The story of the second Brazilian Gay Fetish contest is now an international movie sensation. It follows on from Kink Crusaders, a 2010 cinema film which took an in-depth look at what happened on and off the stage at International Mr Leather 30 in Chicago. Mr Leather is extremely well filmed, superbly lit, and wonderfully staged. And it’s doing the rounds of international film festivals and top gay leather events. Leather Citizen X reviewed the film, while Paul Stag spoke to its star for Alphatribe.
Mr Leather is a very entertaining film by director Daniel Nolasco about the 2018 leather title competition held in São Paulo, Brazil. Nolasco follows judges, past winners, and current contenders for the title of Mr Leather Brazil as they prepare for the second edition of this annual contest. One participant will win the honour of representing their country for the year and take to the international stage at Chicago’s annual International Mr Leather (IML) contest – the most prestigious event in the gay fetish calendar.
The film combines verité footage with stylised sequences shot all over the atmospheric city of São Paulo, especially at night. Mr Leather keeps its audience on their toes throughout its illuminating, playful, and uncompromising depiction of the leather world. It covers the decisions and preparation that goes into entering such a contest and the blooming Brazilian gay fetish leather scene and its kinky subcultures. Sex, activism, and community-building collide to make Mr Leather a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the minds of hot and horny South American men and the extreme gear culture that the best of them drift into.
Mr Leather (add 2019 if you are searching for it online), is a fresh and sexy queer Spanish documentary which uses visual fantasy storytelling to explore the lives and fetishes of the five male contestants. Every shot outside of the formal contest is a work of art and balances nicely with the fly-on-the wall approach to the actual contest evenings.
Director Daniel Nolasco’s stylised second feature film begins with the mysterious leather-clad narrator, Leandro Rebello. He recounts the dramatic events that saw the queer community of São Paolo create the first Mr Leather Brazil competition a year earlier. An event which shone a much-needed light on the BDSM and leather scene in the country.
The origin story of the competition spins a tale of drama and deception. The organiser of original event disputes the validity of the second competition. He takes off his leathers for the last time and refuses to wear them ever again! This leaves the winner of the first competition to champion the leather scene, and to ensure the competition continues to survive.
The title was disputed by Dom PC, Kake, Deh Leather, and Maoriguy. So, the winner of the 2018 competition received his ribbon from Dom Barbudo, the first Mr Leather Brazil. It’s anything but the story of an association starting up a little fetish title contest – you get all the politics behind it too. There is plenty of drama in the movie as well as the mechanics of a standard national fetish contest which many of our readers will have attended in their own cities.
After the dramatic origin tale, the film introduces us to the men competing in the second competition. That’s done through a series of probing interviews which peer into each contestant’s closet and explore their beliefs, kinks, and fetishes. This is like most contests where the closed interview contributes a huge percentage to each competitor’s final marks. It also helps to explain to fans why a certain guy wins over another who performs better in the public section of the event.
The highs and lows of the contest will draw you in. You will start rooting for one contestant or the other, and you will appreciate how hard a time the judges have. The drama builds and builds until the winners are announced.
Spoiler alert: If you don’t want to know who wins before you see the film, stop reading NOW.
The result seems to be hugely popular. In one dramatic moment, a line is drawn under the previous year of controversy, and a massive new international leather star is created in Raphael Gonçalves.
Gonçalves went on to represent Brazil very successfully at IML in Chicago. He proved to be very popular with the judges and the crowd alike. Since the competition, he has travelled the world visiting Folsom Europe in Berlin, Darklands in Antwerp, and many large American events.
At the end of his title year, Gonçalves stepped down with a wonderful speech. His title year put the South American fetish scene on the map and launched a Brazilian contest dynasty. Brazil is a large country with so many hot and well-educated men, so we have no doubt that a Brazilian from this contest will win IML itself before long.
Mr Leather has already been nominated for awards in South America and we expect more to come. The film has also been shown at festivals in Montreal, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, and San Francisco, and is running on the big screen in New York, London, and Berlin.
The mix of documentary filmmaking and visual narrative storytelling gives an interesting and inciteful view into San Paolo’s often overlooked leather scene. It’s done in a way that many leather men around the world will find fascinating and relatable. Track the film down, especially when it is released on DVD (soon). Or get your local leather/fetish event to organise a screening – it sells out everywhere it is shown.
Mr Leather is one of the classiest gay fetish films to get an international screening certificate. It’s certainly the best since the 2018 Tom of Finland movie which was a blockbuster. Our Muir caps are doffed to the incredible directing job, and of course the star contestants and superstar winner.
And the winner is… Raphael Gonçalves
The star of the international hit Mr Leather is Raphael Gonçalves – one of the hottest things to come out of Brazil since Ronaldinho or Roberto Carlos. He talks to Paul Stag about the movie and the fetish scene in South America.
What did you think of the film?
The movie was a big surprise for me. Before watching it, I had heard some negative comments which were very malicious and full of envy! Those comments were completely destroyed! Although the leather scene in Brazil could have been explored more in the film, the way the director used the available material, coupled with insightful editing, gave a nice dynamic and a fun and ironic tone to the movie. I loved it!
What was it like seeing yourself on the big screen?
I was very happy and honoured to see my election as Mr Leather Brazil 2018 as part of a documentary airing around the world. I have never participated in anything like it before, and suddenly my face and speech are circulating around the globe. It was a great gift for me and my community! Can I get ready for the Oscars red carpet?
Have you had any feedback about the movie?
Yes! From many people, especially outside Brazil. They had watched the film and were surprised to see that our newly born leather community already has a documentary running in theatres around the world. I have often been congratulated for the movie, the speech, the title.
In Brazil, the film was screened in mid-November at the Festival Mix Brazil 2019. But there have also been two screenings at events for the leather community. That has earned me some praise and, of course, some criticism.
What is the gay fetish scene like in Brazil and South America?
The fetish scene has grown a lot in the last two years since the first Mr Leather election. Before, there were only one or two fetish events a month. We currently have fetish events every weekend, and sometimes more than one on the same weekend.
The leather community has grown a lot in those two years. People are encouraged to wear their leather on the street and at events and get togethers. For example, at the two BLUF São Paulo Socials I promoted this year, we had approximately 70 people. And each day, more people join the community. On 9 November 2019 we founded the first Brazilian club, Leather Club Brazil. That was my first promise as Mr Leather, and it will add even more to the community.
As for South America, Argentina and Chile already have their clubs (Leathermen Argentina and the Grupo Leather Chile). They currently promote their monthly social events. A former Mr Leather Chile is well known from his successful entry to IML. We have visited each other a lot this year and have established partnerships and mutual support. Venezuela had its first Mister Leather elected last year which is great.
And what is the leather/rubber/puppy/bootblack contest situation in Brazil and South America?
Only Brazil and Venezuela have Mr Leather competitions. In Brazil we elected our third Mr Leather last October, my sash-son. The three contests in Brazil were promoted by Eagle São Paulo, but now with the foundation of Leather Club Brazil, the contest will be promoted by the Club.
In 2019, the first Mr Rubber Brazil was elected. This event was promoted by Upgrade Club. I am trying to convince Argentina and Chile to promote their Mr Leather contests with support from Brazil.
You competed at IML, how was that weekend for you?
Yes, I competed in IML 40 in 2018, just a month after my election as Mr Leather Brazil. It was one of the most fantastic experiences I’ve had. I was able to represent my community internationally and I gained seventh place in the final standings. It was very exciting. I received a lot of affection from everyone. And with that began this whole process making the Brazilian community visible to the world.
What other opportunities has Mr Leather Brazil bought for you?
For my life: FRIENDS! Wonderful people I have met and I love so much, and that I will carry in my heart all my life! And many trips. My hobby is travelling, and this year as Mr Leather I was able to travel a lot –32,000 km. I visited many countries and their communities, and I was received by all with great affection.
For the Brazilian community: VISIBILITY! Most people were unaware of the existence of a leather community in Brazil. It’s a tropical country with a climate that is not very favourable to leather. I had the pleasure and honour of being able to show the world that we have a leather community. A community that it is growing fast every day and which we are adapting to our local culture.
Where is the best place you have had sex?
It’s a tie: New Action in Berlin and Darklands in Antwerp.
What is so hot about Brazilian men?
Ah, Brazilian men are really hot! We Brazilians are super sweet, we add sugar to everything but always spice it up with red pepper!
I believe the hot weather makes our bodies hot. We love to expose our bodies and we are very sexual! We love sex and play with our sensuality!
And we are great fuckers! Believe me!
Mister Leather Brazil 2018
President of Leather Club Brazil