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Award-Winning Short Film Explores a Gay Teen's Quest For a 'Jackpot': VIDEO


"Jackpot," a short film from writer/director Adam Baran, follows fourteen-year old Jack Hoffman, a gay kid living in the pre-internet era (specifically, 1994) as he sets off on a quest for a stash of gay porn whilst being pursued by bullies. Tinged with a certain type of magical realism that featured prominently in teen films of the 80s and 90s, "Jackpot," attempts to balance the scale by telling an off-beat yet endearing coming of age story centered on a gay male teenage hero. Said Baran of his intent in making the film,

Mandate"I really made the film because i loved teen movies and never really saw one for gay kids that both addressed their sexuality in the way that straight movies like Weird Science or American Pie or Superbad did, and let them get what they want. Jack in my film learns that he has to fight back for what he wants, even if it means he has to take a couple of licks. I think that's a resonant message for gay kids everywhere."

The film has already shown at numerous festivals and won Best Short Film at the 2013 Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Baran hopes to expand the short into a feature and is currently seeking funding.

Watch the short AFTER THE JUMP...


JACKPOT: A Film By Adam Baran from Adam Baran on Vimeo.

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  1. Wasn't the internet in existence in 1994? I was in college at the time and remember looking at gay sites in the computer lab.

    Posted by: kevin | Nov 21, 2013 11:39:37 AM

  2. I think the internet was pretty much limited to colleges in the mid 90s. Your average 14 year old probably wouldn't have had access to it, I'm guessing

    Posted by: Grover Underwood | Nov 21, 2013 11:59:32 AM

  3. A link to the funding page would be super helpful. I'm probably not the only one who'd chip in a few bucks to help this production out.

    Posted by: Jason Z | Nov 21, 2013 12:05:37 PM

  4. Found this -

    Posted by: RichB in PS | Nov 21, 2013 12:20:24 PM

  5. internet or not its about coming of age and the awkwardness of being a gay teen. being a teen is enough by itself without your hormones going nuts. it does kind of capture the feeling of being a bit on edge about being different without going too far.

    Posted by: m | Nov 21, 2013 12:44:11 PM

  6. JASON Z - there's a TIP JAR on the Vimeo page -

    if you want to chip in I'd love it and be so grateful!

    Posted by: Adam Baran | Nov 21, 2013 12:44:20 PM

  7. @Kevin Internet's been around since the 70's, but it wasn't open to the public for a long time.

    Posted by: Rawn | Nov 21, 2013 1:15:59 PM

  8. By 1994 the internet was in full swing. Netscape was at version 2 or 3 and Internet Explorer was released the very next year.

    Posted by: unruly | Nov 21, 2013 1:41:24 PM

  9. The internet was hardly in "full swing' in 1994. It existed, but I don't remember anyone using it, or even knowing what to do with it. I remember trying those free trials of aol in 1995 or so, but beyond chat rooms, I don't remember having any clue what to use it for.

    Posted by: chris | Nov 21, 2013 2:12:37 PM

  10. 1994? Some people had dial up, it was still Compuserve then too. And it took FOREVER to even download a single photo from the old BBSes. And then after 20 minutes of waiting, hoping your parents don't need the phone line,or walk in on you, the photo finally finishes and 50% of the time it ended up being one you didn't even enjoy.

    But you still scrambled to save it onto your 3.5 JUST IN CASE. haha.

    Posted by: G | Nov 21, 2013 4:13:46 PM

  11. And then AOL came around, speeds got a little better, but the thrill of the M4M chat rooms was exhilarating for a 14 year old. I swear the old AOL dial up sound still turns me on. :)

    Posted by: G | Nov 21, 2013 4:14:51 PM

  12. oh, i remember the early days of the internet and cruising newsgroups for dirty pics. taking FOREVER to download one crappy pic. one time, i was in the office on a weekend and took a 'break' looking for some. i printed one out but forgot about it in the shared printer. monday morning, i heard a shriek in the copy room and suddenly realised what happened. of course, i and everyone denied having any knowledge of it. doh!

    Posted by: cam456 | Nov 21, 2013 5:02:23 PM

  13. I'm glad to see short films covered on Towleroad.

    Regarding the internet in 1984, I started using the internet around 1989. There were newsgroups, email, and gopher. Very few web pages, if any. AOL destroyed it. I still curse them.

    Posted by: Randy | Nov 21, 2013 5:14:15 PM

  14. That was an excellent short film.

    Posted by: jarago | Nov 21, 2013 6:35:55 PM

  15. Whatever, Kevin. That's complete bullsh*t.

    Posted by: D.R.H. | Nov 21, 2013 8:58:11 PM

  16. OMG thats the guy from the short film DARE!!! GAH LOVED HIM IN THAT!!! Why hasn't he made it yet!!!

    Posted by: Billy O | Nov 21, 2013 10:47:12 PM

  17. Nicely done Adam. A story to which many of us can relate, told with humor. Nicely shot too

    Posted by: bobspice | Nov 22, 2013 6:10:58 AM

  18. the lead actor was believable - good stuff...and I thought the imaginary porn star that talks to him was a pretty cool way of helping the story. I certainly think that a high-quality young adult full-length film telling the story of gay youth in an authentic & honest way would be amazing to see, and in my opinion certainly hasn't happened. There are just so many stories that have not been told regarding the gay experience, especially growing up gay.

    Posted by: steve | Nov 24, 2013 12:28:26 AM

  19. Really loved the movie. Who cares if the Net was usable by the average teen at that time. It's the idea of the movie and it's very cool and very well done. Great idea! I loved the porn star actor Adam Fleming. He was wonderful in "Dare". It's great to see him again. I wish he was utilized a lot more. He's got such an interesting face that really stands out and he's a good actor. Are you listening Indie movie makers. I want to see a lot more of Adam and well, you know SEE a LOT more. LOL.

    Posted by: BigGuy | Jun 2, 2014 9:47:03 PM

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