Queer love is once again taking centre stage and this time around in the form of South Africa's first gay rom-com, No Hiding Here, which is set to touch the hearts of many.
Written and directed by actor Gabe Gabriel, No Hiding Here stars 2020 Fleur du Cap winner Earl Gregory (the stage production of “Kinky Boots”), David Viviers (“Kanarie”, “Rage”, “Tali’s Baby Diary”), SAFTA winner Tiffany Barbuzano (“Still Breathing”), and multi-award-winning theatre legend Antoinette Kellerman (“Mad Max: Fury Road”), with a rare local appearance from rising international star Phumzile Sitole (“Star Trek: Discovery”, “Orange is the New Black”, “The Good Fight”).
Having worked on other projects, Gabriel had often discussed that so many commissioned queer content often centres around queer trauma rather than queer joy. So when Navlug Films approached him with the idea to write a gay South African romantic comedy for Showmax – he jumped at the opportunity.
I think paradigm shifts in culture and society happen largely in tandem with shifts in media and representation. Our film attempts to win over the empathy of our country’s leading streaming platform with the hope that if there is a movement in the hearts of the tv-watching population in general, those anti-LGBTQIA+ systems and constructs will lose popular support and therefore become dated and irrelevant (or torn down altogether).
Working with a cast and crew that were predominantly queer was an intention that Gabriel set from the onset.
“It was so fulfilling. And to be surrounded by all these queers who were so excited to finally be on a queer set, telling a queer story in probably too little time and yet they all stayed so positive and generous with their work. I really wanted it to feel like a queer movie by the queers, because trust me, we can tell the difference.”
Not forgetting some teeny-weensy spills on expectations, No Hiding Here is set in a small South African town, where a beloved drama teacher accidentally plays gay porn over the biggest school event of the year. This forces him, and the event’s guest featured artist – a closeted big city celebrity– into hiding from the outraged community.
Gabriel is unashamedly clear with what he hopes local audience will take from from his film even while still acknowledging that local soapies and movies with LGBTIQA+ characters and storylines often receive heavy backlash.
“My hope is that they can handle a pure, unbridled gay love story. Because surely that can’t be so threatening?”
No Hiding Here is currently premiering exclusively on Showmax .