By Mark Morellini
The independent Aussie LGBTQI flick Teenage Kicks performed well in several film festivals in 2016 and was picked up to screen on streaming services in the US.
The film was written and directed by Craig Boreham who had mainly been making queer short films for the festival circuit and is now destined to be a popular viewing choice on Netflix for the gay community.
“Teenage Kicks is about a young guy who is on the verge of adulthood, who had this tragic loss in the death of his brother and who at the same time connected to his developing sexuality. It deals with his coming to terms with grief, his place in his family’s world, and his relationships with his friends. It’s very much a character piece. It really hangs on the shoulders of the young actor Miles Szanto who gave a sterling performance as the troubled Milkos Varga.”
The idea for this film came about from Boreham’s personal experiences and from stories which he had heard from teenagers who were homeless because of their queerness.
For his excellent work on the film, Boreham received an Audience Award nomination in the Best Narrative Feature category at the Sydney Film Festival in 2016 and an Australian Director’s Guild Award nomination for best direction in a feature film in 2017. Young actor Miles Szanto who portrayed the 17-year-old teenager Milkos justifyingly won the best actor award at the Iris Prize Festival in 2017.
Boreham explained that audiences should connect to the anguish that Milkos is experiencing in his life, as most queer people have experienced some turmoil in their teenage years. “What really resonated for audiences was the relationship between the two best friends. That best friend you have in high school you may have lost contact with now, but that friendship was everything then.”
When asked what message the film sends out to audiences Boreham paused momentarily. “At the heart of it, I was always thinking about the idea that the scars of your youth create who you become, surviving that turmoil makes you who you are.”
Teenage Kicks has several extremely graphic gay sex scenes, but a broad audience has responded to it. “My intention was for this film to appeal to gay audiences but I’m finding that mothers of teenage sons really seem to love it – it really resonates for them,” laughed Boreham.
Available on the iTunes store and Netflix.