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Gay and Lesbian Titles Move Across Borders

26 Jul, 2003 By: Dan Bennett

Romantic comedies are a hot ticket in any language.

Increasingly, gay and lesbian-themed titles are moving across borders and earning customer and critical acclaim. Strand Releasing, one of the leading suppliers of gay-themed product, streets I Love You, Baby (VHS $39.99, DVD $29.99) Aug. 5. The Spanish romantic comedy stars Jorge Sanz, known for his work in the Oscar-winning film Belle Epoque.

Sanz stars as a sexually ambivalent man who goes to Madrid, hoping to find a special companion. He finds two -- one male, one female -- and must choose between them. The romantic comedy includes a rare screen appearance by Boy George.

Strand also recently released the Japanese romantic comedy/drama Hush (VHS $39.99, DVD $29.99), described as in the same spirit as Shall We Dance? and The Wedding Banquet. The story involves another complicated threesome, when a young woman suggests to a gay male couple that the three of them conceive a child and raise a family.

The main element of success, said Strand Releasing co-president Jon Gerrans, is the same as in other categories: quality.

“Over the past few years, and consistent with the growth of the DVD market, quality gay-themed pictures have demonstrated an ability to perform well within the niche,” Gerrans said. “Quality is the key, though, and coupled with theatrical exposure for the titles, I feel, makes the difference. Without these two elements, the potential number of sales is minimal at best.”

Meanwhile, Picture This! Home Video just released the second title in its “Tales From the Orphanage” series. The series includes foreign-language titles dealing with young people and their search for identity. Kicking things off last December was Abandoned, and just released was Boy's Choir (VHS $39.95, DVD $24.95). The Japanese film follows a teen boy sent to a Catholic orphanage who joins the choir and makes friends with both a gay classmate and girls at a neighboring school, creating a dilemma.

Earlier this month, Picture This! released the lesbian-themed German title Journey to Kafiristan, an epic story of two women who explore Afghanistan in 1939.

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