Alaska is a Drag is the award-winning 2012 short film written and directed by Shaz Bennett, and starring Martin L. Washington, Jr., as Leo, a tough African-American young man who doesn't find much acceptance in his taste for drag in his rugged Alaskan milieu. But he finds an unanticipated new friend in Declan (Spencer Broschard) at the fish cannery where they work.
The Philadelphia Gay News wrote of the film that screened at more than 150 film festivals, "The tone oscillates between hard-edged realism and dreamlike flights of fancy... This winning short gets deep into the characters, thanks to Washington's fantastic turn. Alaska is a Drag begs for feature treatment."
They weren't the only ones suggesting the short needs to be a full-length film, and Bennett and Washington are reaching out for the funds to create that feature. That film will tell the story of Leo and his twin sister Tristen (to be played by Maya Washington) who long to be international superstars, but instead spend their days wading up to their knees in fish guts. Everyone who slices fish all day has daydreams. Leo's daydreams are just a little more glamtastic than most. While their father George works on a fishing boat, Leo and Tristen fend for themselves. Tristen taught Leo how to fight to survive, and unfortunately, Leo's regular tormentor and former best friend Kyle has given him plenty of practice. After one brutal fight, Leo is recruited by the local boxing coach. Declan, a new kid who just moved to town, becomes Leo's sparring partner, and this new triangle forces the twins to face the real reason they're stuck in Alaska.
The filmmakers summarize: "It's a fish out of water story, like Billy Elliot in reverse or Rocky in drag. If Hedwig and Rocky had a love child that might best describe Alaska Is a Drag.
Click here to watch the kickstarter video and contribute to the feature-length version.
Watch the trailer for the original, award-winning short film.