A spark of attraction, a budding romance, a dark family secret: tender first love between a pair of college freshmen is put to the test when a tragic connection from their past is unexpectedly revealed.

AKRON offers a gay coming-of-age tale with a refreshing twist-none of its characters are in search of self- or familial acceptance, because they’ve all already achieved it. Set against the backdrop of midwest Ohio suburbia, where familial cohesion and domestic stability are cultural commodities, the film instead explores the damage that can be done by other kinds of buried secrets, and the resilience and forgiveness it takes to heal that damage.

Benny and Christopher, college freshmen, meet playing football and begin a relationship. They fall in love supported by their family and friends. As their love for each other grows, a past tragic event involving their mothers comes to light. This revelation tests their own love and Benny’s close-knit family. Throughout this reflective love story, with the beauty of rural Ohio as its backdrop, Benny travels an emotional journey that examines both his own feelings and his family’s ability to come to terms with the past.

As people are accepting themselves and others at younger ages it’s important to show that, like Benny and Christopher in AKRON, gay men and lesbians are a natural and essential part of the fabric of society, part of the family. AKRON shows what it is like when gay men don’t have to leave their families for acceptance, where people are not so different after all. Where people can love each other for who they are.

MINI REVIEW: It’s refreshing to watch a film where the “gay” characters are portrayed just as naturally as everyone else. Although this may not be realistic for everyone, it is what society should be striving for. Family and friend acceptance of all, regardless of sexuality. The two main characters are open about their relationship, and it seems everyone else is accepting without ever mentioning the “gay” thing. The dark secret between the two boys is quite moving, and proves the point that #LoveTrumpsAll. 

AKRON is a sensitive and unique independent film that puts a progressive, Midwestern spin on a classic family drama. The original screenplay, by first-time screenwriter Brian O’Donnell, was inspired by the notion that the love between family members trumps all. In conversations O’Donnell had with friends, gay and straight, it became obvious that people were ready to hear stories that include gay characters, but are not primarily concerned with the characters’ sexuality. The film was shot on location in Akron, Ohio, where O’Donnell was born and raised, and in Wooster, Ohio, with local crew and extras and with the great support of local businesses.

Watch the trailer

AKRON will be released February 7th, 2017 in the U.S. and Canada via Wolfe Video on DVD & VOD, and across all digital platforms including iTunes, Vimeo On Demand, WolfeOnDemand.com, and many major retailers.


About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment, and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors, and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats. Reach out - bryen@thebuzzmag.ca