creates an opportunity for foreign directors working to tackle stories not being done bigger and better by Hollywood — which is where gay-themed pics stand to shine and be recognized in their respective countries. The phenomenon is hardly limited to LGBT stories either: In Germany, a modest, black-and-white portrait of a twentysomething slacker called “Oh Boy” (retitled “A Coffee in Berlin” for U.S. release) connected in a big way, winning six Lolas.

The same was true in France of “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” “Stranger by the Lake” and “Me, Myself and Mum”: All three connected with audiences because they presented mature, human-interest portraits seen lacking among the flashier American imports.

Ironically, the most commercially successful — Guillaume Gallienne’s “Me, Myself and Mum,” about an effeminate young mama’s boy who’s the last to accept himself as gay, whereas his entire family has long since accepted his identity — has yet to find distribution in the U.S., where it has two big strikes against it: The film is not only perceived as “gay,” but it’s also foreign to boot (whereas “Blue Is the Warmest Color” and “Stranger by the Lake” had a more sexually explicit hook, landing distribution from Sundance Selects and Strand Releasing, respectively).

Just because a film is submitted by its country to compete for the foreign-language Oscar doesn’t mean it’s assured a U.S. release. Of the five pics mentioned, only “Saint Laurent” (Sony Pictures Classics) and “Mommy” (Roadside Attractions) stand to do much business in the U.S. But they also represent what pics like “Love Is Strange” and British-made Alan Turing biopic “The Imitation Game” got right: They tell compelling human-interest stories in which the characters’ sexuality is acknowledged, but not the pic’s sole focus.

“People are always asking me, ‘Don’t you think this is a great time for gay cinema?’ And I think, what about Visconti, Fassbinder, Chereau? There’s a history that I feel connected to, that American cinema has forgotten, that existed of gay filmmakers making films that were not culturally positioned: They were part of art cinema in a larger way,” says Sachs.

Granted, there is more gay representation on American screens than ever before, but it’s been pushed to the margins: supporting characters and niche pics. However progressive its politics, the U.S. could stand to learn from other countries, where such stories are getting the treatment — and recognition — they deserve.


Variety –