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Alaska is a Drag

USA, English, 88 mins

  • Director: Shaz Bennett
  • Writer: Shaz Bennett
  • Producer: Diane Becker; Shaz Bennett

CGiii Comment

A [major] problem with developing a [good] short film into a feature is...material. The question that needs to be asked before production begins: Is the material elastic enough to stretch to 90 or so [engaging] minutes? Alaska is a Drag suffers not through a lack of material...but, from structural issues.

Leo is a fish-filleter-cum-drag-queen-cum-boxer who yearns to escape from the sedantry life that is Alaska! The opportunity to do so presents itself in the form of a [local] qualifying round for a drag show in L.A. Right up Leo's street! So...why does the rather anticlimactic drag show appear halfway through the film?!? Did none of the [many] producers not see that this was the build-up and obvious ending to the whole film? A classic three-act structure...discovery, rehearsal, performance. Kaboom! Everything that came after the drag show could have gone before...thereby ensuring an explosive finish...a finish it so richly deserved.

There were so many storylines that could have been milked for all their worth. The sister with cancer. The broken and lost father. The love that punches instead of daring to speak its name! The material was there!!! By no stretch of the imagination is Alaska is a Drag a bad film. It's a sweet, well-performed, rich-in-ideas sort of film. It could have been something else entirely...an Alaskan Priscilla!!!


Trailer...

 

The(ir) Blurb...

The film version, which is due to star Martin L. Washington Jr. and Maya Washington, is described as, ‘darkly comic, achingly real story of LEO and his twin sister TRISTEN – who long to be International Superstars but instead they are wading up to their knees in fish guts.

‘Everyone who slices fish all day – daydreams. Leo’s daydreams are just a little more glamtastic than most. Their father GEORGE works on a fishing boat. So they are left alone to fend for themselves. Tristen taught Leo how to fight to survive – and unfortunately, Leo’s regular tormentor and former best friend KYLE gives him a lot of practice. After one particularly brutal fight, Leo is recruited by the local boxing coach DIEGO to train with him. A new kid who just moved to town — DECLAN — becomes Leo’s sparring partner — and this new triangle forces the twins to face the real reason they’re stuck in Alaska.

‘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.

Cast & Characters

Martin L. Washington Jr. as Leo;
Maya Washington as Tristen;
Matt Dallas as Declan;
Christopher O'Shea as Kyle;
Jason Scott Lee as Diego;
Margaret Cho as Jan;
Kevin Daniels as George;
John Fleck as Hal;
Nia Peeples as Lucy;
Adam Tomei as John;
Tim Holmes as Dan;
Connie Kincer as Workout Girl;
Jennifer Jelsema as Workout Woman;
Matt Hudson as Boxing Judge

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