Natalie Gravenor | Friday November 14th, 2014
German documentary filmmaker Jochen Hick is a chronist of the multiple facets of gay life in Germany, the US and – more recently, Eastern Europe. We are proud to present a selection documentaries by Jochen Hick on realeyz. His latest, OUT IN EAST BERLIN, will be released on realeyz on December 12, 2014.
Hick has always been able to find fresh angles and build up a special trusting relationship to the people he portrays. Tom Weise, protagonist of the THE GOOD AMERICAN, is no exception. Weise is a young German gay man who broke ties with his family and dropped out of university to seek freedom and friendship in New York City. Weise is HIV positive, which precluded him from gaining any legal status in the US, as people living with HIV were forbidden to immigrate until 2010. Weise is homeless and destitute until he meets Jeffrey Davids and chances upon a great business idea: rentboy.com, an online escort and masseur service for gay men. As rentboy.com grows to become the largest internet platform of its kind, it decides to combine PR and giving back to the community by initiating (and to this day, organizing) the tri-annual HustlaBall, a sex cabaret charity event. Proceeds go to AIDS research and hate crime prevention organizations.
THE GOOD AMERICAN captures Tom at a crucial time in his life. He has kicked his drug habit and entered into a committed relationship with Keith and is planning to move with him back to Berlin, where Tom hasn’t been for 15 years. Tom arrives in Berlin just in time for the German edition of HustlaBall. Hick’s film and the remarkable Tom Weise, an engaging, giving person who is strong and vulnerable at the same time, invite the viewer into a (likely) new, unknown world of gay party organizers, escorts and other sex workers. A myriad of issues are explored: living with HIV, the impact of the internet on sex services, shifting the sex marketplace from dark parks to the PC as well as universal themes such as friendship and love.