Anthology Film Archives


October 20 – October 25

Long before Hollywood films like CALL ME BY YOUR NAME and LOVE, SIMON became common fare at the multiplex, the only place gay men could see their lives and lusts depicted on screen with any degree of honesty was at their local all-male adult cinema. From coming-out stories to romances, horror to camp comedy, the hundreds of features churned out by the gay adult film industry throughout the 1960s-80s were a driving force behind the spread of gay culture and constitute a largely forgotten cinematic document of the era. These films were often shot in actual queer spaces, starred the people who frequented them, and were then screened in movie theaters that doubled as safe communal spaces for members of the community.

The video component of a multimedia project that also encompasses an acclaimed podcast and Instagram feed, Elizabeth Purchell’s ASK ANY BUDDY compiles fragments from over 125 feature films to create a kaleidoscopic, dreamlike snapshot of the era. An official selection of nearly two-dozen international film festivals including BFI Flare and Outfest, ASK ANY BUDDY is a funny, sexy portrait of urban gay life in the years following the Stonewall Riots – or at least how it looked in the movies.

Supplementing our screenings of ASK ANY BUDDY, we present a survey of the all-male adult cinema genre, from its early days as a radical outgrowth of the underground film scene to its commercial peak in the early years of home video and the AIDS epidemic. The titles featured in this series constitute a virtual timeline of the first decade of the gay liberation movement and include a number of signature titles from acclaimed genre filmmakers like Arthur J. Bressan, Jr., Arch Brown, and Steve Scott.

Special thanks to Elizabeth Purchell; Adam Baran; Bret Berg (AGFA); Roe Bressan; Josh Cheon; Jenni Olson; Joe Rubin (Vinegar Syndrome); Steven Toushin (Bijou Video); Jim Tushinski; and Jules Zinn.

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