Words: Steve Brown
The new gay short film, Mankind, is now available to stream on LGBTQ site Dekkoo ahead of UK DVD release.
The new film by multi-award winning actor-turned-director Layke Anderson follows Evan (Alexis Gregory) who is looking to make a home for himself and his long-term partner Will (Ricky Nixon).
However, Will is longing for something much more. Evan uncovers his plans for an ambitious and dangerous new project as one of the volunteers to begin colonising Mars in a one-way mission.
As the two men drift further away from each other, the ﬁlm explores what it is that drives us as humans to reach beyond the safe and familiar - and beyond the love for another human being.
Layke – who is best known for starring alongside Stephen Fry in House of Boys - told Attitude: “For me, the best drama is about conﬂict, contradiction and duress. Although this would be considered a LGBTQ ﬁlm, sexuality is never once questioned or discussed, and despite this contained and familiar setting presented to the audience, the story is somewhat high concept in that it veers into sci-ﬁ territory.
“This is something usually reserved for straight characters in pure-genre ﬁlm, but I wanted to approach this story with these speciﬁc characters.
Still from Mankind
“In this ﬁlm I am using the 'journey to Mars' backdrop to tackle the chapters of grief following the end of a relationship: Shock and disbelief, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression, acceptance and hope.
“I feel that science-ﬁction and fantasy are reﬂections of our own reality - a mirror in which we can see our true selves, and a projection of our longings, our hopes and desires.
“The Earth represents the now, the here, the familiar, and to some extent, the constant.
“Mars represents our pre-conscious will to live, how we enact our desire, and how we individualise ourselves.
“The planet is named after the Roman God of War, and in different cultures represents masculinity and youth.
“Mankind touches on the themes of dependence, opportunity, heart over head reasoning, and what it means to be honest with oneself and others, as frightening or painful as that might be.
“Approached from the outset as an experimental ﬁlm, I wanted to combine the perspectives and talents of three individual ﬁlmmakers/visual artists with varying backgrounds and styles, all of whom I have worked with before.
“Although it is common to have a single director of photography in narrative ﬁlm, I felt these different approaches would lend to the clashing mindsets of the characters (whether that be their imaginations, memories or reality) and create a more uneasy and spontaneous look to the ﬁlm, something more resembling a dream.
Alexis Gregory and Ricky Nixon
“Mankind was completely self-ﬁnanced on a micro budget from the distribution sales of my ﬁrst three short ﬁlms, Dylan’s Room, Happy Thoughts and Shopping.”
After debuting at BFI Flare: London’s LGBTQ+ Film Festival in 2019, Mankind – which was executive produced by Fry – has played in a number of international festival circuits and won awards in San Diego and Tel Aviv.
And now the film is available for audiences outside of the UK to stream on the LGBTQ site Dekkoo and will be released on Peccadillo Picture’s upcoming Boys on Film 20 DVD this April.