Home #Hwoodtimes BOYS SHORTS: Affirming Gay Male Short Films at Outfest 2022

BOYS SHORTS: Affirming Gay Male Short Films at Outfest 2022

By Jim Gilles

Mohammad (Kansha) in Dania Bdeir’s Warsha

Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 7/12/22 – A regular feature of the annual Outfest LGBTQ+ Film Festival in Los Angeles is the collection of short films that are affirming, ironic, and funny entitled BOYS SHORTS, which screens at the Directors Guild of America on Saturday, July 16, 11:00 AM. Whether it’s a camping trip on Catalina Island, a construction crane overlooking the buildings of Beirut, a trip to visit your boyfriend’s parents in Beijing or a chance encounter on a London balcony, the men in these evocative and deeply felt films from around the world search for a stage to plant their feet and live their truths out loud. Unique dilemmas arise – an accidentally ingested edible here, a lurid sex tape from a U.S. Senator there – but by trusting their instincts or leaning on their community for support, they each demonstrate the authentic gay experience. This gathering of short films are all the winners of awards at various international film festivals. If you are unable to make it to the theatrical screening of BOYS SHORTS, the films will be available for virtual streaming with Outfest beginning July 19.

Sam McConnell’s Brutal

In the lineup is Warsha (France/Lebanon, 15 min), made by Lebanese-Canadian director Dania Bdeir and the winner of the Short Film Jury Award at Sundance 2022. A Syrian migrant named Mohammad (played by Khansa) is working as a crane operator in Beirut and volunteers to cover a shift on one of the most dangerous cranes, where he is able to find his freedom when he is away from everyone’s eyes. Like many undocumented Syrian refugees living in Lebanon, he works at job that many Lebanese are unwilling to do – especially work at high-rise construction sites. He lives in a crowded apartment with six other Syrian men and treasures a battered photograph of an Egyptian female singer with heavy make-up surrounded by flowing red fabric. Dania Bdeir explains “Warsha is about liberating oneself from any shackles that limit us be it gender, societal, cultural, or even self-imposed expectations and unleashing whatever desires are burning within.”

Cast of Brutal with Cheyenne Jackson

Brutal (USA, 13 min) is a clever and amusing film made by Sam McConnell. This well-written short film is about Jack Roth (played by Cheyenne Jackson), once the hottest star of cable news, as he stumbles upon a “newsworthy sex scandal” about a Senator and has a one-of-a-kind career dilemma in choosing whether to air it on national television. Actor Cheyenne Jackson recently received the Best Actor Award at the Venezia Shorts 2022. Director Sam McConnell is known for his fine TV documentary The Trans List (2016) and The Hunter (2020), a short about a young man who meets up with a flamboyant performance artist in Greenwich Village in 1985.

Tyler Rabinowitz’s Catalina

Catalina (USA, 16 min), made by Tyler Rabinowitz, is the story of a queer man and his two childhood friends who reunite for a weekend camping trip on Catalina Island. It seems to be a buddy film with lovely photography of Catalina and underwater sea life. The one named Gus (Sam DiGiovanni) has a gay partner who did not come. Then there is Brian (Ben Holtzmuller) who lives in New York City and seems have begun a successful career as a writer. The third is Will (Ronald Peet), an African American man who reveals that he chose to drop out of law school because he does not really want to be a lawyer and is not sure what makes him happy. The bigger question posed is are you doing what you really love to do? The director Tyler Rabinowitz is an L.A.-based writer-director-producer with a number of short films to his credit including See You Soon (2020) and the award-winning How I Got to the Moon by Subway (2018) as well as being the producer of Lavender (2019), which was acquired by Searchlight Pictures.

Keeran Anwar Blessie, film, A Fox in the Night

A Fox in the Night (UK, 11 min.), directed by Keeran Anwar Blessie, is about a man named Lewis (played by Keeran Anwar Blessie) who lives in South London. Before a big night out, Lewis puts up his guard when asked by a friend Daniel (Korey Ryan) to pick up some drugs from his dealer. On arrival, Lewis is confronted with an unexpected invitation – and an unexpected connection. Keeran Anwar Blessie is an actor and producer, known for TV series Ghosts (2019) and TV series Brave New World (2020).

Sining Xiang’s Foreign Uncle, featuring Patrick Boyd

Foreign Uncle (China, 20 min) was directed by Sining Xiang, who is a product of UCLA’s Film Department and his film recently picked up the Best Short Student Film Award at the Palm Springs International ShortFest 2022. In the film, a gay Chinese man named Li Li (played by Sining) brings his American boyfriend Patrick (Patrick Boyd) back to China to visit his family. After Sining accidentally comes out to them, everyone’s attitude towards Patrick goes south – except for Sining’s seven-year-old nephew, Naonao.

Harris Doran’s film F^¢k ‘Em R!ght B@¢k

Harris Doran’s film F^¢k ‘Em R!ght B@¢k (USA, 12 min) premiered in the 2022 Sundance Film Festival where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize and later won the Jury Prize for Best Comedy at the Aspen ShortsFest making the film Oscar-qualifying. In his comedic short co-written by Harris Doran and Ddm Ddm, a queer Black aspiring Baltimore rapper named Sammy (played by Ddm Ddm) must outwit his vengeful day-job boss in order to avoid getting fired after accidentally eating an edible. Harris Doran has been the writer/director of the TV mini-series Bleeding Love (2020) and The Ivanka Diaries (2020). A native New Yorker, Doran has a long history of acting on stage and in television. Harris produced and directed the Know Your Rights educational video series for New York Transgender Advocacy Group (2019). His multi-award winning writer/director debut feature film Beauty Mark (2017) premiered as a US competition film in the LA Film Festival to rave reviews and for which Harris was shortlisted for the Film Independent Spirit Awards’ Someone To Watch Award.