“It’s a human story about a teenager who’s confused, just like every other teenager in the world.”
That’s is how Luka Kain describes Saturday Church, during an interview with Another Man. The film—slated for January 2018 wide release—stars the 17-year-old Kain, and he is getting rave reviews, already winning the Best Actor award at Outfest. The film currently holds a 100% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Heyyy!!!
Directed by Damon Cardasis, Saturday Church follows the journey of “genderqueer teen” Ulysses (played by Kain). Ulysses runs away from his home in the Bronx, finding an LGBT safe space at Saturday Church (based on The Church of Saint Luke in the Fields in NYC’s West Village). Here he is embraced by a “found family” of trans women and gay kids.
The ballroom culture is woven tight into the musical backdrop of Saturday Church, a giant curtsy to the documentary Paris Is Burning, while other cinematic comparisons include La La Land, Moonlight and Rent.
Kain is wise beyond his years, as he has been in showbiz—as a model and a stage actor—since his beginnings, under the guidance of his talent manager mom. As a POC and an artist verged on greatness, he has a unique, articulate perspective on how the role of Ulysses is so important.
“I feel like Hollywood is handling movies about people of colour and LGBTQ people a lot better now,” Kain says about auditioning for Saturday Church. “Looking at it in kind of a gross way, these diverse stories are becoming more business friendly, which is what Hollywood is really all about. It’s about making money. [This film is] a really great stride in the right direction. Since it’s also something I believe in heavily, I was never really scared of the consequences of playing Ulysses. I just went in full force and told the story the best way I could.”
About relating to Ulysses, Kain says he is shy like the character. As an actor, Kain also relates to the abused youth who find solace in the ballroom scene: “They all had one common thread of escaping through art.”
Although the film’s story is about disenfranchised young people, Kain’s own family is close-knit and supportive. After Saturday Church wrapped, Kain’s sibling came out as a trans woman.
“I’m very proud of her and feel like knowing that someone in the family was advocating for trans rights in some sense helped her to feel comfortable with who she was.”
“I want people to take away the fact that everybody’s a human being no matter where you come from or what you’re going through,” Kain says concerning the potential impact of Saturday Church. “I want kids who connect with Ulysses [to realize] that they’re not alone, and that if they can’t find comfort in their own family, they can have a found family that’s just as amazing and as loving. Because there are people out there who will love every part of you, no matter what you’re feeling or who you are.”
Look out for Saturday Church in January 2018. Check out the teaser trailer below.