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August 23, 2014, 9:20 am

‘Punch Me’ tackles gay identity

Robert X. Golphin is continuing to shine as both a filmmaker and an actor.

The West Oak Lane native who starred alongside actor Denzel Washington in the “Great Debaters” and earned several awards for his film “Inside of Me” is once again being nationally recognized. 

His latest film “Punch Me” earned him the Best Actor and Best Film nominations at the Atlantic City CineFest presented by the Downbeach Film Festival.

“Punch Me” made its New Jersey premier at the Ocean Tower at the Resorts Casino Hotel last Friday and the awards ceremony took place at Caesar’s Palace on Sunday.  The film has been selected for 23 screenings nationally and abroad. 

The film, that tells the story of a young homosexual man’s relationship with his diabetic father, focuses on the unique father-son dynamics after a parent learns his child is gay.

“This is not always an easy or open two-folded subject matter in the African-American community,” said Golphin, who began writing films while in high school.  “The film brings into focus an aspect of relations within the gay community that are not always considered.  It gives thought to the issues of the civil rights of gay people.”

Besides Golphin, “Punch Me” also stars Brian Anthony Wilson and Elwood Idris Simon.  Wilson’s film credits include “Limitless” and HBO’s “The Wire.”  Simon starred in “I AM MAN.”  A Blue Angel Entertainment, LLC film, the executive producers are Lori M. Childress and Michael J. Panichelli, Jr.  It is also produced by arts and cultures advocate Gail Y. Bennett.  Golphin is the screenwriter, director and co-producer in addition to acting in the film.

The film “Punch Me” will make its next première at the Queer Black Cinema Festival in Brooklyn, New York, on Saturday. It will also screen the same weekend at the Black Hollywood Educational Resource Center’s African American Film Marketplace and the Southeast Manly Short Film Showcase in Hollywood. At the end of October the short film will be shown at the Nashville Black Pride in Tennessee.

“Punch Me” was previously recognized as the “Best Short Subject” at the Philadelphia International Film Festival and Marketplace.  It earned a second prize finish at the Black Maria Film Festival.  It also received an Honorable Mention at the Love Unlimited Film Festival & Art Exhibition in San Diego.

Golphin hopes that “Punch Me” will earn even more recognition that “Inside of Me” which did well.  “The film is the story of a married couple unable to have children,” Golphin said. 

“A desperate wife refuses to accept this shocking news,” he said.  “Eventually she experiences symptoms of pregnancy, and her skeptical husband begins to question her sanity.  The outcome of this emotional story may surprise many.  But, what’s even more intriguing is that this story is inspired by reality.”

Golphin was previously nominated for Best Actor in his role in “Beautiful Man in the Buff” at the 2008 Downbeach Film Festival.  To learn more about “Punch Me” visit Facebook.com/punchmefilm.