When Boys Fly
Directed byStewart Halpern
Lenid Rolov
Produced byStewart Halpern
Lenid Rolov
Music byRobert Wayne Johnson
John Swihart
CinematographyClay Westervelt
Edited byRichard Choi
Jenni Gold
Kevin Proux
Distributed byTLA Releasing
Release date2002
Running time62 min.

When Boys Fly is a 2002 documentary film that explores the world of gay circuit parties. Described in promotional material as "an MTV-style documentary," When Boys Fly skims the surface of the circuit party world, documenting without point-of-view the drug use and casual sex of the party scene without offering depth or analysis. Scenes of the party, which reveal the makeup of attendees to be overwhelmingly white and male, are intercut with interview segments and single sentence voiceovers both pro- and anti-party.

When Boys Fly played a number of gay and lesbian film festivals before being released on Region 1 DVD on November 26, 2002.


The film follows several attendees of the annual White Party in Miami, Florida. The major subjects are:

  • Tone, a 21 year-old from Dallas, Texas. Tone has attended several previous circuit parties and has gotten in trouble with out of control recreational drug usage. His stated goal is to become a biology teacher but despite having enough college credits to be a senior he has no major. His roommate Scott is very concerned about his drug use and has delivered an ultimatum: if he "fucks up" at the White Party he'll be thrown out of the house and out of his roommates' lives.
  • Brandon, a 23 year-old UCLA student who's never been to a circuit party before. He's a friend of Tone's and they travel to the party together. Brandon is very firm in his decision not to use drugs at the party and worries that he will be ostracized at the party for his decision.
  • Floridians Jon, Jason and Tod. Jon is 19 years old. Jason is in his early 20s. Todd is in his mid-30s and has been out for just two and a half years and believes that he's "living out [the] adolescence" that as a closeted young gay person he couldn't. Jon and Todd have been dating for two years. Before they dated, Tod and Jason dated. Initially there was tension between Jason and Jon but now they're best friends. The only reason Jon agreed to attend was that Todd promised that Jon would be the focus of all of Todd's attention.


Brandon loses track of Tone, who's unconcerned as he seeks out his "circuit friends." Brandon meets Greg, his boyfriend Jeff, and some of his friends and they shop for party outfits. Greg and his group think Brandon is cool, but Brandon initially thinks Greg is a "typical shallow circuit type." As he gets to know them better he realizes that Greg (who was earning his PhD in Psychology at University of Michigan and planned to enter academia) is deeper than he first thought.

Jon and Todd tell of their traumatic experience with the illegal party drug GHB at a previous party. After taking a normal dose, both of them stopped breathing within 30 minutes and were hospitalized on respirators for several days.

At the partyEdit

Tone is staying sober and not having fun. He meets his friend Matt, who feeds him GHB, rationalizing that if he's the one dosing Tone then Matt can control and monitor his usage.

Jon catches Todd "fucking around" with another man and breaks up with him on the spot. Despite having observed Jon and Todd's bad reactions to GHB, Jason decides to take some. He ends up passed out and Jon and Todd take care of him.

Brandon stays true to his decision to stay off drugs. His fears of ostracism prove to be unfounded.


Following their return home, Jon and Todd no longer speak. Several months after the party, Brandon has met a boyfriend and brought him home to meet his mother. Tone continued to party and do drugs until he suffered a mild stroke at age 22. Scott nursed him back to health. Tone entered a rehab center and as of the release date of the film remained clean and sober.

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