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Protecting shameless glee

Stephen Blake takes a look at Glee, highlights the work of The Trevor Project and takes a look at two ground-breaking short films – the Oscar-winning Trevor, from 1994, and this year’s widely anticipated Protect Me From What I Am.

Chris Colfer, who plays a gay teenager in Glee, the hit US musical drama series, revealed in April that he is going through one of the most meaningful times in his life.

He said he had been inundated by messages from children who felt isolated, and he attributed it to being a direct result of his role in Glee:

“I’ve had so many young boys and girls write to me and explain their situation where they live in environments that don’t accept who they are. Just knowing that . . . being on a television show that is awarded and praised so much, but having material like that that affects so many people in such a sensitive and emotional way is the greatest award any of us could have.”

Colfer had been speaking to fans who attended the “Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Presents an Evening with Glee” event, which was held, at the end of April, at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre in North Hollywood, California, USA.

Colfer plays Kurt Hummel, a gay teen who is bullied and secretly in love with Finn (Cory Montieth), a football-playing student at the same school. In a recent episode, “Home”, Kurt’s unrequited love for Finn and the inner struggle he’s having as to whether his dad, Burt (Mike O’Malley), is really accepting of him was dealt with very sensitively.

Chris Colfer
Chris Colfer

“It’s very emotional – probably the most emotional for Kurt,” Colfer said, about the storyline, in an interview with E! Online. “Kurt is so strong. He’s more concerned with being OK in his dad’s eyes than with anyone else. And that relationship definitely gets stronger. Some of the best stuff is coming up for it.”

In the interview, Colfer went on to say that he believed that the offscreen relationship between himself and O’Malley was what had made their onscreen relationship so convincing: “It’s amazing how much we just connected just right off the bat,” he told E! Online. “And really, we’ve only actually been around each other for seven calendar days, so it’s pretty cool that we can have that much chemistry onscreen. Burt is just a cool dad. He’s just a great dad. Probably the best on TV. [The onscreen bond] just gets stronger and stronger.”

The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is the leading US national organisation focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

The Trevor Project operates the only accredited, nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for LGBTQ youth in the US. If you or a friend are feeling lost or alone, call The Trevor Helpline (866-4-U-TREVOR). There is hope, there is help.

The Trevor Helpline: 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386)  

Daniel Radcliffe – who plays Harry Potter in the films of the same name – made a large donation to The Trevor Helpline last year, and is soon to appear in an advertisement for the project. He was interviewed by E! Online, and had this to say:

I grew up knowing a lot of gay men, and it was never something that I even thought twice about – that some men were gay and some weren’t. And then I went to school and, [for] the first time, I came across homophobia. I had never encountered it before. It shocked me.

I have always hated anybody who is not tolerant of gay men or lesbians or bisexuals. Now I am in the very fortunate position where I can actually help or do something about it.

I’ve described myself as being “gently eccentric”, and slightly different as a person just because I’ve had a very different set of influences growing up than anybody else in my peer group did.

I’ve always felt very lucky to have the life that I’ve had. I never had to cope with anything serious about my religion or sexual orientation or anything like that. I think it’s important for somebody from a big, commercial movie series like Harry Potter, and particularly because I am not gay or bisexual or transgendered.

The fact that I am straight makes not a difference, but it shows that straight people are incredibly interested and care a lot about this as well.

Trevor

Set in 1981, Trevor, told through a series of diary entries, follows Trevor, a 13-year-old passionate Diana Ross fan who strives for attention from his parents by frequently faking suicide.

To his delight, Trevor is befriended by hunky school athlete, Pinky Faraday, upon whom he develops a crush. When he confesses how he feels about Pinky to his best friend Walter Stiltman, not realizing anything is unusual about his feelings, his friend turns on him and word spreads at school that Trevor is gay.

Shortly thereafter, a confused Trevor is ostracised by his entire school, and, in his ensuing pain, goes to such lengths as to give himself electric-shock therapy to reverse his apparent homosexuality, runs away from home and, ultimately, attempts suicide while lip-syncing to the Diana Ross/Lionel Ritchie song “Endless Love”.

When Trevor awakes in the hospital, he meets Jack, a young candy-striper* with a supportive demeanour. Jack’s friendship and advice, along with an offer for Trevor to see Diana Ross, inspires Trevor to live again. The film closes with Trevor buoyant, and dancing up the street to his parents’ house, while singing a Diana Ross song, “I’m Coming Out”.

*A “candy-striper” is an American term for a volunteer hospital worker in a hospital. The name originates from the resemblance of the volunteer’s red-and-white-striped uniform to a piece of candy.

In 1994, Trevor won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short. In 1995, the Oscar was followed with several more awards: Hampton Film Festival First Prize, Golden Arrow Award; Aspen Shortsfest – Aspen Film Festival First Prize; Berlin International Film Festival Teddy Award – Best Short Film; Sundance Film Festival – Honourable Mention; San Francisco International Film Festival – Golden Gate Award for Best Short Film; and San Francisco Gay & Lesbian Film Festival – Audience Award for Best Short Film.

Shameless boys

One of the most eagerly anticipated gay films of the year, Protect Me From What I Am, starring Elliott Tittensor, is finally released on DVD. Tittensor plays the rather buff young scally lad in Paul Abbott’s Channel 4 drama series, Shameless. This short seems to have been in the offing for an absolute age but, happily, the long wait is over. 

The film tells the story of Daz (Tittensor), who is looking for love, and Saleem (Naveed Choudry), who is looking for sex. Cruising at an underground archway, their two worlds collide. Then, back at Daz’s bedsit, Saleem embarks on a dangerous, thrilling sexual adventure.

Elliott Tittensor
Elliott Tittensor

The disparate worlds of both characters overlap and collide to tell a tale of loneliness and longing in a city late at night. Flirting with danger, the dialogue erodes to a series of images of tenderness, violence, power and control.

And there’s more! Protect Me From What I Am is only one film (of nine) to be included on Boys on Film 4.

The hugely popular Boys on Film brand was started by Peccadillo Pictures in 2009. This latest entry in the stable picks up where Boys On Film 3: American Boy left off, with nine award-winning short films about objects of desire, and whether the attaining of them is worth the struggle.

Protect Me From What I Want is the headline film in the collection, which also includes Vandals, a “gay-graffiti tale”, where passive and submissive roles are tackled and tugged at; Wrestling, an Icelandic grapple-fest; Postmortem, My Name is Love, and the Iris Prize winner, Steam – all of which look at promising encounters that turn awry; Heiko, an alternative ode to foot fetishes; Breath, which tells the tale of twelve-year-old Erik, who swims out to sea to make a daring move on his best friend’s father!; Trevor, the Oscar-winning short film.

Birthday competition

This year, 2010, Peccadillo Pictures is reaches its tenth anniversary and, to celebrate, they are giving away 100 DVDs

Peccadillo Competition

As part of our ongoing tenth birthday celebrations in 2010, Peccadillo Pictures will be giving away ten DVDs to ten lucky winners, that’s a total of ONE HUNDRED up for grabs!

All you have to do is browse through our website and select ten films that you would like to own on DVD (box sets and future releases not included).

Then send us an email to, telling us your ten choices. You must also answer the following question:

What is your favourite Peccadillo Pictures film and why?

Responses will be put into our weekly newsletter,* and the winners will receive their ten chosen copies by the end of May 2010.

Competition open to UK residents only. Competition closes 24 May. Good luck!

*By entering this competition, you also agree to join Peccadillo Pictures newsletter
Related links

Glee (official website)
E! Online
Peccadillo Pictures (official website)
peccapics (Peccadillo on Twitter)
Shameless (official website)
The Trevor Project