Move over Noah’s Arc and Queer as Folk, Kuntergrau has arrived. I recently learned of this German web series produced on a voluntary basis as part of the youth work of Europe’s oldest LGBT youth center: the “anyway” youth center in Cologne, Germany. Produced by gay teenagers and young adults between 15 and 27 this project includes film students as well as media-interested gay men who all have one goal: show the world what being gay in 2017 means to them.
Two seasons have been published so far. Season 1, which premiered in early 2016, includes 5 episodes with a total runtime of 65 minutes. Season 1 was followed by a crowdfunding campaign for Season 2. After raising the necessary funds, production of Season 2 took place in August and September and the premier followed on April 1st 2017 in the form of a cinematic premiere in Cologne with over 500 guests attending. The online premiere followed three weeks later on the Kuntergrau YouTube channel. Season 2 includes 4 episodes with a total runtime of 85 minutes.
What are my five reasons you should be watching Kuntergrau?
- There are Subtitles. Even though the show is produced in German, there are subtitles in 10 different languages.
- You’ll be supporting community. The project is a non-commercial gay youth venture. The more you watch and share, the more you’ll be supporting the project.
- There is plenty to follow. The series features 5 different characters so there are a lot of storylines and character development to keep you interested.
- There is sex. Although some early feedback indicated a small community of viewers believed the LGBTQ community is already drowning in too much visible sexuality and thought there should be less sexuality portrayed, the Kuntergrau team did not cut back on the sex in the show. The team feels they can only showcase the very personal view of what gay men experience by including it. They believe that living out our sexuality is a big part of our existence.
- There is a natural, confident, and outspoken representation of sexuality and being gay. The series focuses on problems we all experience in one way or another. Topics include: first love, a broken heart, living with HIV, conflicts with parents, and sex work.
What does Kuntergrau mean? The name goes back to the German word ‘kunterbunt’ which basically means ‘neon bright’ or ‘super colorful’. The team switched it up and added ‘gray’ to it. The best translation would be ‘neon gray’, meaning in a gray society there are some individuals that shine brighter than everyone else. They highlight stories of the five characters in an attempt to portray modern gay youth
In Kuntergrau, coming out is part of the past while sex and love is mundane. A group of five gay friends between 17 and 24 deals with everyday problems and experiences the meaning of love, sex, and friendship.
The series deals with Leopold (Age 17) who does not want to identify himself through his sexuality, Noah (Age 24), whose BDSM fetish challenges his ex-boyfriend, Jan (Age 20), to a point where their relationship begins to break. Along with them, promiscuous Marcel (Age 21) who works as a banker and has to live with his HIV infection. Last but not least, Lukas (Age 19) who moves from the country to the big city to get away from his controlling parents – unsuccessfully. The stories of these five men become intertwined and what results is a story that encapsulates what it means to be a young gay man in a big city.
Kai Kreuser of Kuntergrau shares that the team has taken a summer break but will come back together in October, to determine how the story of the Kuntergrau characters will continue. We can’t wait to see more.
Learn more about Kuntergrau on their website.