“Pat Rocco Dared” Feature Doc Makes Its World Premiere At The Whistler Film Festival Thursday, December 2nd.
Border2Border Entertainment, in association with Big Gay Movies & Pat Rocco Productions, is proud to announce its latest feature, “Pat Rocco Dared,” will make its world premiere at the Whistler Film Festival (WFF). Directed and Produced by Big Gay Movies’ Bob Christie and Morris Chapdelaine, the documentary chronicles LGBTQ+ filmmaker and Executive Producer, Charlie David as he explores the life and work of director and activist Pat Rocco, one of Hollywood’s original boundary pushing gay pioneers, encouraging future generations with Rocco’s incredible story of romance, resistance and Pride. The Executive Producer team includes Pat Rocco and Jay Daniel Beechinor.
Rocco began selling his erotic, playful and romantic nude male films in the backs oflocal magazines and in 1968, he was offered his own festival at Los Angeles’ ParkTheatre – the first of its kind. It was an instant hit and Rocco continued to pump outmore films as fast as he could, pushing new boundaries with each one. In “A VerySpecial Friend”, Rocco dared to screen the first kiss between two men ever seen on abig theatre screen. Artistic, erotic, and highly romanticized, his films werecontroversial not due to how explicit they were but rather their bold political andartistic expression. For the first time ever, selections from his most popular films have been digitally remastered and are showcased in spectacular fashion in “Pat Rocco Dared”.
Pat Rocco's life story is told through his colourful, erotic films, and with candid personal interviews with Charlie David at Pat's home in Hawaii as well as with friends such as Phyllis Diller, Reverend Troy Perry and film historian Whitney Strub. "Don't ask, don't tell, just doit," Rocco advises Charlie in one of their final exchanges.
“Charlie David was the perfect person to charm Rocco out of his polished replies, and uncover the genuine, tender, romantic man shielded by the persona of a legendary activist and classic Hollywood entertainer”, says Bob Christie, and “beyond the sexy, entertaining films that still stand up today, I think audiences will be amazed and inspired by the things that Pat Rocco dared to do”, added Morris Chapdelaine.
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Logline: Canadian LGBTQ documentary filmmaker Charlie David explores the life and film work of Pat Rocco, the man who dared to put the first same sex kiss on the big screen.
Synopsis: In the 1970’s Playboy magazine dubbed Pat Rocco the King of the Nudies, but he is much more than an erotic filmmaker. Rocco is an activist, artist, filmmaker, and entertainer. He’s the whole Hollywood package, with one more story to tell: his own. He arrived in Hollywood with his parents at the age of eleven. By seventeen he knew he was gay, had moved away from home, and was living as an out, gay, young man. It was 1951.
Having sung in choirs as a youth, he managed to find gigs in radio, nightclubs, theatres, and church basements. With his true talent and undeniable charisma, he made his way to television variety shows, starring alongside legends like Phyllis Diller.
Rocco began selling his erotic, playful and romantic nude male films in the backs of local magazines and in 1968, he was offered his own festival at Los Angeles’ Park Theatre – the first of its kind. It was an instant hit and Rocco continued to pump out more films as fast as he could, pushing new boundaries with each one. In A Very Special Friend, Rocco dared to screen the first kiss between two men ever seen on a big theatre screen. Artistic, erotic, and highly romanticized, his films were controversial not due to how explicit they were but rather their bold political and artistic expression.
Rocco was an activist on the front lines of the sexual liberation movement, documenting many protests in the sixties and seventies, and campaigning with Harvey Milk. He was the first President of Christopher Street West (producers of LA Pride), and in 1974, the first to organize a Pride festival following the annual sexual liberation march. Love and romance were his political weapons, and just when things on screen began to heat up, Rocco fades to black, and stops making films... why?
In his early 80s, Pat Rocco still had the air of a classic Hollywood showman, and remained passionate and active in civic politics. He is officially recognized by the United States government as an “Outstanding Older American.” Rocco's film collection is held in the UCLA archives and the producers have worked with UCLA to have many of the films digitized and restored. The Canadian LGBTQ ArQuives is also championing the project with the hope to eventually house the completed film as an important part of queer history.
Pat Rocco documented the early queer rights movements in Los Angeles and San Francisco at a time when it was legally and physically precarious to do so. There is a record of Harvey Milk's historic speech and attendance at the Los Angeles Pride Parade shortly before his murder because Pat Rocco was there with his camera.
Without Pat's films, much of the early LGBTQ rights movement would be undocumented as mainstream press was not covering it. Pat Rocco's life story will be told through candid personal interviews with Charlie David at Pat's home in Hawaii as well as with friends such as Phyllis Diller, Reverend Troy Perry and film historian Whitney Strub.
"Don't ask, don't tell, just do it," Rocco advises Charlie in one of their final exchanges. It is of great importance that contributions from change-makers like Pat Rocco are woven into the larger narrative of our collective human rights history. Audiences will be amazed and inspired by the things that Pat Rocco dared to do.