Friday, January 20, 2017

‘Akron’ Hits the Home Screen

Written by  Frankie Kujawa

In midst of Baltimore’s 2016 July Pride, the Creative Alliance’s Rainbow Fest - the annual LGBT film festival- first screened the independent film Akron for Maryland audiences.  To their delight, audiences are able to enjoy the film in the comfort of their own home as Akron is released on DVD and Video on Demand (VOD) on February 7th, 2017.

The film explores the relationship between two young freshmen, Benny and Christopher, at their rural Ohio college.  Once the two innocently meet they immediately begin to fall for each other.  Akron’s writer, director, and producer, Brian O’Donnell explained.  “Viewers can expect to see something they haven’t seen before. We really wanted to focus on and create characters that were true to life.”  O’Donnell added. “Benny and Christopher are two, young, healthy gay men in college and have goals.  We’re catching up with them once they have already come out and gained acceptance from their respective families.”

O’Donnell continued to explain that the movie isn’t based on any specific shame or homophobia from a parent, or a stigma that may come from coming out.  “There isn’t any tension from that.” O’Donnell continued.  “We’ve seen that angle before and wanted to come in with a different perspective.”

The plot of Akron is driven by an event that, unbeknownst to Benny and Christopher, has brought angst between their two families.  “I was inspired by a night at the opera.” O’Donnell explained.  “During intermission of Il Trovatore, I thought to myself, ‘I’d like to write a movie with themes like these – two houses against each other because of fate, a strong love story, a strong mother-son relationship – but with a central gay love story.’ And during the second act what would become Akron started playing in my mind in one big piece.”

O’Donnell’s film is significant because it shatters the typical idea of what a movie with gay characters looks like.  “Characters were only gay if you could see them behaving in recognizable, often stereotypical ways.”  O’Donnell added.  “There has been empowerment in showing gay people as fully sexual, in pushing the boundaries of what has been deemed acceptable.  It is now possible to show gay characters in a fuller light with a wider array of behaviors and concerns.”

For more information on how to purchase or download Akron, please visit


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