Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 20, 2021



Year: 2000
Country: USA
Run Time: 104 minutes


If only Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. were alive to witness the opening of PUNKS, as a posse of WeHo (West Hollywood) drama-queens rate the homoerotic appeal of prominent rappers and R&B singers, in the first romantic comedy feature film to capture the vibe of black gay subculture. Marcus, a busy twenty-something fashion photographer, has a close and supportive circle of pals, but romance-wise he’s so fearful (of STDs and heartache) that he compulsively undergoes repeat tests at the local HIV clinic after even the slightest sexual contact. Marcus isn’t attracted to any of the sexy models he photographs as much as he is to his new neighbor of Trinidadian descent, Darby Cannon. Trouble is, while Darby has no problem with Marcus’ sexual preference, he seems to be doing just fine with his pretty girlfriend. For solace Marcus and his friends share stories of love and heartache with the divas at their local drag bar, Miss Smokies. Still, Marcus can’t stop thinking about Darby, wondering if the hunky guy-next-door is really as straight as he seems PUNKS throbs with classic funk, disco, and R&B beats—many written by the filmmaker himself—and pays homage to Sister Sledge, Janet Jackson, and the supreme diva Diana Ross. You may never view “Mahogany” the same way again.

CIFF44 Screenings

Tower City Cinemas

Friday, April 03, 2020 at 8:40 PM ET

Accessibility (?): No closed captions, audio description, English subtitles

African Diaspora


Patrik-Ian Polk

Tracey E. Edmonds, Michael McQuarn, Patrik-Ian Polk

Patrik-Ian Polk

Rory King

Anne Misawa

Principal Cast
Seth Gilliam, Andre Johnson, Dwight Ewell, Rockmond Dunbar, Jazzmun, Roneoly Santiago, Loretta Devine, Vanessa Williams

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