THE GOOD AMERICANJochen Hick’s new film portrays Tom Weise, one of the initiators of HustlaBall – an event originally created in order to encourage the acceptance of male prostitutes, but also to launch a rent boy website.
After his parents split and, having lost all contact with them, this slightly-built former student of politics decides to go to New York at the beginning of the 1990s. Being virus-positive, he is obliged to live in the USA illegally. In fact, according to the law, he cannot even pay a visit to this country. At first Tom has a hard time eking out a living as an escort. Unable to earn enough money, he winds up on the streets without a roof over his head.
In the end, he succeeds in helping Jeffrey Davids set up an internet page, rentboy.com, which, ten years later, becomes the largest website for escorts. Increasingly beset by health issues, loneliness and drug abuse, in 2006 Tom eventually finds someone with whom he can share his life. He and his Afro-American partner Keith decide to go to Berlin. This marks Tom’s first trip to Germany in 15 years. A few days after their arrival, the HustlaBall takes place.
The ostensibly self-confident businessman of the film’s first few minutes gradually reveals himself to be a man with weaknesses, fears and dreams. Initially following Tom Weise as he organises the last of his parties in the US, the film then accompanies him as he returns to Berlin. Besides being a vibrant portrait, Hick’s film is also a socio-cultural exploration of the New World and the old, as reflected in a marginalised group. His documentary also affords a fascinating insight into the universe and the minds of escorts and party-makers.