Chris Mason Johnson's 'Test' Is A Groundbreaking Gay Drama Set In The World Of Modern Dance (VIDEO)

WATCH: A Groundbreaking New Gay Drama Set In The World Of Modern Dance

HuffPost Gay Voices is proud to present this exclusive clip from Chris Mason Johnson's "Test," the award-winning, hotly anticipated new film that's been hailed by critics as "delightful" and "deeply rewarding."

Set in San Francisco in the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, "Test" centers on young dancer Frankie (Scott Marlowe) as he navigates the challenges of being an understudy in a performance troupe, where his classmates taunt him to "dance like a man!"

Meanwhile, Frankie also begins a relationship with veteran dancer Todd (Matthew Risch), who plays the bad boy to his innocent. Together, they face a world of "risk, hope, humor, visual beauty and musical relief," according to press materials.

"TEST isn't about getting sick or being sick; it's about the fear of disease," Johnson told The Huffington Post. "It's a universal theme but heightened because the early AIDS epidemic was insane. And while the shift to fear may sound like a small thing, it’s actually big when you consider every other AIDS movie has focused on death and dying. Maybe that's one of the reasons audiences seem happy after TEST. They don't expect the genuine hope that comes out of it."

"As a former dancer –- and ‘former’ is kind of silly because it never leaves you –- I have strong feelings about how dance is done on film," Johnson adds. "My favorite dance sequences all have this balance between respecting the fully framed body but also cutting the image for dynamic punch, which is what we tried do in TEST. I like the way dance is shot and cut in 'Cabaret,' 'Hair,' The Red Shoes,' 'Pina,' 'Pennies From Heaven' (Christopher Walken!), 'Swing Time,' 'Saturday Night Fever' and the Lindy Hop sequence from 'Helzapoppinn'’. I want to do more with dance on film, that's for sure!"

"Test" hits select theaters in New York and Los Angeles on June 13. Head here for more information.

Support HuffPost

Before You Go

"Laurence Anyways" (2013)
The third film from Canadian director, writer, and actor Xavier Dolan, "Laurence Anyways" tells a story about a teacher, Laurence, who realizes that the one thing that will truly make him happy is to become a woman. The film, which was one of the most underrated of 2013, follows the relationship between Laurence and his girlfriend Fred over the course of a decade as he makes his transition.
"Bridegroom" (2013)
In May of 2012, Shane Crone uploaded a video to YouTube, titled "It Could Happen To You," for the one-year anniversary of his partner Tom Bridegroom's death. The emotional video quickly went viral and led to the feature documentary "Bridegroom," which tells the story of the many legal struggles Crone faced after Bridegroom passed. This GLAAD Media Award winning film is definitely a must-see.
"Blue Is The Warmest Color" (2013)
The 2013 Cannes Palme d’Or winner (original title "La Vie d'Adèle") may have had its fair share of controversy, mostly due to the at-times misguided perspective of lesbians and female sexuality, but that doesn’t mean you should skip it. The romance is one of the first films about a lesbian relationship to get mainstream attention, and with its gorgeous cinematography and moving performances, this three-hour film is definitely worth the watch.
"Mr. Angel" (2013)
This documentary follows six years in the life of Buck Angel, a self-described "man with a pussy." Buck is both a transgender activist and a porn star, and after surviving addiction, suicide and prostitution in his youth, he's simply aiming for acceptance.
"Stranger By The Lake" (2013)
Alain Guiraudie's erotic thriller "Stranger by the Lake" follows Frank, who meets and quickly falls in love with Michel. When a death occurs at a popular cruising spot, the two are prime suspects, yet they continue their potentially dangerous romance. Winner of the Cannes Queer Palm, Guiraudie's film presents a gripping mix of sexuality and suspense that numerous critics described as very Hitchcockian.
"How To Survive A Plague" (2012)
This critically acclaimed documentary chronicals the efforts of two organizations, AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) and Treatment Action Group (TAG) during the AIDS epidemic. Co-written and directed by David France, a journalist who has covered the crisis since its origins, "How to Survive a Plague" features never-before-seen footage of interviews, protests and conferences that helped shift national attention to AIDS.
"Weekend" (2011)
In Andrew Haigh's acclaimed "Weekend," Russell and Glen meet at a nightclub and have a one-night stand, but quickly decide that they want to make it something more. This realistic romantic drama has been compared to the "Before Sunrise" trilogy, touching on how brief meetings can deeply impact our lives. Less of a "gay romance," "Weekend" is memorable for telling a poignant and relatable story that just so happens to be about two men.
"Paris Is Burning" (1990)
If you’ve never seen the 1990 documentary “Paris Is Burning,” please stop reading and go watch it right now. If you have seen it, then go watch it again. Jennie Livingston’s documentary gives a look at the New York City ball scene in the ‘80s through a series of interviews with a handful of drag queens and the man who invented voguing. If anything, “Paris” will teach you the origin of words like “shade” and “realness,” and, afterward, a lot of Azealia Banks lyrics will make so much more sense to you.
"G.B.F." (2013)
With so many heavy dramas and weep-worthy romances, something light, fun and gay is definitely needed. "G.B.F." is a silly satirical comedy about the war for popularity in high school. When Tanner is outed, he becomes every popular girls' must-have item: a "Gay Best Friend." Co-starring Megan Mullally as Tanner's upbeat mother, as well as Natasha Lyonne, "G.B.F" is an enjoyable teen comedy that pokes and prods at stereotypes.
"Out Late" (2008)
This 2008 documentary features five individuals who came out as gay, lesbian or transgender in their 50s, 60s and 70s. From Beatrice Alda and Jennifer Brooke, "Out Late" looks at why these people waited so long to finally express themselves.
"Outrage" (2009)
From Oscar-nominated director Kirby Dick ("This Film Is Not Yet Rated"), "Outrage" exposes the many closeted U.S. politicians who actively work against gay rights. The documentary, which was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism, also calls out to the media's lack of attention to the hypocrisy of these policy-makers.
"Rent" (2005)
It's "Rent." What more is there to say? From "Seasons of Love" to "Today 4 U" to "Take Me or Leave Me," "Rent" is full of some of the best Broadway songs -- we dare you to try and not sing along. This movie musical simply can't be seen too many times, and there's no better excuse for a re-watch than Pride Month.
"Prodigal Sons" (2008)
Transgender filmmaker Kimberly Reed returns to her Montana hometown in the 2008 documentary for her high school reunion. As she attempts to reconcile with her estranged adopted brother, family secrets are revealed, including a shocking revelation of their relationship to Hollywood icons.
"My Summer Of Love" (2004)
Lesbian dramas that aren't overtly cheesy (e.g. "And Then Came Lola") or ridiculously sexualized (e.g. "Room in Rome") are few and far between. "My Summer of Love," on the other hand is a believable unsettling romance about romance, trust and betrayal. It also features solid performances from Emily Blunt and Natalie Press.
"Brokeback Mountain" (2005)
Pretty much everyone has seen this three-time Oscar winner, Golden Globe winner, and pretty-much-every-other-award winner. Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain" was a monumental and historic film in that it depicted a tumultuous relationship between two men (and two of Hollywood's biggest names) over the course of several decades. Pride Month is the perfect time to revisit "Brokeback," especially for the great performances from Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams.
"The Kids Are All Right" (2010)
This 2010 film stars Julianne Moore and Annette Bening (in a part which won her the Golden Globe), as a married lesbian couple with two children. When the two teenage kids decided to find their sperm donor, played by Mark Ruffalo, their entire family unit becomes disrupted. If anything, "The Kids Are All Right" is a good watch for its portrayal of relatable lesbian couple with familiar family tensions -- oh, and Josh Hutcherson is in it!
"Beautiful Boxer" (2005)
Based on a true story, this Thai film follows Nong Thoom, a famous trans woman Muay Thai fighter. Nominated for the GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Film, "Beautiful Boxer" looks back on the life of Thoom growing up as a boy in poverty who soon discovers that his identity.

Popular in the Community