Short film "Content" explores consent between gay men

"Content," a short film featuring a model and photographer, explores issues of consent in a professional context between queer men.

Image shows a bearded white man gazing to the left of the camera agains a white background, wearing a red shirt.

A film which premiered earlier in the year, Content, explores issues of consent, especially in terms of professionalism, between queer men. Directed by Chris Coates, the 12-minute long movie follows a gay model who is the subject of a photography project, shot by another man. 

The model is more reserved and slightly shy, whereas the photographer is more forward and is willing to cross certain boundaries in order to get a perfect shot. The process of navigating this relationship is what inspires the questions of consent and interrelated dynamics between the two men. 

The script was written by Ben Sidell, who also played the model protagonist, Kevin. It was inspired by an experience similar to that which the character undergoes. 

Speaking to The Advocate, Sidell stated: “With Content, it was our goal to discuss the complicated nature and grey areas of consent in the gay community.”

The power dynamics are very clear in the short film, with the photographer’s actions explicitly becoming increasingly sexual as professional, but invisible boundaries are crossed. “This scene is an exploration of the cat and mouse dynamics between two gay men exchanging power and flirtation until the line of professionalism is crossed,” commented Sidell.

The movie also explores the intersection between the digital and the tangible, both in terms of the process behind capturing a certain emotion, and the intersection of seeing and being seen.

“In the digital world we are teased with the promise of false validation, but in the real world we are left wondering how much that recognition is really worth.”

Content was directed by Chris Coates. His most recent short film, Good Boy, was shown at numerous film festivals including NewFilmmaker LA’s showcase of LGBT+ works in June 2017. Content premiered at Outcast festival in LA in July.

It also appears among a recent slew of wonderful LGBT+ short films.

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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