WATCH: “Red Skin,” A New Gay/Bisexual Web Series From The Creator of “Freefall”

By Nick Delmacy | Posted Aug 12 2016 | 21 Comments  

dsc08180-jpg

Writer/Director and “Freefall” creator Lamont Pierre debuts his newest LGBT web series, “Red Skin” starring Karras Jordan and Kevin Boles, Jr. The pilot episode is directed, edited, produced, photographed and co-written by Pierre himself.

Synopsis:

Santana and Kaleb are a couple who each are addicted to the highs and lows of a turbulent love. Each are operating at an emotional deficit looking to fill a void in the other — all while their friends and acquaintances speculate and watch subversively from the sidelines. Will this volatile couple, in love but addicted to dysfunction be able to survive each other, go their separate ways to save themselves or will they ultimately, tragically and maybe poetically, crash and burn — together.

Trailer:

The shortened 13-minute FREE version of the premiere episode is embedded below, but the full 36-minute version (and all of his other work) is available for only $7.00 per month or $50.00 per year on Lamont Pierre’s VHX powered site, The Arthouse: CLICK HERE

As critical of Freefall as we’ve been in the past, we were still bravely blessed by the producers with a Media Pass to view the full pilot episode for review.

Before I share my thoughts, here’s the Free Version of the episode:

Now that you’ve seen it for yourself, I’ll start with the good…the things that I did like about the show:

First off, whether you are fans of Lamont Pierre’s work or not (or even know who he is at all), I think it’s time that we acknowledge his place in the annals of Black Gay Cinema. No other filmmaker has created more for the cinematic representation of this community than him. I know how that sounds, but its true. This fact didn’t hit me until I was halfway through “Red Skin.”

After 4 seasons of “Freefall” (yes, we remember the “Men In Black” memory-wiped “pilot season”), 2 seasons of Miles + Cal and a number of smaller web series, shorts and even a feature film…pound for pound, minute for minute, he’s created more Black Gay Content than any other filmmaker. This includes Deondray & Quincy Gossfield, Patrick-Ian Polk and Lee Daniels.

One could argue that it’s about quality over quantity, but given Pierre’s deliberate artistic aesthetic with very limited resources, anyone arguing against his contributions to the community are just haters in denial.

dsc08098-jpg

I would even go as far as to argue that Pierre has a better visual sensibility than the aforementioned Black Gay filmmakers. His images typically look pretty cinematic (albeit a tad too dark at times), so much so that it almost seems like you could pause his films at any point, print out the still image and sell it as a print.

While this ability isn’t all that is necessary to being considered a good filmmaker, it at least informs us that he, unlike many others creating Black gay content on the Internet, recognizes that film is a VISUAL medium. Not just a point-and-shoot medium.

Also, I have to give props to Pierre for continuing to buck away from the typical Black gay character stereotypes. At no point while watching “Red Skin” did I expect to see one of the characters snapping, twerking or brushing away invisible bangs from their foreheads.

I won’t use the much maligned “M” word, but these characters, like many of his others, definitely skew more on the testosterone-heavy side of the gay and bisexual spectrum.

dsc08023-jpg

Also, “Red Skin” (I keep wanting to say “Red Tails,” smh) fills in the world a bit more than we saw with “Freefall” and many other web series, where literally all of the characters seem to be handsome black gay men or black straight men who were like, y’know, totally cool with all that gay shit.

There are women on this show, and they’re not just there to be best friends to the gay men.

And the gay people seem to actually interact with non-gay people…in social settings.

This may seem like not a big deal, but I’ve seen a LOT of web series content over the years and 10 times out of 10, the characters live in Gay World.

A world where Black gays run the planet…

A world where ALL Black straight people are like, y’know, totally cool with all that gay shit…

Where straight people are “best friends” with gays and even go to gay clubs, just for like, y’know, fun.

screen-shot-2016-07-07-at-2-54-31-am-png

So now on to what I didn’t love about this episode and series so far.

It’s clear from Lamont Pierre’s entire body of work that he’s very interested in dysfunctional co-dependent relationships. That seems to be a very common thread.

Does this come from personal experience? Is this merely how he views gay relationships in general? Does he just believe that drama equals conflict so his characters must be dysfunctional to convey that drama quickly?

Speculation aside, from an audience perspective, I felt that the dysfunction wasn’t earned in this pilot episode. When we’re introduced to Kaleb, he informs us through narration that he’s moving to Atlanta to live with his long-distance boyfriend, Santana, who he’s known for all of 5 months. Once we see them in the same space together, they are very distant, non-intimate and non-communicative.

Lamont Pierre, shouting from the window of The Arthouse, would likely say, “That’s the point! Their distance symbolically represents their relationship!”

I get that…but this is the first time we’re seeing these two “boyfriends” together. I didn’t see reasons WHY Kaleb would pack up and move to Atlanta for Santana, even just from an on-screen chemistry perspective.

Just from personal association, if I were to be so in love with a long-distance boyfriend to pack up and move in with him in another state, we would at least have dope conversations when you saw us together, especially home alone. Our relationship had been built on that up to that point, right?

This storytelling failure plagues the rest of the episode. I constantly kept asking myself, “Okay wait, so why are these two people even together again?”

It became a distraction. Even more so when the bulk of the drama depended on us caring that Santana is cheating on Kaleb with women…and that Kaleb even knows about it from the start.

They seem to even fail the co-dependency test.

Based on what has been established, Kaleb doesn’t NEED Santana…especially now that he lives in Atlanta, in college, is attractive and has Jack’d. And Santana clearly doesn’t NEED (or even seem to want) Kaleb for any reason other than to have a punching-bag roommate with benefits.

One of my favorite relationship based television shows is FX’s “You’re The Worst.” This show is also about a very dysfunctional couple, Jimmy and Gretchen, but from the very first episode we see them click on both a chemistry and physical level. We simultaneously think that these two people shouldn’t be together, while at the same time we hope that they stay together or get back together when they break up.

As it stands now, if the second episode started with Kaleb moving out of Santana’s apartment and never seeing him again, I would be okay with that…might even love the series more for the bold fake out move.

screen-shot-2016-07-08-at-3-36-16-am-png

Also, there doesn’t yet seem to be much “there” there. Even after reading the synopsis and watching the full episode, I couldn’t really tell anyone what it was about.

So far, this series, like many others, lacks a distinctive premise.

There seems to be two formulas for Black gay filmmakers: A group of gay best friends sharing laughs and tears as they look for sex & love…or a fly-on-the-wall look at the struggles of an existing gay relationship.

This series seems to fall into the latter.

While Pierre has a great visual eye, his editing and direction still seems to be bogged down by the artistic super-villain inside of him. At times it seemed as if he was making this series for film critics over at the New Yorker Magazine, not for average Black gay audiences who may most identify with the characters and story.

There’s one stretch where the main characters just stare at each other, for what seemed like 5 minutes, in beautifully composed shots as a solo piano weeps in the background.

I get it. We all get it. You’re an artist.

But, in my view, telling a compelling, well-paced story with clear character motivations that keeps us craving for more is what will finally elevate Pierre into one of our best filmmakers that also gives us the quality, not just the quantity.

dsc08062-jpg

If the above kinks can be smoothed out in later episodes, this may turn out to be a decent series. Visually, it doesn’t look like any other that we’ve seen and with not much irreversible damage done to the characters so far (I’m looking at you unexplained Freefall rape scene), the writers could take the series in any direction to improve on the foundation they’ve already laid.

PROMOTIONAL STILLS:

red-skin-logo2-png

MV5BNjIwNWNiMmYtZGEyOS00MDg0LTlhZDgtZmU4NTczMjJlYjQ5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTEwMzIwMDU@._V1_SX640_SY720_

dsc08243-jpg

dsc08229-jpg

dsc08092-jpg

 

 

About the Author
Nick Delmacy

Nick is a founder, editor and the pop culture expert at Cypher Avenue. Serving as the designer and webmaster of the site, he is the architect of The Cypher Avenue Matrix.

   
Categorized as :
Cypher Avenue TVSlider
Tagged as:

21 Comments Feel Free To Join The Cypher.

  1. SB3
    SB3 | August 12th, 2016
    0

    I'll pay 7$ (cmon yall, that's lunch money) on the strength of 'support' for someone who, in the least, keeps trying to represent BGM. Yet, as a complete anti-fan of freefall, I won't pretend that my expectations aren't low.

    I'm not anti the typical gay story lines, I just wan't them done well. With good actors (being cute or ur friend does not equal an actor), writing, direction, etc. But, baby steps. I'll take a decent cast of actors for starters.

  2. OckyDub
    Ockydub | August 12th, 2016
    0

    smh

    Ever see them dudes in the gym, club or mall, that are handsome, and seem to carry themselves well? Then after getting to know them for more than an hour you realize they have no substance, just aesthetics with a heavy focus materialism and superficialities. This is what Red Skin feels like to me. An unpleasant tasting piece of candy presented in a pretty gold foiled wrapper.

    That scene when we first see the characters together…WTF?

    This is what it reminded me of…

  3. SB3
    SB3 | August 12th, 2016
    0
    Ockydub

    smh

    Ever see them dudes in the gym, club or mall, that are handsome, and seem to carry themselves well? Then after getting to know them for more than an hour you realize they have no substance, just aesthetics with a heavy focus materialism and superficialities. This is what Red Skin feels like to me. An unpleasant tasting piece of candy presented in a pretty gold foiled wrapper.

    That scene when we first see the characters together…WTF?

    This is what it reminded me of…

    Yea, I had to smh once I saw the attractive shorter, smaller, 'prettier' (bottom) being beat up by the taller, tatted up 'edgy' (top).

  4. OckyDub
    Ockydub | August 12th, 2016
    0
    SB3

    Yea, I had to smh once I saw the attractive shorter, smaller, 'prettier' (bottom) being beat up by the taller, tatted up 'edgy' (top).

    And THEN offered him a hand…
    :dafuq3:
    I mean is that some sort of bottom S & M fantasy or something? To get beat down and stomped on? But what happened to the chick…did she not hear the ass whippin going on?

  5. HauteChocolat
    HauteChocolat | August 12th, 2016
    0

    The synopsis brought to mind the discussion on @Nick Delmacy's thread from before on intelligence, looks and emotional stability (pardon me if I didn't get the exact words used; too lazy at the moment to confirm), especially @ColumbusGuy's comments.

  6. OhSheit
    OhSheit | August 12th, 2016
    0
    Ockydub

    And THEN offered him a hand…
    :dafuq3:
    I mean is that some sort of bottom S & M fantasy or something? To get beat down and stomped on? But what happened to the chick…did she not hear the ass whippin going on?

    She probably watched their f**k session like Lil Mo does with her husband.

  7. hannibal
    hannibal | August 12th, 2016
    0
    SB3

    I'll pay 7$ (cmon yall, that's lunch money) on the strength of 'support' for someone who, in the least, keeps trying to represent BGM. Yet, as a complete anti-fan of freefall, I won't pretend that my expectations aren't low.

    I'm not anti (or for) the typical gay story lines, I just wan't them done well. With good actors (being cute or ur friend does not equal an actor), writing, direction, etc. But, baby steps. I'll take a decent cast of actors for starters.

    http://www.blackandsexy.tv

  8. hannibal
    hannibal | August 12th, 2016
    0
    SB3

    I'll pay 7$ (cmon yall, that's lunch money) on the strength of 'support' for someone who, in the least, keeps trying to represent BGM. Yet, as a complete anti-fan of freefall, I won't pretend that my expectations aren't low.

    I'm not anti (or for) the typical gay story lines, I just wan't them done well. With good actors (being cute or ur friend does not equal an actor), writing, direction, etc. But, baby steps. I'll take a decent cast of actors for starters.

    http://www.blackandsexy.tv

  9. hannibal
    hannibal | August 12th, 2016
    0
    SB3

    I'll pay 7$ (cmon yall, that's lunch money) on the strength of 'support' for someone who, in the least, keeps trying to represent BGM. Yet, as a complete anti-fan of freefall, I won't pretend that my expectations aren't low.

    I'm not anti (or for) the typical gay story lines, I just wan't them done well. With good actors (being cute or ur friend does not equal an actor), writing, direction, etc. But, baby steps. I'll take a decent cast of actors for starters.

    http://www.blackandsexy.tv

  10. hannibal
    hannibal | August 12th, 2016
    0

    *reads the article and is a bit insulted*

    Has made projects with several gay characters and has won awards and has never featured a gay couple and their struggles.

    Anyways, I'm so confused about my thoughts on all gay black filmmakers. I have complaints about all of them. "too serious. too dark. not serious enough. the story sucks but it looks good. it looks bad but there's no story. too many fem men. too many masculine men. " I just feel like gay filmmakers have a really tough road to go. I'll give this a chance as someone that really liked season 2 of Freefall.

    As far as your critique of gay filmmakers having everyone be gay. I know from experience that this is also hard to balance. I feel like the show has to present it right. I feel like the majority of times when gay filmmakers put in straight characters, it's not for the story, it's purely to attract straight people. That doesn't work because if its a gay show straight people outside of single black women ain't gonna watch it so you're doing everyone a disservice by making us watch a mixed show that in the end appeals to no one.

  11. Nick Delmacy
    Nick Delmacy | August 13th, 2016
    +1
    hannibal

    I'm so confused about my thoughts on all gay black filmmakers. I have complaints about all of them. "too serious. too dark. not serious enough. the story sucks but it looks good. it looks bad but there's no story. too many fem men. too many masculine men. " I just feel like gay filmmakers have a really tough road to go.

    My thoughts on black gay filmmakers is simple and we've discussed them on a podcast together: All I ask for is more creativity and better concepts. I don't care about it being too serious, to comedic, too fem, too masc…just be different and follow basic storytelling. I really dug the series "No Shade" b/c it took the whole "group of gay friends" concept and mixed it with a 30 Rock/Community comedic style. It had its flaws but it was fun and I actually looked forward to going back to that world of characters from episode to episode.

    hannibal

    As far as your critique of gay filmmakers having everyone be gay. I know from experience that this is also hard to balance. I feel like the show has to present it right. I feel like the majority of times when gay filmmakers put in straight characters, it's not for the story, it's purely to attract straight people. That doesn't work because if its a gay show straight people outside of single black women ain't gonna watch it so you're doing everyone a disservice by making us watch a mixed show that in the end appeals to no one.

    Well, why is it that many non-black gay filmmakers populate their cinematic worlds with all types of people, yet black gay filmmakers do the opposite?[/QUOTE]

    • Wes
      Wes | August 18th, 2016
      0

      Ditto Ditto Ditto to EVERYTHING NICK said!
      One cannot deny the talents and I quote Nick, “whether you are fans of Lamont Pierre’s work or not (or even know who he is at all), I think it’s time that we acknowledge his place in the annals of Black Gay Cinema”. ABSOLUTELY SO!!! He is definitely a talented guy and deserve that acclaim.

      BUT! REALLY, I tried to defend and hang on in defense of Lamont Pierre’s work a long while back with a few of his projects including the original blueprint of Freefall when it first was just 3 young horny confused guys seemingly looking for an apartment and some nooky-lol! But here again, he always seem to spend more time on all of this useless, tired space and silence between the characters and their storyline without a somewhat explanation of what you’re looking at! It is one thing for the writer to brilliantly leave something to the imagination of the viewer to figure but its another when you can’t!
      And it’s always either the storyline sucks- as Hannibal says-but they’re easy on the eye, sexy looking- but removes all doubt once they’re in action-ACTING, but I digress… Or the storyline usually sucks and makes not a lick of sense (unrealistically story wise and to the viewer-who’s playing someone very fem or overtly masc and just too obvious and to over the top), or they’re mostly not believable characters or worse just TERRIBLE ACTORS-PERIOD!

      Yes Nick! -The guys over at NO SHADE/SLAY TV (now) were about the best to me among all of the other Black Gay Cinema aside from the fellas of DL Chronicles. Sean and Terry Torrington truly know how to tell a story and make it interesrtingly good, even if its petty silly and trite. They recently just put out a comedy about a gay couple’s relationship that was really funny and engaging kinda like NO SHADE! On that show from the promo to the actual debut of the episodes, the acting was really really good and very believable that it made you forget that it was a webcomedy series about a gay couple!

      Which leads to my point about Lamont’s work…He does superb editing, producing, directing technically-I mean, everything is there EXCEPT the actual damn STORY! I thought to myself, as soon as the opening scene with all the slow silence-filled space, I said here we go again with this dark doomy gloomy pitiable pretty boys with the fake-ass tough exterior looking all lost and speechless, all surrounded by fear and that sad ass music~ughk! And to me as I’ve expressed this about Lamont’s work before…its too dark and depressing and never seem to make sense nor bring some kinda closure! It just goes on and on…

      And ALL of his films from FREEFALL to MILES & CAL have that same element and seems like you’re watching the same show all in one. I thought any minute JODY(from FREEFALL)- is gonna walk thru the room and do his usual grit’ you up and down look and take 40minutes to respond to a question~LOL! Notice RED SKIN, even in a scene where the characters are having a good time hanging out, they always manage to slip that sorry depressing slow ass music IN EVERY SCENE of the film as if it adds to the scene. When in fact its distracting almost and clearly doesn’t gel too well with the rest of the story. Bottom line…I’m done watching dude’s projects, carry the one its over. ijs…

  12. SB3
    SB3 | August 13th, 2016
    0
    hannibal

    http://www.blackandsexy.tv

    When is my audition tho?! I did my first commercial at 12!!

  13. SB3
    SB3 | August 13th, 2016
    0
    Ockydub

    And THEN offered him a hand…
    :dafuq3:
    I mean is that some sort of bottom S & M fantasy or something? To get beat down and stomped on? But what happened to the chick…did she not hear the ass whippin going on?

    It's all abt the fact that mofos want masc men, but it has to be kept quiet. Ev1 wants a masc dude 'on their back', but, it's not ok to say it…

    • Wes
      Wes | August 25th, 2016
      0

      YUP!

  14. jpo
    jpo | August 13th, 2016
    +1

    @Nick Delmacy hits most of my feelings about this particular offering and the whole body of Pierre's work. There's a lot to like and a lot to drive someone around the twist. Visually Red Skins is the most interesting. I think for once the dark tones enhance the overall effect. Too often I wind up squinting to make out what is going on in his films, particularly in FreeFall.

    As with so much of his other works, these characters are blank. It may be unfair as far as Red Skins is concerned, we only have one episode. But the trend is pretty much that we are given complex characters with little idea where the complexity lies. So in the end, they come across as one dimensional, just crazy dudes who have so many issues we would steer clear of them, once we got over our initial lusting for their bodies. The one exception seems to be Cal in Miles + Calm and the reason he stands out is because Pierre made an effort to explain why Cal ripped off Miles, even though we could have figured it out for ourselves. But it made Cal a little more rounded.

    There are too many holes in the plotting, again especially in Free Fall, characters appear and disappear with too little explanation.

    All that said, it seems that Pierre will continue to produce work that many of us will watch with interest.

  15. hannibal
    hannibal | August 16th, 2016
    0

    SO i finally got aroundto watching it. Maybe im just simple or antiintellect. I didn't get it.

  16. Thomas | May 28th, 2017
    0

    Anything he touches goes away leaving me empty. Freefall had real hope, but once they took the direction of a crime syndicate, I was done, except, Season One was decent. However, when they took the focus off the older gentleman, they killed it TOTALLY. Anyway, it looks more like a rack count to me. I always thought they were in competition with the people who produces steel river. But at least the people who produces steel river have better editing skills and the lighting is a lot better. Remember My Brother’s Keeper? Dark, Gloomy and very uninviting. When I first saw it, I thought I was in a dark room looking through a smoke hole. *frowning* How long is it going to take to get the lighting right?! HOOOOOWWWW LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG? Anyway, the DL Chronicles is on a whole another level than anything that this Lamount makes! They don’t make as much productions, because they dedicate their time to making the BEST! It isn’t just about number for them. Anyway, if you want to see a crime syndicate with a gay character, you should check out the First Season of Respect Life. This producer knows what he is doing. Listen folks. I started with the Gay Cinemas and move to the Straight Crime Syndicates. I don’t even like crime syndicates, but compare to the gay ones, they run leaps and bounds over them.

    • Thomas | May 28th, 2017
      0

      Karras Jordan he reminds me so much of Kaldrick King and KJ from the Boyz next door.

  17. Lgbt world | May 31st, 2017
    0

    Love the story line! Beautiful cast, much love! TheLGBTWorld




You can add images to your comment by CLICKING HERE.


Want to add BOLD or Underlined Text? CLICK HERE    |    To See The Comments Section Rules, CLICK HERE