This short documentary celebrates the iconic club The Backstreet and its unique community. An exploration of desire, kink and friendship.
by mandanamo in Greater London, United Kingdom
In July 2022 the iconic gay club “The Backstreet” closed after 37 years.
Found in a small street in the London borough of Tower Hamlet, with no sign and only a black entrance door the club has maintained a very discreet presence over the years. Despite this The Backstreet has been at the forefront of the leatherman subculture in Europe and became a second home for a community of men of all ages.
This film is a unique insight into the world of the Backstreet. It explores the multi-sensory experience of the regulars: the sweat, smoke, creaking of leather and desire. Experiences are woven into memories of friendship, joy and loss.
Our 20 min film will revolve around three themes:
The Story Of The Club: After leaving his successful career as a solicitor, John Edwards opened The Backstreet in 1985 with a clear vision of how he wanted the club to look, a look that defined the club until its last day. Using old photographs, posters and memories from John and his right hand man, Mark Allnutt, the film will recount the club's 37-year of success and also the challenges it faced along the way.
The Community: Backstreet members' memories - their first night at the club, their experience as regulars, and what it means to them now after the space has closed. Through them we will explore stories of friendship, BDSM relationships, love and loss.This film is an attempt to capture these memories through oral history while giving insight into the changing dynamics of the scene and attitude towards homosexuality in the last 4 decades.
The Act Of Remembrance: The film explores the importance of remembering a place like The Backstreet as a part of LGBTQ+ heritage. Working with the Museum of London and the Bishopsgate Institute, we will explore how The Backstreet features as part of London's history. Some other members of the club, who have also taken objects as memorabilia, share their thoughts of what these items represent for them.
Last summer, we filmed the closing party of The Backstreet, attended by 200 leather and rubber men who came for one last hot, and sweaty night at the club. We also interviewed the owner John Edwards, manager Mark Allnutt and some of the long term members of the club.
However, to fully capture the club's significant impact on the scene, we need to shoot additional interviews and spend more time filming key characters.
10 extra shooting days
Renting equipment (lenses, lights, etc.)
Crew ( camera and sound)
Professional Colour grading
Promotion and marketing
Festival entry fees
Private online link to film
As a token of appreciation for our backers, we have partnered with artist Matt Pagett, chief of the Backstreet cloakroom and recipient of a Tom of Finland Best Emerging Artist 2022 Prize, to offer a striking limited edition set of prints and an exclusive hand-drawn design on organic T-shirts.
To further reward our supporters, the London photographer MenArt (menart.co.uk) is offering a discounted photoshoot in their studio or outside. Your name will be passed on to them to book you in.
Our film is sponsored by Regulation (www.regulation.co.uk), who kindly provided us with gift vouchers that can be redeemed in their shop without any minimum spending requirement.
Your email will be passed on to Regulation who will contact you with a code to claim the gift voucher.
Romain has over a decade’s worth of experience making and editing documentary projects. He was part of the edit team of the comedy documentary “Much ado about dying”(which won best director at IDFA 2022) and he edited the upcoming feature-length documentary “Mother Vera” (supported by the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and pitched at the Hot Docs Forum 2021) . Alongside these experiences, he has edited programs for television (Or Media, CNN,Manoto) and the festival's favourite short documentary, the “Watchmaker” (SXSW, Hot Docs, DokLeipzig) which won awards and is on various online platforms.
His most recent solo work includes ‘Afterwards Stories of Regret’, an Awards for All funded oral documentary project that worked with migrants and refugees in Tower Hamlets and across the world to explore the nature of regret.
Mandana is a filmmaker and TV producer. In recent years she has been producing documentary series about Middle Eastern politics and has a keen interest in matters concerning social and political inequalities. Her previous experience includes factual and live programmes for television as well as writing and directing short fiction films submitted to festivals such as Nikon film festival and Remake film festivals.
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