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  • Writer's pictureBen Turner

BOYS ON FILM 21: BEAUTIFUL SECRET - Short Film Collection

The new short film collection from Boys On Film is out on 1st March 2021, entitled 'Beautiful Secret' and released by Peccadillo Pictures. Their 21st collection, the UK's most popular purveyor of LGBT+ shorts brings us films from the UK, Canada, Switzerland, Romania and Australia. Take a look at each of the films in the collection below...


Starring: Elliott Warren, Nico Marraccino, Tony Richardson. Director: Theo James Krekis.

In this poetic short, archive footage of the 80s and 90s is overlaid by the voiceover memoirs of a young “geezer” from Essex who grew up gay with the support of his family. Talking about family life, nights out and holidays the anecdotes are laden with Cockney charm as the narrator sounds like any other lad growing up his age, except incidentally gay. A nostalgic and poignant short, it’s also great fun too.


Starring: Hans Piesbergen, Simon Eckert, Will Hearle, Martin Hamann. Director: Joe Morris.

In this remarkable short film, we meet Hansi, a drag queen at a cabaret club in Berlin 1933. It is the evening after the burning of the Reichstag and the SS are running rampage across the city under the newly gained authority of Hitler and the Nazis. As friends urge caution about continuing to perform, Hansi defiantly takes to the stage, knowing that the Weimar Republic’s days of liberal tolerance are done and their reckoning is upon them. Laden with dread, Hansi watches her friends making plans for their future together, knowing that they simply won’t happen. With a truly astonishing performance from Piesbergen as the central sage queen, this is a brilliant piece of writing that perfectly captures one of the biggest nodal points in Queer History.


Starring: Victor Boudreault, Antoine L’Ecuyer, François Trudel. Director: Zachary Ayotte.

Felix is fourteen and meets an older boy at the swimming pool, who he is instantly attracted to. As their flirtation develops into something more, Felix takes more and more risks, hoping that his father will catch them together to give him the opportunity to confront him. The story is the realisation of his confrontational anger about his sexuality, and Felix’s initial passivity gives way to his burning need to be his authentic self. Sensual, subtle and haunting, this is an unusual coming out story, about someone who refuses to be a victim and takes control of their own narrative.

L'HOMME JETEE (Switzerland)

Starring: Youssouf Abi-Ayad, David Charcot, Hubert Girard. Director: Loïc Hobi.

In the French port of Le Havre, a cargo ship docks, bringing ashore Giuseppe, a wayward sailor jaded by life at sea. On land, he meets Théo, a man desperate to escape his home and find a life on the ocean. Enduring the crew’s hazing rituals, he is desperate to wander the earth, while Giuseppe is desperate to be left behind. And with this disparity between them, they make a connection, but for how long is down to what they decide when the boat departs. A beautiful story of tenderness in the harsh reality of shipping, this is a brilliantly crafted love story that will grab you by the barnacled heart-strings.


Starring: Yoni Roodner, Jacob Avery, Rio Thake. Director: Jason Bradbury.

It’s 2003 and spliced alongside real-life footage of a teenagehood spent on the Isle Of Wight, we meet Tommy, a fifteen year-old spending summer with friends with whom he yearns to make a deeper connection. His relationship with his mother is strained and the only person who seems to understand him is a boy he has met in an online chatroom, bearing the screen name “My Sweet Prince”. All band hoodies, greasy curtains and plenty of weed, this is a microcosm of the era, when teenagers came of age at the same time as the Internet, realising their own possibility alongside that of the web. A short about personal - and technological - awakening, this is a historical artefact about the last real time that teenagers had an excuse for their angst, aptly set to a soundtrack by Placebo.


Starring: Pete MacHale, Ludovic Jean-Francois, Atlanta Hayward. Director: Abel Rubinstein.

Blake and Cane are boyfriends, hanging out in bed, playing video games and having fun. One is a trans man and when he wanders into his flatmate’s room accidentally still wearing the accoutrements of last night’s sexual exploits, a bubbling underlying insecurity is reawakened about his gender identity. A sweet short about the complexity of self-acceptance even in the most loving of scenarios, this has all the colour and vim of a Gen Z YouTube video but with the heart of something far more sincere.


Starring: David Menkin, Nancy Baldwin, Christy Meyer. Director: Sam Peter Jackson.

A middle-aged gay American living in London is taken aback when his mother jets in from the States to surprise him, with his sister roped in for good measure. She’s come to tell him that she knows he’s gay and she’s hurt that he’s never told her. Over the course of their weekend together, truths are revealed and arguments flair, but the weekend is one of healing for them all as they’re finally able to reveal their truths. A comedy drama with a trio of strong performances, this is a fun short with real heart.

A NORMAL GUY (Romania)

Starring: Vlad Bîrzanu, Pedro Aurelian. Director: George Dogaru.

Daniel has got lucky at a bar, taking a hunky stranger home with him. But when he gets back, his brother and his girlfriend won’t leave thrm alone in their shared apartment. Frustrated by their disruption, he sees them as a hindrance, but when he sees the man he met kissing someone else the next time he’s out, he’s glad of the company of his family after all. But when it comes to him being alone with his family once more, he is the hindrance to them instead. A film about family and support, this is a funny little short that’s less about the sex that the little family unit are having and more about the deep connections between them all.

PRETTY BOY (Australia)

Starring: Mert Altunsoy, Nick Cimino, Rob Holland. Directos: Pierce Hadjinicola, Sinclair Suhood.

A teenager is hiding his sexuality from his mother. When his school rings home about his truancy, she begins to ask questions about who he’s spending his time with and where he’s actually going. In reality, he’s with an older partner, who wants him to come out, so he can stop being his “beautiful secret” anymore. Though not especially groundbreaking in its subject and with a script riddled with clichés, it is carefully handled and pleasantly composed. Full of teenage angst and tentative self-discovery, the film is anchored by a strong performance from its lead.

UK Release: 1st March 2021, released by Peccadillo Pictures


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