The Sundance Film Festival, one of the most presigious celluloid events in the world, kicks off Thursday in Park City, Utah. Here are the LGBT movies that will screen there — and could soon make their way to your local multiplex.
First Girl I Loved (U.S.) Director and screenwriter: Kerem Sanga
Seventeen-year-old Anne just fell in love with Sasha, the most popular girl at her Los Angeles high school. But when Anne tells her best friend, Clifton — who has always harbored a secret crush on her — he does his best to get in the way. Cast: Dylan Gelula, Brianna Hildebrand, Mateo Arias, Jennifer Prediger, Tim Heidecker, Pamela Adlon.
As You Are is the telling and retelling of a relationship between three teenagers as it traces the course of their friendship through a construction of disparate memories prompted by a police investigation. Cast: Owen Campbell, Charlie Heaton, Amandla Stenberg, John Scurti, Scott Cohen, Mary Stuart Masterson.
Neglected by her husband, Sarah embarks on an impromptu road trip with her young daughter and her best friend, Mindy. Along the way, the dynamic between the two friends intensifies before circumstances force them apart. Years later, Sarah attempts to rebuild their intimate connection in the days before Mindy’s wedding. Cast: Jena Malone, Riley Keough, Brooklyn Decker, Amy Seimetz, Ryan Eggold, Rosanna Arquette.
A struggling comedy writer, fresh from breaking up with his boyfriend, moves to Sacramento to help his sick mother. Living with his conservative father and younger sisters, David feels like a stranger in his childhood home. As his mother's condition worsens, he tries to convince everyone (including himself) he's "doing OK." Cast: Jesse Plemons, Molly Shannon, Bradley Whitford, Maude Apatow, Zach Woods, June Squibb.
Los Angeles’s Korean spas serve not only as meeting places but also as a bridge between past and future for generations of immigrant families. Spa Night explores one Korean-American family’s dreams and realities as each member struggles with the overlap of personal desire, disillusionment, and sense of tradition. Cast: Joe Seo, Haerry Kim, Youn Ho Cho, Tae Song, Ho Young Chung, Linda Han.
A weekend getaway for four couples takes a sharp turn when one of the couples discovers the entire trip was orchestrated to host an intervention on their marriage. Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Cobie Smulders, Alia Shawkat, Clea DuVall, Natasha Lyonne, Ben Schwartz.
The definitive look inside the mysterious case of 16-year-old literary sensation JT LeRoy — a creature so perfect for his time that if he didn't exist, someone would have had to invent him. Perhaps someone did? The strangest story about story ever told.
Through a strikingly intimate and visually daring lens, Kiki offers a riveting, complex insight into a safe space created and governed by LGBTQ youths of color, who are demanding happiness and political power. The film is an exciting coming-of-age story about agency, resilience, and the transformative art form of voguing.
Bindle & Keep, a Brooklyn tailoring company, makes custom suits for a growing legion of gender-nonconforming clients.
Howard Brookner's first film, Burroughs: The Movie, captured the cultural revolution of downtown New York City in the early 1980s. Twenty-five years after his promising career was cut short by AIDS, his nephew sets out to discover Howard's never-before-seen films to create a cinematic elegy about his childhood idol. Cast: William S. Burroughs, Jim Jarmusch, Madonna, Tom DiCillo, Sara Driver, Robert Wilson.
Maya Goded became a world-known photographer when she explored the oldest commercial district in Mexico City — La Merced, where prostitution has been present since the Aztecs. This film intimately and lovingly portrays a group of wise women who made this place their home, and it celebrates their amazing survival skills. Cast: Carmen Muñoz, Leticia Guzmán, Epifanía Ruiz Lucas, Ángeles Álvarez Llorente, Raquel López, Carlos Pérez Ramírez.
A journalist stumbles upon a mysterious tickling competition. As he delves deeper into the event, he comes up against fierce resistance, but that doesn’t stop him from getting to the bottom of a story stranger than fiction. Cast: David Farrier, Dylan Reeve.
In contemporary Cuba, a father and son struggle to escape from each other’s expectations, duty, and the burden of past sins. Cast: Héctor Medina, Jorge Perugorría, Luis Alberto García.
Trace Bob Hawk's early years as the young gay child of a Methodist minister to his current career as a consultant on some of the most influential independent films of our time.
This examination of Robert Mapplethorpe's outrageous life is led by the artist himself, speaking with brutal honesty in a series of rediscovered interviews about his passions. Intimate revelations from friends, family, and lovers shed new light on this scandalous artist who ignited a culture war that still rages on.
As glam rock's most flamboyant survivors, X Japan ignited a musical revolution in Japan during the late '80s with their melodic metal. Twenty years after the band's tragic dissolution, X Japan’s leader, Yoshiki, battles with physical and spiritual demons alongside prejudices of the West to bring their music to the world.
Patrick Haggerty was a teenager in rural Dry Creek, Wash., in the late 1950s. In this short, he remembers the day he first had a conversation with his father about being gay.
Additional shorts include:
Partners (U.S.) Director: Joey Ally, Screenwriters: Jen Tullock, Hannah Utt
Work and life partners Kate and Leigh share everything, from their apartment to the bar they co-own. When a sex life slump forces them to reconsider their relationship, they must confront how intertwined their lives have become, to humorous ends.
Peace in the Valley (U.S.) Directors and screenwriters: Michael Palmieri, Donal Mosher
Eureka Springs, Ark., is home to both the largest outdoor Passion Play in the United States and an important vote on LGBT rights. This film follows the town's inhabitants as they prepare for the historic vote.
Peacock (Czech Republic) Director: Ondřej Hudeček, Screenwriters: Jan Smutny, Ondřej Hudeček
A twisted queer romance set in picturesque 19th-century Bohemia tells the true story of the birth of one of the nation's most influential writers, with suspense, laughter, violence, hope, nudity, sex, and a happy ending — mostly happy.