One minute you’re inside a trendy nightclub. Suddenly, a hand falls on your shoulder. In a rush, the door comes flying towards your head. Next thing you know, you are on the pavement dusting yourself off, wondering what just happened.

The nightlife. People are ready to dance, drink, and party; they are ready for anything. But they are not alone. Someone is always watching them. Nightclubs are replete with interesting characters, but none more so than that looming presence straddling the velvet rope. Who is this apparent muscle-head with the dual responsibility of keeping the peace and separating the “in-crowd” from the “out-crowd”? The Bouncer.

As part of their work routine, bouncers break up fights, reject rowdy patrons, assist drunk clientele, and- perhaps when the boss is not looking- scam some extra cash or hit on particularly attractive customers. It’s all part of life behind the velvet rope. Bounce: Behind the Velvet Rope spends time with these and other colorful characters, both during the day when they are “out-of-character” and during their jobs at night. The film takes a whirlwind international tour of the nightlife guided by those who see it all. The film at once glorifies and pokes fun at these supremely macho men we have all encountered, but to whom we have seldom paid much attention. It takes you to the heart of the action at nightclubs and, in the process, weaves a comical overview of the bouncer, an oft-overlooked, but ever-important cog of society.

Bounce: Behind the Velvet Rope goes inside the mindset of these frequently ridiculed, but always feared enforcers of the night. Who are these men? Are they programmed gorillas only there to flex and look tough, or are they highly skilled and efficient security experts with the ability to sniff out trouble and chic with equal aplomb? Are they in it for the money, the love, or for the excuse to knock heads? Is being a bouncer just a job, or is it a way of life, an entry into an elite fraternity?

The film, directed by Steven Cantor and produced by Daniel Laikind, was the Winner of the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the 2000 Los Angeles Independent Film Festival. It was released theatrically in 2001 in addition to airing on Showtime.