Category Archives: GLBT Film

“DUST”— The First Kiss

“DUST”

The First Kiss

Amos Lassen

“Dust” is coming of age story that naïve, bare and unedited and it compellingly captures the exact moments between adult hood and childhood when the familiar people, places and bodies of earlier years no longer fit together. It is painful to watch but impossible to look away as it zooms in on every clumsy emotion. 

Alko (Henk Jan Doombosch) work on a Dutch vegetable farm with his frustrated peers and he feels stranded between kid’s hangouts and inaccessible adult venues. He knows what he wants to try (kissing, sex and girls) but is not sure how to get them. In a narrow, claustrophobic world where only the limitations are visible, he finally gets the chance for a first kiss from one of the girls he works with. It seems to go well and she promises that sex will be the gift at her imminent 16th birthday. This fills Alko with happiness rather than confidence he is trippingly eager for the next step. 

Bjorn (Liam Feikens), Alko’s childhood friend, is also eager to push forward on this kissing “business”. He has been practicing on his hand, and showing Alko how whenever he can. His kiss with a girl wins her praise but from his needy glances and fumbles with Alko it is evident that Alko is who he would really prefer.  We see a lot of emotions and pain in almost every encounter. Bjorn goes in for an unreciprocated drunken kiss with Alko. When Alko’s girlfriend hears about it, she dumps him. Alko’s other friends work themselves into a homophobic frenzy which he guiltily redirects towards Bjorn. 

Doombosch is well cast as an unknowing teen with great need. He manages to communicate a soft heterosexuality that mourns the split from a gay friend. A sad lingering look shows how unfair it is that one of his prized first kisses, with a close friend he likes, will be considered ugly because it was same sex.

“Dust” is an intimate and honest film. The loose and episodic editing makes it real. The performances are realistically unpolished. Everything adults try to forget from being a teen is remembered with heart and without filter.  It tells the beautiful, bittersweet coming-of-age story of Alko and Björn, best friends who live in a small rural community. Between agricultural weekend work and partying, the teenage kids of the village are all yearning for their ‘first time’. Director Joren Molter proves himself as an exciting new talent to watch  in his film in which boys are expected to be boys, yet are oftentimes something more.

“THE ALIENIST”— Suffering from Mental Illness

“THE ALIENIST”

Suffering from Mental Illness

Amos Lassen

“In the 19th century, persons suffering from mental illness were thought to be alienated from their own true natures. Experts who studied them were therefore known as alienists.” This quotation is seen at the beginning of each episode of “The Alienist” and it there to remind us just how early this story takes place in the history of psychology. In the last years of the nineteenth century, science and civil rights alike were both on the verge of exploding; and these both had a serious impact on society in general, especially in the context of law and order and they were was ready for their own revolution.

According to what we see here, the New York Police Department was more concerned with maintaining a status quo which best suited their associates in the church and big industry. This meant a combination of traditionalism, corruption and turning a blind eye to minor crimes. Theodore Roosevelt (Brian Geraghty) was police commissioner in New York at this time, and when young boys started turning up murdered and mutilated (prostitutes and immigrants; definitely low priority cases), he saw that the only way to get the crime resolved effectively was to authorize an unofficial investigation. This was already underway, led by the renowned/controversial “alienist” Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Brühl) and his friend from the New York Times John Moore (Luke Evans).

Roosevelt authorized the use of police time in the form of three more forward-thinking individuals, with the challenge that Kreizler solve the crimes before the official (and slack) police investigation could, so as to prove the value in radical approaches. These three were Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning), the first woman to join the police department – albeit as a “typewriter”, though with the mind of a detective – and brothers Marcus (Douglas Smith) and Lucius (Matthew Shear) Isaacson, who relished new scientific investigatory tools such as fingerprints. Thus the “fruitful partnership” is born.

“The Alienist” is a mystery/thriller and a history, and social commentary squeezed into one ten-episode story. The series was based on the 1994 novel of the same name by Caleb Carr. I usually do not have a problem watching adaptations of novels that are not identical to their sources but here it seems there was such determination to adapt the setting and main plot with care that a few minor plot points and characters were squeezed so small that a received insufficient explanations.

The camera is the main character here— episode was beautifully shot. The series is full of gritty and challenging scenes and images and there are issues of child and domestic abuse and anti-Semitism.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=funeral%20%20of%20naomi%20shemer&pbjreload=10

“MEN OF HARD SKIN” (“Hombres de piel dura”)— Sexuality and Desire

“MEN OF HARD SKIN” (“Hombres de piel dura”)

Sexuality and Desire

Amos Lassen

Argentine filmmaker José Celestino Campusano is known for a type of brutal realism that often shows “the origins of hidden desires and the energies that influence the nature and machinations of the environments of his stories.” He sees sexuality as the strongest of these energies and while the characters are neither likable or completely unpleasant, they are often divided between those who take charge of it and those who prefer not to take charge. . Those who take charge of it blossom; those who do not remain in a deeper underground.

“Men of Hard Skin” is the story of Ariel (Will Javier), a young and attractive gay man who lives and works on his father’s farm in a rural part of Buenos Aires,  Argentina. The film  focuses on his troubled and troublesome relationship with two older men: his father (Claudio Medina), who refuses to accept his homosexuality, and Omar (Germán Tarantino), a Catholic priest with whom he has a secret love affair.

Omar seduced Ariel as a teenager and continues to take advantage of his innocence and lack of experience with his emotions. Even though this began with a seduction, it is consensual. It is only because Ariel sees no future in the relationship that he decides to end it. The decision is painstakingly hard for him but it also allows him to take charge of his own sexuality and embark on an exploration of his desires, coming out of the shadows that both his father and Omar want to drag him into and where both manifest their own different sexuality.

Campusano is also strong about revealing realities that go beyond sets of rules and conventions. Here he exposes the  alternate realities of rural life and the Catholic Church and in the process exposes the structures in place that ensure their legitimatization. 

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=funeral%20%20of%20naomi%20shemer&pbjreload=10

“45 DAYS AWAY FROM YOU”— After the Breakup

“45 DAYS AWAY FROM YOU”

After the Breakup

Amos Lassen

Direcror Rafael Gomes takes us to a time after the breakup when 20-somehing Rafael (Rafael de. Bona)), a young gay Brazilian bachelor finds his romantic life going out of control.

He sets out on a journey that will take him to England, Portugal, and Argentina. Along the way, he learns that time is  all it takes to mend a broken heart is time… and the support of a few good friends. This is a fiction film with documentary characters.

Rafael, a waited 45 days for a love that never returned. Broken hearted, he goes into self-exile, seeking refuge with three friends who, for different reasons, decided to live away from their own home: Julia (Julia Correa) in England, Fabio (Fabio Lucindo) in Portugal and Mayara (Mayara Constantino) in Argentina.  This is quite the romantic drama.

“SOCRATES”— Bereavement, Isolation and Family Breakdown

“SOCRATES”

Bereavement, Isolation and Family Breakdown

Amos Lassen

Alexandre Moratto’s “Socrates” is a stunning and deeply emotional portrayal of a young man’s (Christian Malheiros) journey through bereavement, isolation and family breakdown. “Socrates” empowers at risk young people and their input gives the film a realism and natural delivery that reflects the very thin line between poverty and security in inner city Brazilian society.

 

Filmed on a very low budget, “Socrates” is the story of 15 year old young man who is dealing with the deeply emotional loss of his mother. We follow Socrates through his struggles in supporting himself while dealing with the loss that has taken his security and opportunity from him.

As a gay young man, this security is further threatened by a distant and disconnected relationship with his absent father; who will not accept his son’s sexuality/

Socrates finds an emotional connection with another local young man, who hides his sexual orientation through anger, frustration and lies and they develop a complex relationship of hidden truths and barriers of expectation in masculinity.

The impact of the film comes from its realism and social reflection. It dares to challenge the audience and the social constructs of the society it represents as we become very aware of the choices forced upon young people in a society where opportunities are limited by income and support. The recent political changes in Brazil of increasingly isolating LGBT young people from their society makes this all the more relevant.

“Socrates” demonstrates the emotional and social power of Brazilian film making by examining  the challenges faced by young people at risk. It is a multi-layered film explores grief, identity and societal failures and will remain with you long after the credits roll.

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“Socrates” was created in a workshop of young people between the ages of 16 and 20, and is  Brazilian-American filmmaker Alexandre Moratto first feature film.  It has been winning awards at festivals around the world. As we watch, we discover how powerless he really is: he isn’t even allowed to collect his mother’s ashes. He can’t turn to his estranged father (Jayme Rodrigues) for help, because he’s harshly religious and has rejected Socrates for being gay. So Socrates tries to get on with life, finding a job in a local junkyard. There he meets Maicon (Tales Ordjaki), and they begin a tender romance. But their hot tempers, as well as some other outside circumstances, make this relationship increasingly difficult. Socrates needs to grow up quickly if he hopes to have a future.

Socrates could get help from a persistent social worker if he would accept it but instead tries to do things on his own, even though everyone he turns to abandons him, leaving him to consider unthinkable options like prostitution or suicide. The film remains earthy and honest about even these things and focuses on Socrates’ internal thoughts and feelings rather than the bigger political themes. There’s no overt plot structure here— the narrative traces this young man’s emotional journey into manhood.

Malheiros is superb in the role, delivering an expressive performance that reveals the characters’ inner feelings to the movie audience but not to the people around him on-screen. He conceals himself from everyone and this is moving but also a little scary, because he is a teen dealing with very grown-up issues essentially all by himself. Each knock-back is awful to watch. Scenes with his father are especially painful, because it’s clear that his father’s love is so conditional. Malheiros and Ordjaki have quite a range of powerful textures as they play out the relationship between Socrates and Maicon that starts with a brawl and remains rough-edged even through moments of tenderness.

This is an intimate film in which director Moratto never moralizes about any of the decisions that Socrates makes or actions he takes. We are right with Socrates all the way through his journey of self-discovery and it is not an easy path. Watching Socrates battle against obstacles is darkly moving but this also shows us some big social issues that are rarely depicted in such powerfully honest ways on-screen. We are reminded that most people are struggling and afraid to ask for the help they need.

Frameline43, World’s Largest and Longest-Running LGBTQ+ Film Festival, Announces Juried and Audience Awards

Frameline43, World’s Largest and Longest-Running LGBTQ+ Film Festival, Announces Juried and Audience Awards

SAN FRANCISCO – Following 11 days of electrifying screenings, events, and galas, Frameline announced its slate of award winners for its 43r d annual International LGBTQ+ Film Festival. Each year, the Festival issues a duo of juried prizes: The First Feature Award, proudly underwritten by Wells Fargo, and the Outstanding Documentary Award. The Festival audience too is given an opportunity to select their favorites each year with four categories of AT&T Audience Award winners, after introducing a new category for the Episodics section last year.

First Feature Jury Award

Frameline43’s First Feature Award, proudly underwritten by Wells Fargo, went to Lucio Castro’s END OF THE CENTURY from Argentina. The Cinema Guild will be releasing the film in New York City on August 16t h before expanding it across the country, reopening in San Francisco and Berkeley on September 27t h . This year’s international jury consisted of ITVS producer and filmmaker Bianca Beyrouti; journalist and founding president of the Queer Palm prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Franck Finance-Madureira; and Frameline alum, filmmaker, and board member of the Beijing Queer Film Festival, Popo Fan. The jury collectively offered the following statement:

“We are excited to discover a remarkable film about time and memory, love and relationships. In this debut work, the director found a smart and cinematic way of creating a unique timeline, while also thoughtfully exploring new challenges and possibilities in our community. At this moment, when we are about to conclude the first fifth of our new century, this work brings us a fresh element of filmmaking. Congratulations to the winner of the Frameline43 First Feature Award: END OF THE CENTURY, directed by Lucio Castro.”

The jury also included a special honorable mention to an additional first feature whose strengths and merit they wished to recognize: Margherita Ferri’s ZEN IN THE ICE RIFT from Italy. They added: “All of this year’s first feature contenders are remarkable achievements in their own right. This visual poem of a feature debut offers a rich character study of burgeoning androgyny and queer first love against the cold backdrop of adolescent isolation and grief, anchored by assured direction and a captivating lead performance. We’re pleased to present the Frameline43 First Feature Special Jury Honorable Mention to ZEN IN THE ICE RIFT by Margherita Ferri.”

Outstanding Documentary Jury Award

The Outstanding Documentary Feature Award for Frameline43 went to Rodney Evans’ VISION PORTRAITS , which was also a recipient of a Frameline Completion Fund Grant. The jury for this prize consisted of Cornelius Moore, co-director at California Newsreel, and Nico Opper, Emmy®-nominated filmmaker and producer. Moore and Opper issued the following statement:

“In this gripping film about several artists, the filmmaker courageously turns a camera on themself. We experience how their artistic vision expands, taking us on a journey that is at once intellectual, emotional, visceral, and philosophical. We are delighted to present the Award for Outstanding Documentary to a film that also received a Frameline completion grant, VISION PORTRAITS by Rodney Evans.”

Additionally, Evans was the recipient of the Festival’s highest honor, the Frameline Award . Following an anniversary screening of the director’s seminal feature debut, BROTHER TO BROTHER and a celebratory montage of his body of work and interviews with collaborators and admirers, Evans graciously received the Frameline Award at the Castro Theatre before the Bay Area premiere of VISION PORTRAITS. The film begins its US release on August 9t h in New York City, before expanding across the country, and returning to San Francisco on August 30t h , courtesy of Stimulus Pictures.

AT&T Audience Awards

Every year, Frameline lets the audience have their say as well, issuing AT&T Audience Awards in four categories: Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Short Film, and Episodic. Choosing from close to 200 of the Festival’s titles, tens of thousands of festivalgoers weighed in on their personal favorites through both text and paper ballots.

The AT&T Audience Award for Narrative Feature went Leon Le’s SONG LANG , a beautiful and evocative first feature from Vietnam.

In the Documentary Feature category, the AT&T Audience Award went to Michael Barnett’s CHANGING THE GAME , a timely and moving portrait of the triumphs and struggles of transgender high school athletes.

Frameline was pleased to issue the second annual AT&T Audience Award for Episodics to the Festival’s Centerpiece title, A LUV TALE: THE SERIES , written and created by Sidra Smith, exactly 20 years after Smith’s short film of the same name, which provided the groundwork for the new series, made its debut at Frameline23.

Competing with a wide array of exceptional shorts, Alyssa Lerner’s BUBBLE , a funny and charming coming-of-age tale which screened in the Festival’s youth-oriented COMING UP QUEER program, took home the AT&T Audience Award for Short Film.

CONNECT WITH US: #FL43 #Frameline43
@framelinefest @frameline framelinefest

About Frameline43: San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival:

Frameline43, San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival, takes place June 20-30, 2019. Spanning five venues in the Bay Area, the 43rd Festival celebrates the spectrum and intersection of identities that make up LGBTQ+ communities worldwide. Join filmmakers and festivalgoers alike at the biggest showcase of queer media on the planet. Info and tickets: www.frameline.org

About Frameline:

Frameline’s mission is to change the world through the power of queer cinema. As a media arts nonprofit, Frameline’s integrated programs connect filmmakers and audiences in San Francisco and around the globe. Frameline provides critical funding for emerging LGBTQ+ filmmakers, reaches hundreds of thousands with a collection of over 250 films distributed worldwide, inspires thousands of students in schools across the nation with free films and curricula through Youth in Motion, and creates an international stage for the world’s best LGBTQ+ film through the San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival and additional year-round screenings and cinematic events.

 

“THE ERLPRINCE”— Teen Angst

“THE ERLPRINCE”

Teen Angst

Amos Lassen

Kuba Czekaj ‘s “The Erlprince” is the story of an unnamed Boy (Staszek Cywka) who tests the boundaries of the relationship with his domineering Mother (Agnieszka Podsiadlik) and his father, credited here as the Man (Sebastian Lach). Drawing on Goethe’s “The Erlking”, this fil, adds a poetic and ethereal element to the action, which features fairy tale segments.

The boy, we learn is very intelligent, poor at relationships but good at probing notions of parallel universes but this could be all in his mind. The boy feels everything acutely, whether it is the borderline-Oedipal danger represented by his mother, the pressure of the responsibilities of adulthood represented by his father or simply sexual urges. The world as he knows it is most certainly coming to an end.

The film is driven by atmosphere and not by story. Cinematographer Adam Palenta has done excellent work, in capturing the slick monotony of a neon-lit motorway on a raining night or the otherworldly landscape the boy visits when his reality begins to crack. Although the film might, at first, seem chaotic, there is an evident fierce directorial control in evidence, from the colors used (which make particularly good use of ‘light’ and ‘dark’ imagery) to the oppressive mood. We see the boy face the agonies of choice, in the complex way that every adolescent must pick their own path to adulthood, selecting those in authority they want to listen to or cast aside and ultimately finding some sort of faith in their own beliefs. We don’t just see this teenager grow up, we are with him during the experience.

This film is, at its heart, the tragic story of an adolescent genius with a dysfunctional home life, centering on a physics prodigy whose main obstacle is an ultra-controlling mother. She only wants the best for him, which, unfortunately, means significantly less time for girls and more spent trying to win a science contest. It is not difficult to sympathize with the main protagonist, who is a perpetually angry-faced teen and whose mother’s love comes with terms (namely, do what she says, and never take your eyes off the academic prize).

The film also explores the idea that we can severely damage those most dear to us through loving them too much. In the case of the Boy and the Mother, the latter moves them to a new city in an unfamiliar country, where the high schools are excellent, but the Boy is immediately alienated socially because he does not speak the language. That forces the two to become close. For the boy, the entirety of Mother’s hopes and dreams is a lot to bear.

“The Erlprince” is  built around something highly sensible: the need for love and the healing that comes with it. Some will find the ending overly bleak, but it can also be viewed as a clever inversion of the typical conclusion reached by most coming-of-age tales, in which one way or another, the protagonist makes peace with their past.

“SCHOOL’S OUT”— Strangely Entertaining

School’s Out [L’heure de la sortie]

Strangely Entertaining

Amos Lassen

Monsieur Eric Capadis, the professor of French at the prestigious French College of St Joseph, jumps from the window in the middle of a class. Then the handsome, charming, honorable but a little bit off 40-year-old temporary teacher Pierre Hoffman (Laurent Lafitte) steps into the breach while the man is in an induced coma. Pierre finds a class of horribly over-gifted children who are very, very strange.

Their initial strange behavior includes disrespect, hostility and violence. Because they are in an experimental  and very clever class of 12 teenage kids, they are harassed by other students and harass their new teacher too, but that’s nothing to what they start doing to themselves. The school’s staff is a pretty strange bunch as well. Hoffman is the nearest thing to normal.

Co-writer/ director Sébastien Marnier is filled with extraordinary confidence and flair. “School’s Out” is a creepy, provocative thriller that keeps the viewer on edge and guessing throughout, and stays with him after. Lafitte is excellent as the gay teacher. It is great that sexuality is not an issue here and just incidental. This film is about young people who have lost all hope in the future of the world and not who is gay and who isn’t.

When their professor jumps out of the classroom window during a lesson, you’d expect most of the pupils to be shocked. Except for six students, led by class representatives Apolline (Luàna Bajrami) and Poncin (Pascal Greggory), no one pays attention. Pierre expects  an easy time teaching a class of the elite overachievers but soon discovers something sinister is going on.

“School’s Out” is a wonderfully abstract drama which tackles lofty themes through the eyes of a group of highly intelligent but apathetic teenagers. Sébastien Marnier sets things up beautifully. The film is impeccably shot and both aesthetic nuance and ingenious use of sound are excellent in this beguiling mystery which builds tension so subtly and cleverly that when it hits it comes as a shock.

“I’M FINE”— The Third and Final Season

“I’M FINE”

The Third and Final Season

Amos Lassen

I’M FINE creator Brandon Kirby now completes the trilogy he wanted to tell of these friends exploring identity, monogamy, shame and the gay generational relationship divide with Season 3.   He even opened up to the cast this year to write and direct, as the I’M FINE family extended its creative wings with personal storylines.   Perhaps a feature on the show, Frankie, or actor/producer Lee Doud’s gay Asian experience could honor the series that has represented queer POC life with new and compelling plots.    

The final season of I’M FINE follows Nate and his band of friends as they continue to splinter off into their own journeys as other friendships develop. This season tackles themes of identity, monogamy, shame and the gay generational divide. Jeff progresses in his relationship with Zachary, revealing aspects of a past he was hardly prepared to grapple with himself. Nicole entertains an unexplored interest in women through an alluring new coworker, while Andy and Brian rekindle things with the possibility of a third. Mick continues to unabashedly be himself, figuring out his place in L.A. quicker than most. And lastly, after searching for himself and landing in a place of comfort, Nate gets an unexpected newcomer into his life, an older gentleman who challenges everything he thought he knew about himself and relationships.  Could this force him to make a big decision about his future in a city he finally learned to call home?

CREATOR COMMENTS – BRANDON KIRBY:

MOVING ON FROM ME: I’M FINE SEASON 3 

Working on I’M FINE has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and it’s all thanks to my creative IM FINE family I’ve been able to cultivate over these past three years.

This series began over a break up, as the cliche now says, all gay web series are about a breakup. And back in 2016, IM FINE was no exception. I used my heartbreak as a creative outlet to create Nate, a fictionalized version of myself brought to life by Perry Powell, who imbued the character with so much unexpected depth that I soon realized this character and this story would go quickly go beyond any real life touch points.

Season one was a project squeezed in on weekends, shooting an episode a day over saturdays and Sundays in the summer of 2016. We were able to move fast thanks to the brilliance of my DP Andrew Ceperley and the exceptional skill and recourses my entire cast & crew brought everyday.

After we threw up the first few episodes on Vimeo, lgbt streaming service Dekkoo soon thereafter took notice and expressed interest in producing further episodes. I was in no position to say no, so I gladly accepted their offer and never looked back.

Now in 2019, we have wrapped post production on season 3 and can look back on years of hard work. The show’s cast and crew, lovingly dubbed the I’m Fine family, grew into a tight knit group of creative collaborators who took on extra responsibilities in the third season.

The first two seasons were largely about Nate, while introducing a colorful and vibrant cast of supporting characters. We expanded on their stories in season 2 while still maintaining Nate as the central focal point of these characters’ lives. And so, for season 3 I decided it was time to move even further past this show’s origin.

Nate became a supporting character in his own story, and the stories of the supporting cast became centerpieces. Their stories were completely independent and didn’t rely on Nate for their importance. As it works in real life with friendships, sometimes as we get older, groups spread apart while still acknowledging each other in their lives. And I wanted to reflect this pattern of friendships coming-of-age in season 3.

And with this also came the most important aspect of all, which was expanding the stories beyond just myself and my perspective. Season 1 and 2 are populated with fictional characters drawn from inspiration of people in my real life. And so with season 3, I opened it up to my collaborators to tell stories. My insanely talented producers wrote and co-wrote scripts, my DP and several actors directed episodes, while I helmed the ship and admired the stories they were bringing to the table.

For this series, it was time for me to take a step back and fully embrace the I’m Fine family, and what we ended up coming up with for season 3, I can’t wait for everyone to see it.    

“I’M FINE is definitely one of our most popular episodic series. The decision to end the series now was a story-telling decision. We let Brandon Kirby tell the story he wanted to tell. He always felt 3-seasons was the proper length for the story.  We couldn’t be more proud of the success the series has had and we’re honored to have it part of the Dekkoo library.”  – Brian Sokel / Dekkoo President

BIOGRAPHIES:

BRANDON KIRBY – CREATOR

Brandon Kirby is the creator, writer and director of the Dekkoo original series I’M FINE, the third and final season of which releases this year. He also served as producer on the Dekkoo short film FACES and the Revry short film HE DRINKS, with more projects currently in production. Having graduated from Michigan State University, he began his career in L.A. seven years ago and is currently gaining his Master’s degree from Loyola Marymount University. In his spare time, he serves as co-host on the film podcast MOVIES IMO and is involved with fundraising efforts through AIDS/LifeCycle and Outfest.

FRANKIE A. RODRIGUEZ

Frankie A. Rodriguez has worked in television and film for the last four years and can be seen in the guest-starring role of Eduardo on ABC’s “Modern Family” and Dekkoo’s Original series “I’m Fine”.  Now cast as series regular on the Disney+’s “High School Musical: The Musical,” Rodriguez plays Carlos — captain of the color guard and the student choreographer for the show. Originally from central California, when he was five years old, Frankie dreamed of becoming a background dancer for Jennifer Lopez. That same dream still stands today.

LEE DOUD 

After graduating from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television with a degree in acting, Lee Doud began pursuing his professional endeavors in Hollywood. Along with Dekkoo Original “I’m Fine”, Lee’s TV credits include Showtime’s “Californication”, “House of Lies”, “Last Man Standing”, and upcoming thriller “Dark/Web”. On the film side, he can also be seen in SXSW hit “KTown Cowboys”. As a producer, Doud worked on short film “Another Stupid Day”, followed by feature film “The Amateur” with the same team. “The Amateur” can currently be streamed on Amazon Prime. Lee is inspired by storytelling that can help make a difference in the world by representing different points of views or ways of life. 

ULYSSES MORAZAN 

ULYSSES MORAZAN plays Brain in Dekkoo’s Original series I’m Fine. He can also be seen playing Abel in Somebody Else, an official selection at the 2019 Outfest Fusion’s Festival and last year got play alongside Angela Kinsey in Sherry a 2018 California’s Women Film Festival Selection for best comedy short. Other credits includes BuzzFeed’s “You Do Two” and “Lesbian Princess.”  He currently studies at The Groundlings Theater and School and loves it!  

PERRY POWELL

Perry Powell is a performer and art director based in Los Angeles. He has starred in dozens of plays and short films and created designs for clients including HBO, NBC, Comic Con, The LA Philharmonic Orchestra, Invertigo Dance Theatre, The Party By Ostbahnhof, Lightning in a Bottle, & Alaska Thunderf*ck. I’m Fine is his first experience leading a web series. 

WILL BRANSKE 

“Will Branske is an actor and photographer living in Los Angeles, CA.  He has appeared in a number of short films, commercials, and web series’ since moving to LA and is continuing to put out content involving/documenting the queer community of today.  He is so happy to have been involved with “I’m Fine” and to have directed an episode of Season 3.  You can see him as one of the lead characters in an upcoming web series titled ‘The Spins’ and his photography work on his instagram @willbranske.” 

  JENNIFER DEFILIPPO 

Jennifer DeFilippo is an actress and filmmaker living in Los Angeles. She has appeared in numerous television shows and films, as well as many national commercial campaigns. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Loyola Marymount University, she furthered her training in improv comedy at prestigious schools such as The Groundlings, Upright Citizens Brigade, and Second City. Jennifer has performed on television shows such as Modern FamilyMasters of Sex, ParenthoodShamelessNew Girl, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. She’s recurred in the Dannon Oikos Yogurt campaign opposite John Stamos and “fell from heaven” in the well-received AT&T Commercial opposite Karan Soni. Jennifer has also had the pleasure of working with directors such as William H. Macy, John Putch, and Larry Charles.

“BUTLEY”— Left Alone

“Butley”

Left Alone

Amos Lassen

 “His wife just left him for another man. And so did his boyfriend.” Director Harold Pinter’s 1973 drama Butley is an entertaining and revealing film of one of the Seventies most ear-catching London West End theatre plays, based on the original drama by Simon Gray. Alan Bates stuns in his waspish and well-mannered performance as troubled English professor, Ben Butley, whose life starts falling apart.

Once upon a time and somewhere in his alcoholic past Ben Butley was an authority on T.S. Eliot. “But now his photograph of Eliot is peeling from the wall, and Butley is peeling, too.” Butley peels off one layer, and then another, and finally comes down to his self-hating, desperately lonely core. 

Butley is an affecting characters of modern theater. He tries to bind people to himself with sarcasm, insult, and a merciless eye for their vulnerabilities. It seems that he always fails. However Alan Bates plays him with his mind is still resilient and quick saving humor. We don’t pity him, even though we should. He somehow weathers each crisis, and we even feel a bit of affection for him.

The film takes place during a day in an office shared by two English instructors at Queen Mary’s College, London. One is Butley, who, is approaching middle age and he has abandoned the difficulties of Eliot and taken up nursery rhymes. The other is Joey, who was Butley’s protégé, then became his roommate, and then (after Butley’s marriage and separation) became his roommate again. Joey is a mess and Butley spends his day in psychological warfare against the truths that would batter him down. His wife tells him she intends to marry another man. Bad enough. But then Joey acknowledges that he’s leaving, too also for another man. Butley faces being left totally alone, and he fights back with wit, with obscenity, with insult, with booze. 

Butley was born lonely. He needs to have somebody there. After his marriage fails, he needs Joey again, because Joey had at least admired him at one time. It doesn’t really seem to be relevant that Joey is a homosexual; Butley’s needs are not sexual but psychological. Butley doesn’t have much affection for women. He has some feeling left for his wife, but conceals it well, and he has contempt for the other women. The spinster Byron scholar (Jessica Tandy) and the would-be tutorial student (Georgina Hale).  He doesn’t do much better with the men. His loneliness seems to be asexual, if anything. He is unable to face his hungers and needs not until the  end, anyway, when he makes an oblique but honest assessment of his current situation. He attempts to keep Joey by attacking his weaknesses, and he taunts Reg, Joey’s new friend, in a futile attempt to drive him away. He’s a wonder with words, and even during the most pathetic scenes, he still somehow doesn’t lose the poetry. 

Bates gives the character much more spirit that the material giving us  the feeling that he who will stay on his feet no matter what.