‘From Zero to I Love You’ Available Now on VOD, DVD From Ariztical

From Zero to I Love You is available now from LGBT distributor Ariztical Entertainment on VOD and DVD.

The film stars Scott Bailey and Darryl Stephens (Logo’s “Noah’s Arc,” Boy Culture the movie, the upcoming “Boy Culture” series, the series “DTLA”).

Doug Spearman’s second feature, following the gay detective movie Hot Guys With Guns, From Zero to I Love You is a semi-autobiographical story revolving around Jack (Bailey), who is in a seemingly perfect marriage but can no longer hide the secret desires that have plagued him. When he meets Pete (Stephens), what was supposed to be a one-night stand turns into a once in a lifetime love for both of them, threatening to upend everything Jack has built and changing his life forever.

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Spearman originally wrote the story as a novel called Welcome, Sinners. After adapting the novel to a screenplay, a scene from the script ran as a one-act play called Getting Better All the Time at the Beverly Hills Playhouse for a year, starring Jay Huguley as Pete and Al Sapienza as John, who both appear in the movie as Eric Dupont and Dr. Tracey Thayer, respectively.

HBO Max Announces Actors Playing Key LGBTQ+ Figures in Upcoming Limited Series ‘Equal’

HBO Max has released the actors set to portray iconic LGBTQ+ activists in the upcoming four-part docuseries “Equal,” premiering as a binge drop in October 2020 during LGBT History Month.

The cast will play a handful of trailblazers recognized for their unrelenting fight for justice and equality in the queer community of post-war America and the pre-Stonewall uprising. Included in the cast are Cheyenne Jackson, Anthony Rapp, Shannon Purser, Heather Matarazzo, Jamie Clayton, Isis King, Samira Wiley and Gale Harold.

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“Equal” honors the rebels of yesteryear with never-before-seen archival footage along with stylistic depictions that bring to life the backstories of these leaders and unsung heroes. Over the course of the series, viewers will meet a wide range of LGBTQ+ visionaries portrayed by the cast, many of whom identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Part one explores the rise of early organizations, the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis in Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively.

Part two chronicles the 20th century trans experience, bookended by the 1966 Compton Cafeteria riots in San Francisco.

Part three examines the contributions from the Black community on the growing LGBTQ+ civil rights movement.

And part four ties in the decades long struggles that culminated in the Stonewall uprising — the beginning of the Pride movement.

SVOD Pushing LGBTQ Programming, Demand

TV shows and movies featuring gay and/or transsexual characters have seen a boom on subscription streaming video services. New data from Ampere Analysis suggests SVOD platforms are leading the way in commissioning LGBT+ content. Between Q1 2019 and Q2 2020, 12 services globally ordered multiple LGBT+ movies or series. 80% of those commissions were destined for on-demand platforms, with public broadcasters such as the BBC and France Télévisions also favouring on-demand delivery for series with LGBT+ themes.

Linear TV operators were more likely to opt for one-off TV specials on LGBT+ topics than commit to long-form series. While SVOD services such as Netflix and Amazon have the advantage of global reach when it comes to finding an audience for LGBT+ shows, their LGBT+ catalogs remain majority U.S.-sourced, but this looks set to change as LGBT+ content produced internationally catches the attention of the major SVOD players.

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“Netflix and Amazon Prime Video’s originals ‘Orange Is the New Black’ and ‘Transparent’ confirmed the appeal of LGBT+ themed content beyond the LGBT+ community,” analyst Alice Thorpe said in a statement. “Now queer content is an expected part of new SVOD services’ offerings, as we’ve seen with newly launched platforms like HBO Max, Peacock and Quibi.”

London-based Ampere found 18- to 34-year-olds are the most likely to identify as part of, and be accepting of, the LGBT+ community. This audience also over-indexes for subscribing to SVOD services. HBO Max has commissioned as many series about LGBT+ people in the past 12 months as its pay-TV channels have in the past three years.

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These titles include comedy drama series “Beth & Sam” and “Drama Queen.” The platform also has LGBT+ movies in the pipeline, such as YA novel adaptation “I’ll Be the One” and “We Were There, Too,” from Gloria Calderón Kellett and Natasha Rothwell.

With three upcoming series, “Expecting,” “Clean Slate,” and a reboot of the iconic British series “Queer as Folk,” Peacock’s LGBT+ content equates to 7% of its entire original commissions slate to date.

Although Netflix and Amazon have seen the proportion of their global TV catalogs that is sourced from U.S. producers decline to around 29% and 31%, respectively, this is not the case for LGBT+ TV content.

LGBT+ TV shows on Netflix skew 65% American-produced. On Amazon it’s 58%. One of the reasons for this is likely to relate to the risks associated with producing such content overseas. For instance, recently the Turkish Netflix original, “If Only,” was denied filming rights by the country’s government because it featured a gay supporting character.

In general, however, LGBT+ shows resonate across many territories and offer great potential for international distribution.

“One aspect of LGBT+ content’s specific appeal is its ability to travel across territories and inspire fandom,” Thorpe said. “This allows characters to travel into spin-off series as we’ve seen in Spain and Mexico. The international players are staring to acquire some of this locally produced content and we expect to see more of it on the SVOD platforms in the coming quarters.”

Indeed, Spain’s Atresmedia’s long-running series, “Amar es para siempre” spawned modern-day drama “#Luimelia.” Commissioned for the group’s premium SVOD tier, Atresplayer Premium, it has already been renewed for a further two seasons. HBO Max recently acquired the platform’s original bioseries “Veneno,” about the life of the Spanish singer and trans icon.

In Mexico, Televisa’s “Mi marido tiene familia” spawned “El corazon nunca se equivoca,” a series about a young gay couple aimed at a teen audience. Elsewhere, Colombia’s RCN has “Lala’s Spa,” starring trans actress Isabella Santiago in production. In Brazil, Globoplay is working on a bioseries about Marielle Franco and Amazon has original September in the works.

The Korean market has been more conservative than APAC countries like Thailand and Japan where LGBT+ content is more common. However, the tide is changing and recently more well-rounded LGBT+ characters have appeared, for instance in jTBC’s “Itaewon Class.” This became the third-most-watched show in the broadcaster’s history in Q1 2020. The international platforms have spotted untapped potential in Korean content, with series such as “Where Your Eyes Linger,” recently acquired by Netflix for its Korean service.

Hulu Celebrates Pride Month With Free Virtual Fest, New Content

Hulu is celebrating Pride Month by offering new content in its LGBTQ+ hub and mounting its first-ever virtual PrideFest June 28.

The moves commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first Pride march and allow consumers to observe the event via social distancing as festivities are cancelled or postponed.

The Hulu PrideFest event will be an immersive digital experience that will allow users to virtually connect and enjoy exclusive music, dance, and spoken-word performances and programming throughout the day, according to the service.

Both Hulu subscribers and non-subscribers can visit the free festival at www.hulupridefest.com.

Upon arrival, guests will enter “The Green Room,” where they will have the option to create their own fully customizable avatar. Avatars can be customized with a drag wig or outfit patterns, including ferris wheels (“Love, Victor”), crowns and swords (“The Bravest Knight”), “Bonkers” the dog (“Shrill”), and basketballs (“Defining Moments With Ozy: Jason Collins”). 

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Guests can then proceed to “The Main Stage” to view Hulu content and interact with talent in a live festival environment. The day’s lineup includes DJ sets from artists such as Coco & Breezy, who will premiere a new single “Convo” (out June 26), musical performances by singer/songwriter Daya, Alex Newell (Glee”) and VINCINT, a spoken word session by Lee Mokobe, and a dance performance on the “History of Voguing” by House of Ebony. Visitors can also attend an “Out in Sports” panel with U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team co-captain Megan Rapinoe, transgender boxer Pat Manuel, and Jason Collins, the first openly gay active player in one of the four major sports leagues.

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Hulu’s PrideFest also features experiences such as a flower field where guests are encouraged to plant their own virtual flowers in a community garden with inspiring or supportive messages. Attendees will also have the ability to donate to the ACLU, an organization that fights for racial justice and LGBTQ+ rights, by clicking through to the ACLU website.

As part of its ongoing commitment to diverse stories, Hulu’s LGBTQ+ hub will feature new episodes of its exclusive series “Defining Moments,” featuring “Pose” actress and advocate Dominique Jackson and Jason Collins. The year-round hub features more than 100 titles, including new Hulu Original “Love, Victor,” which premiered June 17 and was inspired by the feature film Love, Simon.

Warner Bros. Responds to J.K. Rowling Controversy

Warner Bros. late June 10 issued a statement pertaining to comments “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling made last weekend about transgender identity. In a series of posts on social media, Rowling said women should be identified by their biological sex rather than gender identity.

“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction,” Rowling wrote on her website. “If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”

Rowling’s comments produced pushback on social media from the LGBTQ community and supporters claiming the author was advocating against her own message of inclusivity and empathy found in many “Harry Potter” books.

“Potter” stars Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe, in addition to “Fantastic Beasts” star Eddie Redmayne took to social media in support of the transgender community.

“Transgender women are women,” Radcliffe wrote on a post. “Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter …”

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Warner said the events in the past several weeks affirmed its resolve as a company to confront difficult societal issues — including fostering a diverse and inclusive culture.

“We deeply value the work of our storytellers who give so much of themselves in sharing their creations with us all,” the studio said in a statement. “We recognize our responsibility to foster empathy and advocate understanding of all communities and all people, particularly those we work with and those we reach through our content.”

For Warner, the controversy comes as Rowling is writing the script for Fantastic Beasts 3 and other projects near and dear to the studio’s bottom line. The “Potter” movie franchise has resulted in more than $6.5 billion at the global box office, in addition to millions more in home entertainment sales.

Breaking Glass Sets Home Dates for Brazilian LGBTQ Drama ‘Greta’

Indie film distributor Breaking Glass Pictures has set a Nov. 26 release date for Brazilian LGBTQ drama Greta, which will be available to home viewers on DVD and On Demand.

Directed by Armando Praça, the film stars Brazilian actors Marco Nanini, Denise Weinberg, and Demick Lopes.

Greta tells the story of a 70-year-old gay nurse named Pedro (Nanini), who is desperate to save his best friend (Weinberg), an ailing transgender woman. In order to accomplish this, he helps a criminal in police custody (Lopes) escape from the premises to free up a hospital bed for his friend. He sets up the criminal in his appartment so he can treat his wounds, prompting a highly charged affair between the two that highlights Pedro’s solitude, as he prepares to deal with his friend’s death.

Greta was a nominee at the Berlin International Film Festival, the Guadalajara International Film Festival, the Molodist International Film Festival, and the Jerusalem Film Festival. It won Best Film and The Special Jury Award at the Milan International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, and the Feature Film Trophy at Cine Ceará — National Cinema Festival, where Praça was awarded Best Director.

LGBTQ Coming-of-Age Drama ‘The Experience’ Due on VOD, EST and DVD Nov. 5 From Random

The LGBTQ coming-of-age drama The Experience will arrive on VOD, EST and DVD Nov. 5 from Random Media.

The film stars Allison Kove (Rotten), Ava Capri (Little Rituals) Shawn Christian (“Days of Our Lives”), Lou Ferrigno Jr. (“S.W.A.T”), Sabina Gadecki (“Entourage”), Brigitte Nielsen (Beverly Hills Cop II) and Gordon Thomson (“Dynasty”).

Set against the unique backdrop of a tough love wilderness program for the wayward children of the elite upper class, The Experience examines the life of Scarlet (Kove), a teenage girl whose ongoing behavior — partying, piercings and suicide attempts — has landed her at the Hills of Heaven wilderness camp, where she begrudgingly hauls a 40-pound backpack in the sweltering heat of an arid, hilly back country. When a mysterious girl named Dillion (Capri) arrives at camp, Scarlet begins to open up and maybe even fall in love. However, just when the girls are making a meaningful connection, they are forced to reconcile their reality in ways they cannot begin to fathom and question the very fabric of their own existence.

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The Experience is a powerful and offbeat coming-of-age story that has every emotion conjured for our teenage lead characters,” said writer-director Katerina Gorshkov in a statement. “We are particularly excited to have powerhouse Brigitte Nielson cast in the film, as her role is not her usual action-thriller villain.”

FandangoNow Launches ‘Best LGBTQ Movies of All Time’ List for Pride Month

In celebration of Pride Month, FandangoNow is hosting a “Best LGBTQ Movies of All Time” promotion, featuring a collection of the 200 top-reviewed LGBTQ films, hand-picked by FandangoNow’s sister site, Rotten Tomatoes.

Taking the top spot is Academy Award-winner Moonlight, starring Mahershala Ali. Can You Ever Forgive Me, starring Melissa McCarthy, came in at No. 2, with Call Me By Your Name and The Favourite, at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively. Coming in at No. 5 was Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Booksmart, just released in theaters, took the No. 6 spot.

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