SideKick Productions—the internationally-acclaimed queer, fat- and sex-positive production company–is set to start production on their first feature film: A Taste of Youth.
Inspired by their award-winning short film, Wasted on the Young, A Taste of Youth will be the world’s first queer, fat-positive horror feature. Production is slated to begin in June.
A Taste of Youth is the story of Mateo on the eve of his 46th birthday. Facing an uncertain future at work, and anxiety towards aging and the changes he’s going through because of it, Mateo finds himself growing despondent and realizing he’ll do whatever he must to change his lot in life. Confronting issues of toxic masculinity, aging, and body image through a queer, horror lens, A Taste of Youth touches on visceral fears to which we can all relate.
“With five seasons of Skeleton Crew, and the first seasons of Demon Doctor and Ashley Monique Menard’s The Art of Blowing It, we’ve produced almost 40 hours of television”, says Joshua R. Pangborn, founder of SideKick Productions. And while we have many more seasons of shows (old and new) to come, it felt only natural that we delve into making our first feature film.”
He goes on to say: “I’ve always been drawn to horror films and the way they can be so relatable regardless of how fantastical they may be. A good horror film has the potential for the ultimate catharsis of pity and fear—the Greeks knew this and emulated it in their greatest tragedies. For myself, the genre also offers a great deal of opportunities to try new things. Explicitly queer horror is still a relatively untapped sub-genre, and fat-positive queer horror is practically nonexistent in film and television. With A Taste of Youth, I knew I wanted to celebrate all the things which people have come to expect from SideKick Productions, and push them further.”
Of the production and cast, he comments: “Nakia and I have assembled an incredible, mostly queer cast and crew and we are going to tell a story which I think will really speak to the audience about very familiar fears. I’m also extremely excited that we will be featuring an openly asexual character in a leading role, which is representation that is sorely lacking in most media. The chance to collaborate with Catalin Stelian on a feature film has been a hope of mine for a few years now, and I’m thrilled he is going to be behind the camera on this project.”
Singer-songwriter and fellow collaborator on the film, Nakia, says: “Growing up I was the kid at the magazine counter reading Fangoria every week while my mom shopped for groceries. The instant I had my own money I started buying them, unlocking a fascination with a world of terrifying horror and fantasy that still lives inside me today. So, when Joshua asked me to co-direct his first feature film I was not only incredibly honored (and scared to death), but I was thrilled the genre would be horror.”
He goes on to say: “I’m very proud of the wonderfully diverse cast and crew we are working with on this film and looking forward to sharing this dark and mysterious story with the world.”
To support this important and fantastic film and help fund the efforts, SideKick Productions is currently running a fund-raiser through IndieGogo at www.atasteofyouth.com. Donors who help fund the film can find several different tiers to offer their support in return for a variety of perks, including limited-edition enamel pins, T-Shirts, and even a Producer credit. You can also support by becoming a patron at thier Patreon, www.patreon.com/sidekickproductions.
“A Taste Of Youth will be one of the most intense projects I’ve ever worked on, but I’m so excited to be making it happen, and I’m so grateful I have the chance to do so with my family from the Crewniverse”, says Pangborn. I hope people will see value in the work we are doing and support us. But whatever the outcome, I know the work we are doing is important because we need queer, fat-positive films, and if other people are not going to make them, then it’s up to us!”
ABOUT SIDEKICK PRODUCTIONS
SideKick Productions was founded by Joshua R. Pangborn in 2010 as a theatre company focused on size-blind casting and telling queer stories. In 2015, the company moved towards New Media with the release of their flagship series, Skeleton Crew, which has accumulated hundreds of thousands of views and a number of awards and nominations, including most recently being awarded Best LGBT Series at the 2021 British Web Awards and Best Ensemble at the 2020 NZ Web Fest. Skeleton Crew tells the story of Pangborn’s Anthony and his husband, Hunter (played by J. Cerio), a polyamorous gay couple navigating their lives alongside family and friends in a celebration of all things queer.
In 2019, SideKick Productions released two new series, Demon Doctor and The Art of Blowing It. Pangborn’s Demon Doctor has captured the international circuit as well with its unique take on horror comedy through a queer, fat-positive lens and led by Mark-Eugene Garcia, Ashley Monique Menard, and Pangborn as the titular Demon Doctor, winning a slew of awards. A cross between Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and The X-Files, Demon Doctor follows the adventures of Detective Mark Besim and Doctor Derek Jedial as they try to protect the city from a world few are even aware of. The Art of Blowing It, from the mind of Ashley Monique Menard, features Menard as a former child star trying to reclaim her fame by living her life as a reality series helmed by newcomer Felix Ziegfeld (Pangborn). Named Best Mockumentary by both the NJ Web Fest (2021) and Minnesota Web Fest (2021), The Art of Blowing It is a hilarious romp.
Other works by SideKick Productions include the award-winning short horror film, Wasted On The Young, the horror short, Yaas, Queen, Slay, and their latest short horror release, Scratched.