Four Short Reviews:


San Francisco Chronicle: David Wiegand  Sunday, June 17, 2007 "On the Downlow" 

The concept of African American men being "on the DL" isn't the same as being closeted, and this superb documentary by Abigail Child probably does more to explain the differences and the cultural roots than any article ever written. And if there's a preconception that guys on the DL necessarily live in terror of being discovered, Child disagrees. This is a fascinating and provocative film.

San Francisco Bay Guardian: Huston  Monday June 18th, 2007. 

Some of the best pure moviemaking in this year's festival can be found within this documentary by Abigail Child. Reflecting Child's background as an experimental filmmaker, On the Downlow finds a lot of poetry and grit in urban Cleveland: a shot of a hooker moseying across the street and a sequence set at a barbecue are great examples of the poetry in motion that can happen when a talented woman picks up a camera…

The REELER. Vadim Rizov 

Two of verite documentaries' hottest topics -- ghetto and gay life -- make for surprisingly apt bedfellows in Abigail Child's well-assembled video documentary On the Downlow. Ray, age 18, starts things off by announcing "I'm a thug" and giving a litany of crimes he's been on the giving and receiving end of -- before unexpectedly veering off into his sex life. Child moves from person to person, creating a portrait of Cleveland's underground black gay scene including coming out to one's parents; black homophobia; the persisting rumor that only gay people spread AIDS. This is….revealing …articulate and skilled moviemaking.


With Cleveland, Ohio, as it backdrop, Child's seeks to present the portraits of four African-American men living the secretive and much previously hyped lifestyle of living on the " DL". You know men who sleep with men but try to pass as straight. Child's film gives a rather balanced view of these men’s complex lives, and explores how each of these men view the gay community in very diverse ways. On the Downlow is an evolving project and it seems right, since sexuality leaps out as a topic we in the African-American community need spend some quality-time confronting.