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It’s a rare occasion when we see new feature films made by and featuring openly gay/bisexual men of color. For what may be the first time since his 2008 film “Noah’s Arc: Jumping The Broom”, writer/director Patrik-Ian Polk (Punks, Noah’s Arc) gives us that opportunity once again. His new film is a slick, sexy, fun ride called “The Skinny.” It’s a polished, well put together film that features a smoking hot cast and soundtrack.I had a chance to see the film last weekend (see my review here) and to my surprise actors Anthony Burrell, Blake Young-Fountain and Jussie Smollett were in attendance along with Patrik-Ian Polk himself. After the screening, I got the opportunity to ask Polk a few questions about the film.
 

PictureNick Delmacy:

First of all, I enjoyed the film, it was cool. It seemed to me that “The Skinny” was like a “How To Be A Gay Man” type tutorial for young gay black men. Was that your intention?

Patrik-Ian Polk:
I certainly wouldn’t call the movie a “How To Be” anything. I mean, I think it’s just a movie about characters that are young and fresh out of college. I wanted to be true to who those characters are and I think when you’re 20, 21-years-old, a lot of times you are learning these type of things for the first time.

Nick Delmacy:
I notice a lot of Gay movies and television shows like “Noah’s Arc” are only about relationships, sex or trying to get a man…Did you consciously think about that when you were writing “The Skinny?” Or in the future, do you want to tell other stories outside of just relationships?

Patrik-Ian Polk:
You know, this movie is actually different from my other films. I think practically any movie you watch, unless you’re watching some movie about aliens invading the world, deals with relationships. It’s movies with human beings telling kind of “regular stories.” Whether it’s a romantic comedy starring Cameron Diaz or a drama starring Will Smith, it’s a movie about relationships. So I think, any movie really, is about that and I don’t think it’s a bad thing.


And I also think that when you’re a community like this one that doesn’t really get to see yourselves on-screen, I think we kind of suffer this weird syndrome of not really knowing how to even conduct relationships because we don’t really see relationships like ours portrayed anywhere. I’ve done three films now…I think three films dealing with relationships is not nearly enough. Hopefully we’ll see more.
Nick Delmacy:
I think everyone who’s a fan knows about your problems with getting a third season of “Noah’s Arc” out there. This film, you just did it on your own. What advice would you give people to just do it on their own, be it a film or music project?
 
Patrik-Ian Polk:
I think if you’re an artist, the good news today is that you have a lot of different outlets for getting things out. You don’t have to have the major support of a major label or a major television station even. The Internet is a powerful tool. Digital distribution is powerful. You know, anyone can make some music and get it on iTunes or CDbaby or any of these sites.I think if you’re trying to make a movie I would say: Do your homework; make sure that you study something, somewhere. As well-intentioned and well-intended as a lot of our independent projects are, I don’t think it serves us too well if the quality is not at a certain level. Whatever you do, just do it well. Whatever you’re going to do with art, do it well. And do your homework. Make it as polished, complete and good as you can.

Nick Delmacy:
Amen to that. Alright, so “The Skinny” is currently screening in Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC…what cities are next?

Patrik-Ian Polk:
The Skinny will be playing here until Thursday April 12th. So its imperative people tell their friends: Please go check out the movie. I get emails, Tweets and Facebook messages all the time from people wanting to see more “Noah’s Arc” or just wanting to see more, more, more, more, more…So when people get an opportunity they have to come out and support this or it won’t happen again. So if you want to see the movie again, come see it. If you have friends you know would like it, tell them and get them see it before Friday.

April 20th the movie opens in Dallas for one week. So if you have friends in the Dallas area, tell them to go see the movie that week. April 27th is San Francisco, Chicago and Oakland. May 4th is Philadelphia, Boston and Detroit. And May 11th is Los Angeles and New York. You can also get all these dates from the website, SkinnyTheMovie.com.


 
And there you have it. Whether you like Polk’s films or not, you should go out and support “The Skinny.” Once you do, you then have the right to complain about the lack of QUALITY gay films available to see. Otherwise, you’re part of the reason why there are limited options.Polk’s attention to professional presentation and quality work is the litmus test all other gay filmmakers and artists should use when beginning their own indie projects. Its the equivalent of giving a business presentation in a “suit & tie” versus “shorts & flip-flops,” the content may be the same but presentation is everything. I saw the film, voiced my opinion and now I’m encouraging others to see the film and give their opinions as well for discussion.
 
– Nick D