Jackpot by Adam Baran ›› Jackpot

a short film by Adam Baran.

2012 | 10 mins | US.

starring: Ethan Navarro / Jack Hoffman, Adam Fleming / Ricky Swayze, Ryan DeLuca / Billy Hook, Georgie DeNoto / Sammy, Christopher Gray / Damien and Evan Jake Goldstein as Adolf.

Adapted Synopsis: "It's 1994 and there's no internet, so when closeted fourteen-year-old Jack Hoffman hears about a stash of gay porno hidden across town, he decides to brave the bully infested streets of his small New Jersey town, in the hope of retrieving the discarded magazines and bringing them home, before anyone finds out. Only when he runs into trouble with the local bullies, he has to rely on the help of a mysterious stranger."

Dave says:-

There's a lot to like in this comical, yet equally poignant short film from writer, director and former contributing editor of Butt magazine, Adam Baran. Sure, there's an element of homophobia to be found, courtesy of the requisite to the plot antics of a group of bigoted teenagers. Yet there's equally a wonderful sense of sexual pride to this work, thanks to a surreal turn by Adam Fleming of Dare - the short, fame. Cast as a cover model come to life, complete with a set of outfits that would not be out of place on the Village People's dance floor, his guiding spirit persona whilst lacking a bit of bite, nevertheless provides the film's cornerstone words of advice on the challenges facing gay boy Jack; namely a young man set to do well in athletics, considering how fast he got to that stash of "I want it all" porno.

Gay boy Jack wants it all, in Jackpot.

Gay boy Jack wants it all, in Jackpot.

Yet look behind the glossy cover and Jackpot marks a highly personal project for Baran. Bullied on a daily basis at junior school for being gay and having made a film in the vein of his favourite childhood films and here cue the like of Dazed and Confused, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Weird Science to name but three, his 2010 Outfest Screenwriting Lab workshop reading of scenes from the feature length script of Jackpot, resulted in this mouth-watering sampler of what could be expanded upon, should funding be secured.

And I certainly hope it is, given here production values are high, with solid camera work and vibrant colours throughout, whilst Ethan Navarro delivers an impressive portrayal of a teenager well aware of the direction his sexuality is taking. And whilst the whole affair is but another variation on the coming-of-age theme, it's fresh, laced with some surprising comic touches and proud to preach the sermon of to thy own self, be true. And here the expression, "lost the fight, but won the battle" springs to mind, given the pornography on show is but a synonym for Jack's sexual identity. A pure delight, kind of goes without saying.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 
screened as part of the 6th IRIS Prize International Film Festival, 2012.
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Copyright 2014 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
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