“Age of Consent” | 14th July | LA

Screening with Director-Producer-Screenwriter Todd Verow

A film by Charles Lum and Todd Verow, UK 2013, 1 hour 27 minutes, produced by Bangorfilms

The history of The Hoist, London’s first and only Gay sex fetish bar, follows the cultural evolution of Gay life and sex in modern London through AIDS, gentrification, and the ongoing political struggle to decriminalize homosexual activity in the UK.

This documentary by festival favourites Lum and Verow tells the story of The Hoist (open since 1996 and now one of London’s only surviving Leather bars) and in doing so tells the story of Gay sex from decriminalization to Grindr, taking in police entrapment, the Spanner case, safer sex and Section 28. Age of Consent is informative and eye-opening – did you know more Gay men were arrested and convicted of gross indecency in 1989 than in 1966? – while being playful, funny and downright filthy. Described by the barman as a ‘sneaky, sexy, dirty wee hole’, The Hoist and its patrons could be seen as representing the antithesis of the recent trend in mainstream Gay politics towards assimilation. But, with encroaching gentrification and more people using the internet to hook up, what does the future hold?

From Ben Walters of Not Television:

Shoes and a smile, that’s all you need…” Charles Lum and Todd Verow’s brilliant portrait of Vauxhall’s trailblazing fetish club The Hoist is at once a history of sexual liberation and a warning against complacency. It’s sweet, funny and defiant and features both thematically appropriate hardcore sex and familiar faces, from Peter Tatchell and the BFI’s own Brian Robinson to Jeffrey Hinton, Ingo Cando and Ashley Ryder. The whole film is stolen by the cleaner, though, who among many gems comes up with the phrase that should have been the film’s title: “If this sling could talk…

TOM House