The DARE Boys are back and it’s probably a bit concerning how obsessed I am with this love story.
DARE, for those who don’t know, is the 2005 LGBTQAI+ short film that centres around high school senior Ben who secretly lusts after the school bad boy and fellow class mate, Johnny. The pair, who were both in the same drama class, spent a night together at Johnny’s house where Ben was there to help him with his lines. The two then continue to have a rule breaking encounter that changes Ben and Johnny’s lives forever.
In 2003, David Brind and Adam Salky, the creators of ‘DARE’, were classmates in the Graduate Film Program at Columbia University in New York. Their first-year assignment was to pair up to create an 8-12-minute short film with the challenge being that you could not direct your own script. Adam went out of his comfort zone as he took on David's story. The end result, the short film “Dare,” began its life on set in the suburbs of Philadelphia, with two young up-and-coming actors, Michael Cassidy and Adam Fleming.
“The original “Dare” debuted on the film festival circuit in 2005, playing over 50 festivals globally. It was featured as the “Best Of” Outfest and Newfest, won the Grand Prize Alternative Spirit Award at the Rhode Island International Film Festival, a Special Jury Award at the Sidewalk Film Festival, the Audience Award for Drama at the PlanetOut Short Movie Awards, and Best Dramatic Short at Q Cinema in Fort Worth, TX. “Dare” became the lead-off and cover image short for Strand Releasing’s BOYS’ LIFE 5, the fifth edition in their popular and critically acclaimed “Boys Life” short film series and was distributed internationally and on DVD compilations in the UK, France, and Germany among other territories. “Dare” was also distributed by the Logo network as one of its most popular gay-themed shorts.”
Dare has touched the lives of many, in particular struggling gay men who have found comfort in the film and written to the creators from around the world on how they felt so connected to both the feelings portrayed by Johnny and Ben. In 2019, Salky and Brind got together again with the same creative team and cast to produce the sequel, becoming the first and only short film to have a sequel with the same cast and team. The rightfully titled ‘DARE part 2’, debuted through the DARE project website in the September of 2019, 15 years exactly since the creation of the first short.
We have now been spoiled yet again in lockdown as the DARE team filmed and released a 3 minute follow up on the characters’ lives, cleverly synchronising it to fit with the current coronavirus. The clip was showing a facetime call between Ben and Johnny discussing how they are both coping in lockdown, eluding to a DARE part 3 as Ben at the end of the call stated he was moving from New York to LA, where Johnny lives, when the pandemic passes.
For DARE fans this, in the space of two days, has built hype on the internet as we patiently await further news on the potential part 3 of one of the most beloved gay franchises to ever grace the internet and the world of short film. Either way however, the characters and the following of their different journey’s as both an out and proud gay man and a man who struggles with their sexuality, is an important reminder to all of us that we are all on journeys of our own. The characters represent the many emotions gay men feel in regard to their sexuality; the internalised homophobia, the lack of confidence, the lust, the pain, the joy, the confusion, the pressure. They have become figures of comfort and the DARE project has become an isolated phenomenon in its own right as something that we can all relate to and take comfort in, reminding us we are not alone in our journey to self-acceptance and self-discovery.
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