While I’m working on my roundup of gay shorts [now finished] released or featured in festivals during the pandemic, I thought I’d go ahead and share some of my favorites that I’ve found on Vimeo over time. Here’s the first in the series.
Note: If the video won’t go full-screen, click here to watch it on Vimeo.
A queer, black college student is forced to confront the masks he wears from day to day when an old friend comes to visit. Director – Nyles Washington Cast – Isaiah Rusk, Nyles Washington, Elias Weinberg, William Kachi, Brandon Pegram Producer – Mackenzie McMahon Director of Photography – Zach Morrison Editor – Dionisio Traverso 2nd Unit Director – Rama Tchuente Co-Producers – Nyles Washington, Rama Tchuente, Elias Weinberg, Alexis Roberts Produced in Austin, TX with the support of the local film community we love.From the Vimeo synopsis
Nyles Washington’s Other Black Boys is one of only three notable Stateside releases I’ll be including in my roundup, and one of two directed by Black men.
As I write elsewhere, my affinities and life experiences help determine my choices and preferences in films, not just gay ones. These default settings include my status of being an internationalist expat who dissents from the militaristic, parochial, consumerist, polarized, anti-intellectual, punishment-loving tendencies of American life and culture, political and otherwise.
I’m not stating all this to privilege my perspective, but to be honest about where I’m coming from, and also explain why what appeals to other American gay white men often doesn’t appeal to me. (But that’s been true more often than not, even when I lived there, and not just about movies.)
Your judgements and priorities may not be mine, and vice versa. That’s OK, but it can often lead to misunderstanding and confusion for everyone trying to talk about gay films.
Read some risky writing.
But what if we’re left with a situation in which the most important work doesn’t even get seen?
How is that even possible?
It could be that Washington is as bad at hustling as another great Black filmmaker, Charles Burnett. The entry for Other Black Boys on Letterboxd doesn’t even have a cover/poster, and the one on IMDb is a still, not a poster. Maybe he’s not interested? According to what I’ve read, his first calling was to act. (He’s perfect as the abusive bro on the DL in his own film.)
The cover image on Vimeo does show that the film has played at multiple film festivals, but based on the power and relevance of the film itself — a scenario echoed most recently in Lil Nas X’s video for That’s What I Want — we should be hearing much more about it.
Here’s our chance to go a little way in fixing that.
Read some risky writing.