“Being young and gay is a real pain,” says 14-year-old Danny Hoekzema, bemoaning the lack of social options for gay teens. He can’t go to bars or parties and has limited access to websites so how is he supposed to identify other queer teens, let alone find one to date?
At Sprockets, the kids film fest running Sat, Apr 18 to 24, is the 15-minute Dutch short Danny’s Parade directed by Anneke de Lind van Wijngaarden, a straightforward doc on the simple effervescence of teenagers. Homophobia lurks in the background but front and centre is a kid who stumbles onto an idea whose time has come — a teen float in Amsterdam’s Pride Parade (actually it’s a boat in the canal-based event). Danny grows as a person by seeing his idea through.
With his loving family behind him, is there any doubt Danny will succeed? There are pitfalls along the way, including a media shit storm over teens participating alongside gyrating, seminude gay men. But Danny swans through it all, enjoying the attention.
Activism blossoms into puppy love when Danny finds a boyfriend, Max, via email exchanges to line up participants — and, really, that is the main reason Danny set out on this quest in the first place. On the big day, Max seems more worried about his hair than anything else — which is how it should be when you are a teenager, gay or otherwise.