Special Jury Mention for “Exquisite Directing, Ensemble Cast and Cinematography” — Urbanworld Film Festival
Winner Best Narrative Feature — Chattanooga Film Festival Shindig
Queen of the ring: Shaz Bennett, director of Alaska is a Drag, explains how latest film is a mirror reflection of her own life — Philadelphia Weekly
It’s going to be compared to Moonlight, for obvious reasons. But Alaska Is a Drag is a fine, enjoyable achievement in its own right. — Steven Silver / Today Philadelphia
In her enchanting feature debut writer/director Shaz Bennett spares no punches in showing how brutal and isolated Alaska can be especially if you are anything different than the norm. — Queerguru
ALASKA IS A DRAG weaves its own gendered dichotomy into a character study of put-upon young dreamer who desperately needs the mental escape both drag and boxing offer. Washington does an incredible job of making that character a joy to watch, as Bennett deftly backs him up with a colorful fantasy world backdrop that emerges from between the cracks of a grim, industrial setting. — Swampflix
The use of juxtaposition in Bennett’s work is refreshing, as Leo is sent tumbling head first into the glamorous world of drag and the bloodied, tough-as-nails world of boxing at the same time. The needle is carefully threaded, as Leo’s speed and foot movement on stage becomes one of his strongest assets in the ring. Martin L. Washington’s Leo glides effortlessly from bruises to rouge and back again. — Gay Themed Films we love
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 – Leo’s are just more 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 as they vogue down a woodsy path.
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 – Leo’s worlds begin to collide, Tristen enters Leo in a drag competition – he’s never performed for anyone but her – 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.
Contact: Alaskaisadrag at gmail dot com