Winner of the “Best Feature” award at The 2018 Harlem International Film Festival, The Breeding aims to fuel an overdue dialogue on race relations in today’s LGBTQ community.
“‘Take a Knee’ and the Black Lives Matter movement continue to rock society, but no one is discussing these issues through an LGBTQ filter,” explains writer Dane Joseph, a gay black male and co-founder of the innovative production company, Novo Novus Productions. The studio spotlights LGBTQ people of color and their unique stories. Daniel Armando, his co-founder at Novo Novus, a gay latino male who directed The Breeding, adds, “Our films are about people who look like us and live similar experiences as we do.”
The Breeding centers round Thomas (Marcus Bellamy), a young artist whose obsession with a BDSM (bondage and discipline, sadism and masochism) leads to life altering consequences. Executive produced by Dwight Allen O’Neal, the film explores the basic animalistic instincts of humans and how many of us are willing to do regrettable, unimaginable and typically uncharacteristic things in order to fulfill our primal needs. The Breeding will screen in New York on Friday, August 24 at 9:00pm and Saturday, August 25 at 10:00pm at Julia de Bugos Latino Cultural Center (1680 Lexington Ave, New York, NY), as part of the HBO NY Latino Film Festival.
“This film pushes boundaries and embraces controversy as it careens headfirst into its edgy subject matter,” says Richard Ross, Co-President at Breaking Glass Pictures, the company distributing the film. “Director Armando and Writer/Producer Joseph have crafted a compelling erotic thriller that feels both fresh and exciting.”
“The idea for The Breeding came from an art piece on Harmen van den Bogaert, a slave master in the pre-Civil War era, accused of sodomy with his slave,” explains Joseph. “The crime was punishable by death so master and slave fled and later died on the run, falling through a frozen lake. The artist envisioned their plight as a forbidden love story. I felt it to be a problematic interpretation and so I began research on master- slave relationships. It led to my discovering BDSM, where racially charged situations and language are used during cross cultural sexual encounters. My mind began to wonder how people of color could reconcile that sort of behavior, considering the horrific past from which the practice stems.”
He also began to question whether fetishes based on race dehumanize LGBTQ people of color and perpetuate harmful myths such as the black Mandingo.
“Sexual identity within the black and latino communities is a challenging subject to take on,” reflects Dwight Allen O’Neal. “It is the unique complexities, largely due to religion and tradition, that fascinate us at Novo Novus and drive our current stories. We imagine it will for some time as there is so much more to explore.”
Sadly, real life sometimes imitates art. After production on The Breeding ended, lead actor Marcus Bellamy was arrested, charged with murdering his boyfriend. He is currently awaiting trial.
“Never could any of us have imagined that something like this would happen,” says Daniel Armando. “Dane and Marcus went to high school together. Dane introduced Marcus to Manhattan when Marcus first started at Juilliard.”
“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster for Dane and everyone in the cast, reconciling what our friend has done and sending prayers to the family affected by the tragedy. We’re still piecing it all together and, more than anything, want to send positive love and light to everyone impacted.”
A limited theatrical run of The Breeding begins September 7 at select theaters in Los Angeles.
On September 11, The Breeding will be available on DVD at fine distributors everywhere, and to buy/rent on the following platforms: iTunes, Amazon Instant, Google Play, Direct TV and On Demand through local cable providers.
For more information on The Breeding, visit novonovus.com.