|ALASKA IS A DRAG|
|East Coast Premiere|
|Cast: ||Martin L. Washington Jr., Maya Washington, Matt Dallas, Christopher O'Shea, Jason Scott Lee, Margaret Cho, Kevin Daniels, Nia Peeples, Kevin Tomei|
|Crew: ||Producers: Melanie Miller, Diane Becker, Shaz Bennett, Jean-Pierre Caner - Screenwriters: Shaz Bennett -
This is a fish out of water story -- literally. Everyone who slices fish all day daydreams - his are just glamtastic. He's had to learn to fight to survive. And his boss who is also an amateur boxer takes note. When a new kid offers to be his sparring partner - he and his twin are forced to confront the real reason they're stuck in fish guts.
Shaz Bennett l- Writer, director, storyteller. Before being a full time filmmaker (ALASKA IS A DRAG) and writer of television (THE GLADES, UnREAL, BOSCH) - Shaz worked in a fish cannery; bartended at a mafia bar; was a film programmer at Sundance, LA Film Festival and AFI FEST; peddled liquor undercover; developed films for actor Giancarlo Esposito; and was Cher's stand-in for a day. Her films and performance pieces have been seen in festivals, theatres, museums and abandoned warehouses all over the United States, Mexico, Canada, South Africa and Europe. One of 8 women selected to the prestigious AFI Directing Workshop for Women, nominated as one of Fox's Top 20, Sundance Screenwriting Labs 2017, and Fox's inaugural Franchise Directing program.
The Feature ALASKA IS A DRAG, is based on the award winning short film by the same name. It's a black comedy lovechild of HEDWIG and ROCKY. The short screened in over 150 festivals including: AFI FEST, Nashville, Sarasota, Torino, Melbourne, Palm Springs, Frameline, Provincetown and Los Angeles. It sold in the US, UK and France to Vimeo, iTunes, and several VOD platforms.
Shaz's performance pieces and other acclaimed short films (TOP OF THE CIRCLE, MARTINI and TUNNELS) have been viewed in numerous festivals and museums across the United States, Mexico, Canada, South Africa and Europe including: AFI FEST, Cinevegas, The Los Angeles Film Festival, True West Festival, Silverdocs, Nashville, Philadelphia, Lunafest, the Berkley Photographic Museum and the International Women's Museum.
Shaz's comedy and storytelling often reference her true life. Shaz is a mutt - she was raised Mormon in Salt Lake City, Utah. She spent her summers in camping and hiking in Zion, Arches, Canyonlands and learned to drive in the Salt Flats on the Utah/Nevada border. Shaz relocated from Utah to New York to study with Spaulding Grey, where she wrote and performed four award-winning shows: "The Shaz Show," "Abrasive Fairy Tales," "Eyes, Lips, Legs," and "Hungover Angel." These shows were performed extensively around the world, including spoken word festivals sponsored by MTV, Comedy Central, Hennessey and NOW. Shaz still performs regularly with Sit n Spin at the Comedy Central Stage, The Moth and Third Saturdays; she is a regular contributor to KCRW's UnFictional.
ALASKA IS A DRAG is a Fish out of water story literally. Our hero Leo is an aspiring superstar (Martin L. Washington Jr.) stuck working in a fish cannery in Alaska. Leo sees disco balls in the scales of the fish he slices. Everyone who slices fish all day, daydreams Leos are glamtastic. Most of the time, Leo and his twin sister Tristen (Maya Washington) are left to fend for themselves. To escape the monotony of fist fights and fish guts, they create their own magic the Northern Lights follow them. They hang out at the one gay bar in a hundred miles, owned by their surly surrogate mom Jan (Margaret Cho). Their real mom (Nia Peeples) left years ago and their dad George (Kevin Daniels) preaches on the side of the road. After years of getting beat up by his former best friend, Kyle (Christopher O'Shea), Leo has learned to fight back his skills catch the eye of his cannery boss, an amateur boxer (Jason Scott Lee) who offers to train him to be a fighter. And when the new kid in town, Declan (Matt Dallas), wants to be his sparring partner Leos world turns upside down. When Tristen enters Leo in a drag competition he's never performed for anyone but her his worlds collide the drag audition falls on the same day as the qualifying round for boxing and Leo has to face the real reason, he's afraid to leave Alaska.