Showmax celebrates queer love with local gay rom-com, 'No Hiding Here'

Showmax celebrates queer love with local gay rom-com, 'No Hiding Here'

Queer love is once again taking centre stage with Showmax's first gay romcom, 'No Hiding Here'.

No Hiding Here cover
No Hiding Here / Supplied.

A year ago this month, a wedding venue in the Western Cape made headlines after refusing to host a same-sex couple.

The pair were told they could not have their wedding at the Stanford-based venue, based on religious grounds, with the owners of the venue saying that gay marriage “dishonours God”.

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What followed were months of legal battles, front-page newspaper articles, and the question of who gets to celebrate their love and how.

A question that has never been more prevalent than during the 'Month of Love'.

It’s now almost 12 months later, and queer love is once again taking centre stage. This time around, in the form of South Africa's first gay rom-com, which is set to touch the hearts of many.

‘No Hiding Here’, directed by Gabe Gabriel (‘Hold Fast’, ‘Good Luck’), stars some of South Africa’s most loved TV and theatre actors; David Viviers (‘Kanarie’, ‘Black Sails’), Tiffany Barbuzano (‘Still Breathing’), and the 2020 Fleur du Cap winner, Earl Gregory (‘Kinky Boots’, ‘Cats’).

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Having worked on other projects, Gabriel had often discussed that so many commissioned queer content often centres around queer trauma rather than queer joy. So when Navlug Films approached him with the idea to write a gay South African romantic comedy for Showmax – he jumped at the opportunity.

“Whilst the stories about the hardships of queer history are obviously valid and important; we agreed that positive representation that “normalises” the lived experience of people who are queer beyond the closet. I felt it was important to strike a balance here though,” Gabriel explains.

Much of his own experiences are reflected in the characters of the film.

‘No Hiding Here’ is set in a small South African town, where a beloved drama teacher accidentally plays gay porn over the biggest school event of the year. This forces him, and the event’s guest featured artist – a closeted big city celebrity.– into hiding from the outraged community.

“Knowing that it would be a first in that sense, I really wanted it to feel like a queer movie BY the queers. Because trust me, we can tell the difference.”


The reality is that South Africa is still walking a tightrope between its strong constitutional commitment to protect LGBTQIA+ rights and the lived experience on the ground. 

It’s the same reason why an LGBTIQIA+ person holding their partner’s hand in public or wanting to get married often becomes a political statement or one that puts them in danger. 

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“I think paradigm shifts in culture and society happen largely in tandem with shifts in media and representation. Our film attempts to win over the empathy of our country’s leading streaming platform with the hope that if there is a movement in the hearts of the tv-watching population in general, those anti-LGBTQIA+ systems and constructs will lose popular support and therefore become dated and irrelevant (or torn down altogether).”

no hiding here set
Earl Gregory, Loren Loubser, Monde Sibisi, Gabe Gabriel, and Kea Zawadi / Supplied.

Armand Joubert, aka “AJ”, from 'The Voice SA' season 2, wrote and recorded the title song for the film. Working with a cast and crew that were predominantly queer was an intention that Gabriel set from the onset.

“It was so fulfilling. And to be surrounded by all these queers who were so excited to finally be on a queer set, telling a queer story in probably too little time and yet they all stayed so positive and generous with their work,” he explains.

no hiding here set
Amelia Henning (DOP), Gabe Gabriel, and Reg Hart (Production Designer) / Supplied.

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Acknowledging that local soaps and movies with LGBTIQA+ characters and storylines often receive heavy backlash, Gabriel is unashamedly clear with what he hopes local audiences will take from his film.

“My hope is that I’m pleasantly surprised. That audiences are actually more evolved than the powers that be give them credit for. That they can handle a pure, unbridled gay love story. Because surely that can’t be so threatening?”

No Hiding Here premieres exclusively on Showmax from the 18th of February.

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