Spanish director David González has been sharing his short film CHAPERO which has been receiving some mixed reviews around the festival circuit. The story follows 17-year-old gypsy Ismael, played by Quim Jiménez, who is thrown out of his house for being gay. While on the street he soon meets Nines, played by Ximena de los Santos, a trans sex worker who befriends him but also introduces him to the dark world of the ‘night life’.
Chapero, which is a slang term for a boy who is sold or has sex for money, is a topical story that is creating a lot of controversy. González began to encounter this when the film was released on platforms like YouTube and Vimeo and it was quickly flagged and removed because it was considered to be pornographic and promoting violence.
YouTube’s policies, clearly state:
Sexually explicit content like pornography is not allowed. Videos containing fetish content will be removed or age-restricted depending on the severity of the act in question. In most cases, violent, graphic, or humiliating fetishes are not allowed to be shown on YouTube.
A video that contains nudity or other sexual content may be allowed if the primary purpose is educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic, and it isn’t gratuitously graphic.
González, however, asserts that this is censorship as the film, while hard to watch, is an artistic narrative on the realities of sex work that is occurring—primarily to minors—around the world.
This is interesting considering this week we learned the Tumblr would be ridding itself of all pornography on its site and will be porn free by December 17th to avoid the stigmas surrounding its reputation for free porn.
Many Tumblr bloggers have come out saying that their personal Tumblr accounts are artistic expression and celebrate their sex positivity.
The 20-minute short is no longer available online, but González is working hard to remove the censorship as it relates to his and other films that seek to raise awareness.
We got in touch with 32-year-old director/screenwriter, David González, who gave more insight on his project and his mission to bring light to this issue:
Why did you create the short film CHAPERO?
I wanted to tell the world about young male prostitution, a topic that is not usually talked about, and even less in the vivid way that I have done it.
How has the film been received in the festival circuit?
The short film has received mixed reviews, from people who have valued history and applauded the initiative, to people who have been bothered by the subject of the film and its very sexual and real scenes. There were many people who saw the character as very strong and people who perhaps expected more. But no one has been neutral, Chapero has created a strong impact.
How has the film been censored? Why do you think this is?
Censorship started upon the film’s premiere on YouTube and Vimeo. They accused us of pornography and excess violence, although at no time were penises, explicit or graphic sex, shown. Most people who have opposed the film are from Latin American and have strong religious convictions. They have even threatened us. These are taboo subjects that society prefers you not to touch. In this case, an underage gypsy boy who prostitutes himself because he is kicked out of the house because he is homosexual.
How do you plan to remove the stigma surrounding CHAPERO?
I think it's a short film that everyone over age should see because it reflects an uncomfortable reality that exists, and there have been many cases. It is a tremendous injustice and the world needs to see this harsh reality without turning its head. This is a real story that can raise awareness. We also indirectly talk about pedophilia, sexual abuse within the church, and transgender lives.
Basically we hope you understand the message that too many young people are forced to take the dark road because they are misunderstood. I think we have managed to show this story with realism and the characters can get to empathize with the viewer.
Although we have shot with very little means we are satisfied with the result. We are convinced we have done a good job of reaching our expectations.
González wants as many people to see the short film and welcomes constructive criticism.
Watch the NSFW short film CHAPERO, but be aware that the film is not suitable for anyone under the age of 18 and includes graphic scenes with mature content. The film is entirely in Spanish.
For more information on other projects visit Young Talent Films