The pleasures and pitfalls of gay hookup apps are explored in "Grind: The Movie," Zachary Halley's short musical film which has been sweeping the festival circuit.
The film's anthemic pop-rock score, written by Derek Gregor and Selda Sahin, is an undeniable highlight. So it's fitting that the release of the five-song "Grind" EP will be celebrated Sept. 1 with a special concert headlined by the film's star Anthony Rapp along with Eric Michael Krop, Pasha Pellosi, Calvin Grant, Natalie Weiss, Matt Shingledecker, Danny Blu and Drew Brody at New York's 54 Below. On hand to host the evening will be "People's Couch" personality Scott Nevins.
"I'm always very interested in working on new projects that are edgy, interesting and which use music in cool ways," Rapp told The Huffington Post of the project, which was awarded “Best LGBT Film” from the NYC Downtown Short Film Festival. "It had even more complexity and range in it than I even thought possible ... it exceeded my hopes."
In the film, Rapp ("If/Then," "Rent") plays Vincent, a gay man who is both socially and romantically challenged despite his online wit. Meanwhile, chiseled pal Thane (played by Pellosi and sung by Krop) is desperately seeking a connection that's more than puddle-deep, but fears being perceived as simpleminded by other men.
While it might seem like the premise for a "Looking" episode, "Grind" moves into darker territory over the course of its roughly 35-minute running time, with a twist ending that's shocking in its specifics. (Check out the film's trailer above)
Rapp credits producer Telly Leung, with whom he co-starred in "Rent" on Broadway and on tour, as being critical to the success of "Grind." He adds that the film and its songs are, ultimately, an exploration of "the lengths that we go to connect or avoid connection."
"We're living in the age where mobile apps are a huge part of that, so it's something that's compelling from all sorts of angles," he said. "It's about people who can and cannot connect, and what's driving them to do the things they do to connect or not connect."
Rapp, Krop and others will perform at the release concert for the soundtrack of "Grind: The Movie" on Sept. 1 at 54 Below in New York. For more details, head here. The five-song soundtrack EP is available on iTunes and Amazon.