IT SEEMS almost impossible to watch a newly released silent film now, but new film 12th Man is all about proving the impossible, possible.

The short film has its lead character Angus, played by Scottish Bafta winner Lorn Macdonald of Beats, utter not one single word.

"We thought that was a great way of showing that for so many people, it is impossible to speak up and be open about what's going on with them and their sexuality - particularly in football" explained filmmaker Jack Gemmell.

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"What's we have just now is the illusion of a safe space, when in reality, it's very different" he continued.

12th Man, which is set to be released late 2020 after the lockdown is lifted, is an attempt by filmmaking cousins Jack Gemmell and Caitlin Black to explore toxic masculinity and homophobia in grassroots football.

In the film, star players Angus & Charlie (played by Guy Hodgkinson) struggle to come to terms with their relationship, sexuality, and place within their local team.

Filmed on location at Partick Thistle’s Firhill Park, last year filmmaking cousins Caitlin Black and Jack Gemmell ran up every single step in all 12 Scottish Premier League stadiums in a bid to highlight homophobia in football.

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The funds they raised were donated directly to LGBT charity Stonewall Scotland and helped partially fund the production of their new film.

"We wanted to do more to highlight homophobia in Scottish football" explained Jack.

"The results seem to be repression, or isolation, and then, of course, anger.

"I'm a straight man, and I wanted to do justice to what the subject is about. We worked really closely with Stonewall Scotland and it just seemed that it was a film that needed to be made."

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Although it may be hard to believe, there are no openly gay footballers in Scottish football spheres. ​

Naturally, it has led to a vacuum of information or representation of those players who are part of the LGBT+ community.

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Jack said: "There are some films like ​Mario ​or Wonderkid ​or The Pass who do depict aspects of these people's lives brilliantly but there are no openly gay football players.

"As many people know in Glasgow, historically, religion and football have been pretty intertwined and this has made it even harder, and more unique.

"Grassroots football is in many ways the start of this discriminatory culture - where it all begins and what the film looks to explore.

"Scotland is famous for its hyper-masculine, almost brutal, style of football.

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"Players are expected to be hard as nails; gloves and long sleeves are ridiculed.

"It’s a culture built on being bulletproof and showing no weakness. Why though is being gay seen as a weakness to be targeted?

For Jack, who started writing the script almost 5 years ago, the film has taken on a life of its own.

“We had seen Lorn acting in Beats, and thought the role would be perfect for him.We didn't think that we'd be able to get him for the production, but luckily for us, he liked the script" he said.

"Since then it has transformed into something different."

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Jack continued: “12TH Man is a story about football, but more about what happens behind closed doors. Our film gives a sense of what some players might be going through as they navigate and shield their sexuality from their teammates.”

Homophobia and homophobic banter are still prevalent both on and off the pitch.

LGBT charity Stonewall UK have reported ​as many as 72% of football fans have heard homophobic abuse at football matches.

Despite the whiff of homophobia surrounding the beloved game, Scottish clubs are working hard to create an environment of inclusivity.

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More than 30 clubs are active members of the Scottish LGBT Sports Charter, numerous LGBT+ only clubs exist and many clubs support Stonewall UK’s Rainbow Laces campaign.

However, some suggest more direct action is needed across ​all​ levels of football.

Caitlin added:"This film’s primary intention is to open a dialogue, a platform, an artistic vehicle for changing and informing opinion.

“When I initially read the script I immediately connected with Angus’ and Charlie's story.

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"They’re going through what a lot of people go through at various stages in their lives: searching for the strength to live the life we each want to live.

"12TH MAN seeks to show the psychological effects a person experiences when they’re unable to live as their true self.”

The answer then, it would seem, would be just keep on kicking. There is hope.