As the acclaimed BOYS ON FILM series nears the end of its teenage years, the good folk at Peccadillo Pictures proudly present a
wondrous collection of ten sexually diverse short films that and in the main, focus on boys who are not always what they appear to be.

›› Overall Duration - 133 mins | DVD Release Date - 25th February, 2019 ‹‹

›› posted: Tuesday, 28th June, 2022 ‹‹

›› Michael Joseph Jason John ‹‹

a short film by Scott T. Hinson.

2018 | 10 mins | US.

a romantic take on the dangers of the anonymous hook-up.

Dave says:

Walking on now somewhat familiar ground, this engaging work from writer, director and joint star of the show Scott T. Hinson tells the story of a lonely New Yorker who picks up a one-night stand on the city subway, for sex and possibly friendship and more. Only you never know who you're taking home with you; a man of similar desires, or one with something more deadly in mind!

In short, this is but a romantic take on the dangers of the anonymous hook-up, one that finds Hinson's character - the number eight of the piece, imagine the life that he could be living with his Prince Charming, oblivious to the narrow escape he's just had from a man with more than just a condom in his pocket. To that end, this gloriously gay to the core work could have and as is obvious, been played in various ways; one route being a variant on the overworked slasher thriller scenario, whilst the other is to hint at such but deliver instead a narrative filled with all of the romantic charm of a one-night stand in which both parties mentally and physically connect with each other, only to go their separate ways come the break of dawn.

That Hinson opts for the latter goes without saying, leaving Eric Robledo to 'smile to camera' as the Michael Joseph Jason John of the title, namely the trick of the night that many would undoubtedly say 'yes' to. That the fantasy romance side of the short is simply lush; albeit until the bitter home truth hits home, is to Hinson's credit. But in playing the narrative this way, the menace element of the piece has been all but cast aside and that's a shame, given this short came so close and yet so far from pushing the envelope toward a far more darker journey into fear. Say no more.

Gay Visibility - overt | Nudity - from the waist up | Overall - file under ... 3 stars

›› The Fish Curry - Maacher Jhol ‹‹

a short film by Abhishek Verma.

2017 | 12 mins | India.

a poignant animation on coming out; Indian style.

Dave says:

Bravely shining the spotlight of coming out to your family and in this instance to the patriarchal head of the household, in a country that's only now starting to embrace the beauty of sexual diversity, this poignant animation for writers Jayesh Bhosale and Abhishek Verma tells the story of Lalit; a young man who invites his father to his flat with the sole intent of telling his father some gay home truths. Spending the day preparing his father's favourite dish, namely the classic Bengali styled fish curry Maacher Jhol, the question is not so much whether the dish is cooked to perfection, but that of whether it's more palatable than Lalit's coming out confession?

Sure, this is a simple tale and yes, this hand-drawn animations are hardly up to the showmanship of DreamWorks Animation and the like. But that said, there's equally no denying the sincerity of the story, wonderfully charting the emotions of a young man desperate to tell his father the homosexual truth, having got tired of an endless series of photos of potential girlfriends being paraded in front of him.

The result is a work that in shining the spotlight on coming out; Indian style, makes for yet another positive step forward for its gay citizens, including its marginalized Hijra / transgendered community. And for that, you have to applaud it.

Gay Visibility - overt | Nudity - none | Overall - file under ... 3 stars

›› Meatoo ‹‹

a short film by Dean Loxton.

2018 | 4 mins | UK.

an all too short gay variant on the casting couch scenario.

Dave says:

Alarmingly based on a real event and conceived and shot in a day, this improvised short tells the story of a naive actor (Calum Speed) who attends an audition for the role of a boxer in a feature that he hopes will launch his career. Stripped down to his shorts and becoming increasingly ill-at-ease by the director (Warren Rusher) asking him to do things that he would prefer not to, it soon becomes evident that the man behind the camera has other things on his mind when ... well, that would be saying.

What can be said however is the obvious, given this is but a gay variant on the casting couch scenario / shocking reality for some. Only and in spite of being well-played and scored throughout, it's all but over before you know it, leaving a void in a narrative that's crying out to be developed, in particular given the infamous fall from grace of disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. That the story is clearly hinting of sexual abuse of the 'the part's yours, provided...' nature is all but apparent, only for it to be too brief to do justice to the subject at hand. A sure case of a short film being just too short for its own good.

Gay Visibility - covert | Nudity - from the waist up | Overall - file under ... 3 stars

›› Run(a)way Arab ‹‹

a short film by Amrou Al-Kadhi.

2018 | 12 mins | UK.

a moving testament to the courage it takes to be your transexual self.

Dave says:

This semi-autobiographical short film from British-Iraqi writer, director and star of the show Amrou Al-Kadhi tells the story of a drag queen (Al-Kadhi as Queen Za Dream) preparing to go on stage, only to be instead sidetracked by memories of herself as an eight-year-old boy helping her Iraqi-Egyptian mother Halima (aka the award winning actress Ahd Kamel) to get ready for a night out, until that is their close bond was forever broken when to thy ownself, he / she was true.

Cutting between past and present time frames to poignant effect, this well-played work is but a moving testament to the courage it takes to be your transexual self and in particular in Muslim dominated countries in which the light of sexual diversity has yet to shine. To that end, Omar Labek is a pure delight as the young Nazeem, playing with his mother's make-up and clothes, unaware of the ramifications of such simple pleasures. That Al-Kadhi shines as the adult Nazeem goes without saying, even if we do not get to see a second of the act itself. Then again, this is a work all about the journey to that performance, as against the drag show itself and in that respect, it's both telling and strikingly honest in its delivery. Need more be said?

Trans Visibility - overt | Nudity - from the waist up | Overall - file under ... 3+ stars

›› Between Here & Now ‹‹

a short film by Jannik Splidsboel.

2018 | 22 mins | Denmark.

those fleeting moments between here and now where love can be found.

Dave says:

Walking again on the now familiar ground on the dangers of the anonymous hook-up, this highly engaging work from writer and director Jannik Splidsboel casts aside the somewhat romantic element of Scott T. Hinson's Michael Joseph Jason John variant on the theme, to tell instead the story of a stranger in town who's not a threat to his lover; rather to others around him.

Not that Oscar (Peder Bille) knows that; a likeable young man who chances upon visiting Italian Tony (Francesco Martino) in a Copenhagen gay bar. Striking up an immediate connection, the two head back to Oscar's flat, that of an apartment of the 'work in progress' variety, for a drink and surprisingly a sharp exit from Tony; namely a man who clearly has others things on his mind. Only when he's forced to extend his stay, the two men are destined to meet up again at both Oscar's flat and in Tony's hotel room. In need of each other's company, it's all but apparent that given time their burgeoning friendship could turn into something far more meaningful. Yet can Oscar trust a man that he knows so little about?

There's a lush raw atmosphere of the Weekend kind to this thriller styled short, as here Splidsboel plays with the viewer; one moment rolling out the 'opposites attract' scenario and the next, making it all but obvious that Tony's reason to be in Denmark is far from taking in the sights. To that end, both Bille and Martino shine in their opposing roles, with Bille wonderfully showcasing the emotions of a man longing for love, only for him to fall for a man who's looking for a safe house; instead.

Complete with man-on-man action that whilst far from explicit, being more of the sex 'n' sweat variety, nonetheless brings to a sensuous close those at times fleeting moments between here and now where love can be found, only for the narrative to remind you that Tony is a man in Copenhagen for work and not for pleasure. Love delivered with a menace; indeed.

Gay Visibility - overt | Nudity - bare-arsed cheek | Overall - file under ... 4 stars

›› Dusk ‹‹

a short film by Jake Graf.

2017 | 15 mins | UK.

a wondrous work on being whoever you want to be.

Dave says:

From noted actor, writer and director Jake Graf comes this wondrous work on being whoever you want to be, even if the outside world may think otherwise.

For such is the problem for Chris Winters (Elliott Sailors); namely a girl of transsexual identity who can only but dream of the life she / he could have had and here cue Duncan James in the imaginary role. Only growing up in 1950s England, in a period when gender roles were dictated by a transphobic society, Chris is unsure whether he will even find love. That is, until he chances upon Julie (Victoria Emslie); who's set to bring happiness to their lives, only for the ugly face of sexual prejudice to be seen in all of its bigoted savagery. Yet when hope seems all but lost, love can indeed conquer all.

Intercut flashback style with the opposing themes of the life that could have been and the reality of the life that is, this well-played work vividly depicts the pressures on those of differing sexuality to conform to social expectations. To that end, the Emslie / Sailors pairing shine as two lovers who just want to able to be themselves and yet it's Sue Moore who delivers the scene-stealing performance of the piece, wonderfully capturing the innermost thoughts of the now elderly Chris whose memories form the shorts' compelling narrative.

Complete with a poignant twist come close-of-play, frankly there's a lot to like here, even if personally I would have preferred to have seen Graf in the role of the imagined Chris, as delightful as James is. Yet at the end of the day, this is a short film that and in spite of all of the legal advances made in LGBTQ rights in recent times, cannot help but leave you questioning just how truly tolerant is society to those who walk a different sexual path in life? What is not in doubt however, is the beauty of this moving love story.

Trans Visibility - overt | Nudity - from the waist up | Overall - file under ... 4 stars

›› Blood Out of a Stone ‹‹

a short film by Ben Allen.

2018 | 14 mins | UK.

the highly engaging story of a date with a difference.

Dave says:

In another semi-autobiographical work, here we find actor, writer and director Ben Allen tell the highly engaging story of a date with a difference.

Not that Dan (Alex Austin) is aware of that at first, hooking up with sophisticated academic Michael (Oisín Stack). Feeling out of his depth from the onset, Dan is set to feel even more out of his comfort zone when Michael sets them a challenge; namely that of a shopping list of sorts to buy three items that they think their potential boyfriend-to-be would like. Arriving back in an hours time, they exchange purchases in a getting-to-know-you style, only for the evening to be cut short on account of Dan's early morning job interview, the next day. Yet in spending the evening together, just how well have they truly got to know each other?

This well-played work is but a captivating character study of two men at opposite ends of the social scale, who meet for a dinner date and possibly more. To that end, Stack is on fine form as the multilingual intellect of the piece and yet his character is far from class-conscious, loving every minute he's with working class lad Dan. And here Austin shines in the role of an East End boy meeting a man who he won't normally go out with; his facial expressions wonderfully conveying his awkwardness on being given a set of challenges by his date and yet equally curious to go along with them to see where the night may lead.

Yet and in spite of the lush screen chemistry between the two players, the real star here is the narrative itself, being refreshingly different to so many gay shorts of late, even if it's based on a real-life date that Allen had years earlier. The result is a work that feels like you're eavesdropping on the private conversation between two men on their first date together, one that and as we all know, could end on a joyous high or that of a sombre low. But to say which is on offer here; well, that would be saying...

Gay Visibility - overt | Nudity - none | Overall - file under ... 4 stars

›› No More We - Vi finns inte längre ‹‹

a short film by David Färdmar.

2018 | 15 mins | Sweden.

an emotionally honest depiction of two lovers going their separate ways.

Dave says:

Opening his short with a relationship close-of-play, here we find writer and director David Färdmar deliver an emotionally honest depiction of two lovers going their separate ways.

For this is the week that Adrian (Björn Elgerd) has dreaded; namely the defining end of his relationship with Hampus (Jonathan Andersson) as the two discuss who owns what, before packing the objects they once shared together into boxes before Hampus leaves Adrian in his flat alone with memories of a love that once was. That they still care for each, is not in doubt. Yet their relationship has reached its end, given - there's no more WE.

Essentially a two-man play, here we find Färdmar vividly depict the last week of a couple living together, yet counting down the days to their final hours, as one. Only they hold differing views on their separation. For whilst to Hampus it's a total relief to finally be free from their destructive relationship; for Adrian however it's devastating. Sleeping in the same bed together, but hardly looking at each other, it's all but clear that the spark of their relationship died a long time ago. But it's also apparent that the two were once deeply in love, even if that side of their story is only hinted at.

Hardly upbeat as you well expect, but nonetheless well-played throughout, the result is a story that frankly is all but crying out for a contrasting flashback sequence of happier days together, let alone for an explanation of how their love, turned cold. Thankfully, the answers were forthcoming, in the 'developed from the short' feature Are We Lost Forever that not only fills in many of the narrative potholes, but heartbreakingly details; well, enough said.

Gay Visibility - overt | Nudity - from the waist up | Overall - file under ... 3+ stars

›› Jermaine and Elsie ‹‹

a short film by Leon Lopez.

2017 | 21 mins | UK.

a deeply touching work on caring for those you love.

Dave says:

From multifaceted director Leon Lopez of Soft Lad fame comes this deeply touching work on caring for those you love.

For this is the story of the unlikely friendship that develops between Elsie (Marji Campi); a fiercely independent, if bigoted OAP with a drink problem and Jermaine (Ashley Campbell); namely the latest in a long line of carers to arrive at her door and who she delights in giving them hell. Only Jermaine is different. Breaking down Elsie's hostility with a smile, a joke and an attitude of the 'nothing's any bother' variety, Jermaine quickly wins Elsie over. Only when new carer Val (Suzie Chard) suddenly takes over from Jermaine, Elsie makes it her mission to find out what happened to her former carer, turned close friend.

There's a series of achingly poignant touches to this emotional story of the moving bond that develops between two opposites in life, with opinionated Elsie, well-played by Campi, having been clearly educated in the same school as Catherine Tate's foul mouthed Nan. Yet underneath all of her arrogance, lies a heart of gold, ever concerned over Jermaine's love life and how he's not found himself a nice girl yet. Only here is a man and for that matter a narrative, that prefers not to say, his character sexually ambiguous, even if we know of his friendship with Giles (Kiell Smith-Bynoe) from the onset, only for the question of whether Giles is a close friend or more, to be left blowing in the wind.

What's not unclear is the shorts' heartbreaking close-of-play, having all but been telegraphed in advance, by way of a number of hospital cutaways, each signally that something is not as it should be. Campbell however is wonderfully natural as the compassionate soul of the piece and yet the real star here is the story that he penned; that of how a stranger would come to turn the life around for an elderly woman and in the process show her how to love again. Beautifully told, if ultimately quite sad, even if the story of Elsie would continue in two further web-based episodes.

Gay Visibility - covert | Nudity - none | Overall - file under ... 4 stars

›› Four Quartets ‹‹

a short film by Marco Alessi.

2018 | 11 mins | UK.

a vibrant journey of self expression told through the medium of dance.

Dave says:

Another night out, another crowded gay club and pretty boy Raf is on the pull. Only tonight is different. For as try as he may, Raf is struggling to shine in the spotlight. Then again, the boy's trying too hard, having forgotten to let the music do the talking.

Having directed various music promos and videos in recent years, here we find London based writer and director Marco Alessi in his element, given this short film is for the main part set on the pulsating club beat of the dance floor, with star of the show Laurie Kynaston as Raf letting his body do the talking. Which is just as well, given and whilst the narrative has words, seldom are they heard, with Kynaston having all but been given a laconic role to play. Yet that's the point of this work. For drowned out by the night club beat, eye contact takes over from conversation, with subtle facial expressions and body language speaking volumes when words cannot be heard.

Only not everything takes places on the dance floor, for and having taken its title from the noted work by T.S. Eliot, here we find Alessi break his story into four sections, cutaways that show Raf at various stages of his development as a young man, one of which is as surreal, as it's indicative of the thoughts of a gay teen fantasying about the straight boy sitting next to him in class.

Shown both dancing by himself and with the crowd, most refreshing of all however are the scenes that show Raf dancing the night away with his best out 'n' proud lesbian friend Alice (Mary Antony), the section itself being a continuous sequence, surprisingly intercut both on and off the dance floor. Beautifully choreographed throughout, the result is but a vibrant journey of self expression told through the medium of dance, with Kynaston wonderfully natural in the role and boy, can he dance! Simply wondrous.

Gay Visibility - overt | Nudity - bare-arsed cheek | Overall - file under ... 4 stars

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