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Acquisitions – Indie Films

Strand is Cruising for a Bruisin; Indie Distrib Picks Up “Interior. Leather Bar.”

No strangers in the LBGT film distribution business, and for the matter, experimental hard-to-classify sorts such as James Franco’s and Travis Mathews’ Interior. Leather Bar., Strand Releasing find a little of both with their latest acquisition. Making for the rare pick-up of a Sundance New Frontier section programmed title, after pit stops in Park City and Berlin Film Festival earlier in the year, Strand will pick up the baton on this meta project and push towards an eventual 2014 release.

Gist: In order to avoid an X rating, 40 minutes of gay S&M footage was rumored to be cut and destroyed from the 1980 film, “Cruising.” Inspired by the mythology of this controversial film, filmmakers James Franco and Travis Mathews collaborate to imagine their own lost footage. Amid the backdrop of a frenzied film set actor Val Lauren reluctantly agrees to take the lead in the film. Val is repeatedly forced to negotiate his boundaries during scenes on and “off camera,” as unsimulated gay sex happens around him. The film itself is constructed as a play with boundaries remaining queer in subject and form. As much a film about filmmaking as it is about an exploration of sexual and creative freedom, “Interior. Leather Bar.” defies easy categorization.

Worth Noting: 2013 caps off a remarkable year for James Franco, the filmmaker who saw Interior. Leather Bar. premiere at Sundance, As I Lay Dying in Cannes, and Child of God at the Venice Film Festival.

Do We Care?: While we thought it only grazed the surface, Nicholas nonetheless salutes the filmmaker pairing by (read review), stating “that James Franco, already cementing a reputation as one of the most eclectic and noteworthy cinematic commodities as actor, writer and director, teams up with queer filmmaker Travis Matthews for what has to be one of the most excitingly experimental queer cinematic projects of recent memory.”

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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