Balls Documentary – Director Discussion

Balls documentary director_NICO STAGIAS_producer_CHARLIE DAVID

The director of the Balls documentary is Nico Stagias.  We produce a lot of content together and Nico is most often my cinematographer and co-producer. We sat down recently to discuss his experience directing this new film…

Interview with Balls documentary director, Nico Stagias

CHARLIE: You’ve created such an in depth film about testicles.  Why was it important for you to make it a holistic exploration of balls to share during Testicular Cancer Awareness Month?
 

NICO:  With our preliminary research and first interviews, it became clear that a discussion around balls needed to happen, particularly when it came to men’s health.
 
Often a symbol of masculinity, as indicated with expressions like “grow a pair” and “she’s got balls”, they are perhaps the least talked about organ of the male body.  They are relegated to be the penis’ “unattractive” and “ignored” male cousins.

 

Men tend to shy away from discussion about their balls, especially if they are experiencing medical issues like cancer, torsion or varicocele.  Because men are so guarded about their balls, they often dismiss potential testicular ailments and only address the situation when it becomes critical; when it’s too late.

 

Men, especially boys, are not encouraged to speak openly about their bodies, particularly if it is to discuss its vulnerability. As one of our subjects in the Balls documentary states: “Let’s just grab a couple of beers and forget about it”.

 

The Balls documentary aims to engage an open and honest dialogue about balls, and sometimes a lack thereof.  Balls need to be brought into the everyday, from illness to art and everything in-between.  
 

LEARN HOW TO PERFORM A TESTICULAR SELF-EXAM

Go step-by-step watching this NSFW testicular self-exam video with Johnny Rapid.

 

While creating the Balls documentary, I couldn’t help but think that this concept of how masculinity is broken and in much need of repair. This 1950’s illusion of what it is to be a paternalistic provider is coming apart.  Masculinity as it stands, is not serving men, women or people who fall within the gender spectrum.

 

We’ve associated masculinity with physical strength and power, but we have not given it the emotional strength and vulnerability it needs to survive holistically.  Somehow, our current definition about masculinity does not include: weakness, patience, gentleness, inclusiveness, queerness and femininity.

 

A new definition of masculinity needs to involve a tempered strength, a masculinity that listens and adapts to the new world.  Masculinity cannot be fixed.  It needs to adapt, otherwise, we are doomed to fail as “men”, over and over again.  

 

In the Balls documentary, perhaps this new masculinity is mostly seen through the eyes of queer men and trans people.  Perhaps this specific environment is a circumstance of me being a queer man, or perhaps queer people have more courage to discuss their balls and the notion of masculinity more vulnerably.

 

Perhaps this new restructuring of masculinity needs to speak more directly to our heterosexual counterparts.  Though to say queer people have figured-out masculinity would be incorrect.  As queer folk, we’ve often had to look outside the definitions of masculinity and femininity to make room for ourselves, but in many ways, we still get lost in heteronormative binaries.  It may seem simple, but it’s such a challenge to think outside 2 boxes. Man/Woman. Gay/Straight. Black/ White. Strong/Weak.

 

In today’s episode of the Balls documentary we meet Peter who shares the story of how testicular cancer has impacted his life.

 

 

April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month and to celebrate we’re sharing our Balls documentary for free on YouTube in a special series of videos.

 

Please share, comment and ask questions!  We love to hear from you. 

 

WATCH the unblurred, unbleeped, balls out version of the BALLS documentary here:

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Vimeo

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April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month

April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month balls poster

April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month and to spread the word, we’re sharing our Balls for free on YouTube

WATCH the unblurred, unbleeped, balls out version here.

In the first episode of Balls we get an introduction to testicles and what makes them weird, attractive and curious to different people.  We will also meet men who have had testicular cancer and faced the removal of one or both balls.

Balls is a one hour documentary that covers every angle and topic we could brainstorm to do with testicles.  From sex and sports to health concerns like sperm count, torsion and bringing attention to Testicular Cancer Awareness Month we’ve left no jock-strap unexplored. 

Over the next few weeks during Testicular Cancer Awareness Month we will be releasing a new short video from our Balls documentary every few days.  So watch along with us as we explore all things balls related in this special men’s health series.

Please share with your friends, post on your social and encourage your buddies to check their balls – or lend a helping hand – it could save a life!

Testicular Cancer Awareness month beach balls

And because it’s Testicular Cancer Awareness Month this is a great opportunity for you to check your own balls!  Do it while watching our documentary, Balls.  

Honestly, we encourage you to pull them out, roll them around, check for any oddities or things you haven’t seen or felt before.  This is important and something you should be doing regularly.  If you do discover new firmness, a lump, or anything strange – book an appointment with your doctor or go to a walk-in clinic to get them checked by a professional right away.  When it comes to Testicular Cancer – early detection really can save your life.

Testicular Self-Examination

Self-examination can save your life. Here’s how to give your balls a regular self-check for suspicious signs:

Testicular Cancer Awareness Month self exam diagram

 

1. Do your assessment right after a warm bath or shower, when the scrotum is relaxed.

2. Stand before a mirror. Survey for scrotal swelling.

3. Support your testicles with your palm. Note their size and weight. This will help you discern any future changes.

4. Examine each testicle separately. Place your second and third fingers under one testicle with your thumb on top. Gently roll the testicle between your thumb and fingers to feel for any irregularities. Repeat on the other testicle.

5. Find the epididymis, the soft, rope-like structure on the back of each testicle. By identifying the epididymis, you won’t mistake it for a lump.

See your doctor if you note any questionable signs, especially those lasting longer than two weeks.

Go step-by-step watching this NSFW testicular self-exam video with Johnny Rapid.

Read the interview with Balls director, Nico Stagias, in our special April series for Testicular Cancer Awareness Month.

 

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Honey, I’m a male stripper. Straight talk about a taboo job in series ‘I’m a Stripper’

male stripper - I'm a Stripper - Brent Ray Fraser

Hearing the phrase, ‘I’m a male stripper’ may not seem like something you’d hear regularly.   But I live in Montreal, a city that is alive with sexual expression.

I like to make films about sexuality — how we as a society embrace or are repulsed by it, what some see as artistic expression and others view as pornography, and where the seeds for these often very visceral reactions begin.

male stripper - I'M A STRIPPER 4AMW or America’s Most Wanted is a male stripper troupe of all Black men who tour in the USA & Canada. 

A few years ago I started my hesitant transition from on camera (actor, TV host) to behind the camera (director, producer) and have discovered I love interviewing people and following their lives in documentary. My instincts told me to follow my curiosity and in the case of my miniseries I’m a Stripper — that’s hot dudes who have entered the profession of male stripper. 

Sometimes being dumb-ass dudes, sometimes being surprisingly emotional and always refreshingly honest.

male stripper - I'M A STRIPPER - Jakub STEFANO

Jakub Stefano is a male stripper who makes his money webcam modeling in episode 5 of I’m a Stripper.

I’m a Stripper is entertainment but it also delves into a provocative new era of sexual liberation and expression. Living in a post feminist era we are now bombarded with the male form undressed for pleasure, for provocation, and as a catalyst in advertising and media.

So in a world that’s approaching a semblance of gender equality – what’s it like to be a male stripper?

male stripper - I'M A STRIPPER 4 AMW show

The male stripper costumes at an AMW show are unique but adored by their enthusiastic audiences of women. 

I wanted to explore the questions of:

1) Are we reaching equalization in the exploitation of the sexes?

2) How are young men being conditioned to perceive their own bodies, their constructs of masculinity, and the disintegration of labels around sexuality?

male stripper - I'm a Stripper - GABRIEL Clark

Male stripper Gabriel Clark finds balance engaged to a woman but dating men.

‘Boys will be boys’ as the saying goes and we were invited onto a pleasure island while filming I’m a Stripper. As a young twenty-something living in Vancouver, I witnessed several handsome friends suddenly working in the adult industry — either as strippers or in video. I always wondered how much $ was enough for them to say yes to that world and the lifestyle that went with it.

To what extent will a young person push their body, their will, or their sexual preference in order to grab some quick cash?

The answer of course is not easy and the young (and sometimes not so young) men in the profession of male stripper we worked with presented their own set of motivations — everything from lust for dollars, an addiction to attention, or simply loving to dance!

male stripper - I'M A STRIPPER 5 Brent Ray Fraser
Brent Ray Fraser explains being ‘Artsexual’ in episode 5.

Directing this documentary was such an adventure because I was able to immerse myself outside my comfort zone, grow and be challenged by the experience. There were many times while interviewing when I had to keep my fist planted firmly under my jaw so it wouldn’t fall to the floor.

These guys are shocking, competitive, profane, yet endearing. Like moss — their charm will grow on you as it feeds from you so keep some dollar bills nearby.

I’m a Stripper miniseries is available on all your favorite platforms including…

  Waiting in the Wings on Google Play     Waiting in the Wings 2

 

 

 

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