8 Lesbian-Approved Movies Not to Miss at Sundance 2014
Nearly 50,000 visitors are expected to attend this year's Sundance Film Festival, which runs January 16 to 26 in Park City, Utah. One of the nation's largest independent film festivals, Sundance boasts around 200 movies from a variety of genres, with many featuring LGBT themes, characters, directors, and writers from around the world. But which to see?
From The Case Against 8, a behind-the-scenes look at the first marriage equality case to reach the Supreme Court, to The Foxy Merkins, a lesbian "prostitute buddy comedy," here are 23 stellar comedies, dramas, documentaries, and shorts that celebrate queer life.
Film stills and descriptions courtesy of the Sundance Institute.
The Foxy Merkins
USA (Director: Madeleine Olnek; screenwriters: Lisa Haas, Jackie Monahan, Madeleine Olnek) — Two lesbian hookers work the streets of New York. One is a down-on-her-luck newbie; the other is a beautiful — and straight — grifter who's an expert on picking up women. Together they face bargain-hunting housewives, double-dealing conservative women, and each other in this prostitute buddy comedy. Cast: Lisa Haas, Jackie Monahan, Alex Karpovsky, Susan Ziegler, Sally Sockwell, Deb Margolin
Australia (Director: Sophie Hyde; screenplay and story by Matthew Cormack; story by Sophie Hyde) — Sixteen-year-old Billie’s reluctant path to independence is accelerated when her mother reveals plans for gender transition, and their time together becomes limited to Tuesdays. This emotionally charged story of desire, responsibility, and transformation was filmed over the course of a year — once a week, every week, only on Tuesdays. Cast: Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Del Herbert-Jane, Imogen Archer, Mario Späte, Beau Williams, Sam Althuizen. International premiere.
The Skeleton Twins
USA (Director: Craig Johnson; screenwriters: Craig Johnson, Mark Heyman) — When estranged twins Maggie and Milo feel that they’re at the end of their ropes, an unexpected reunion forces them to confront why their lives went so wrong. As the twins reconnect, they realize the key to fixing their lives may just lie in repairing their relationship. Cast: Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Luke Wilson, Ty Burrell, Boyd Holbrook, Joanna Gleason
Dear White People
USA (Director and screenwriter: Justin Simien) — Four black students attend an Ivy League college where a riot breaks out over an “African American” themed party thrown by white students. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the film explores racial identity in postracial America while weaving a story about forging one's unique path in the world. Cast: Tyler Williams, Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris, Brandon Bell
The Case Against 8
USA (Directors: Ben Cotner, Ryan White) — A behind-the-scenes look inside the case to overturn California's ban on same-sex marriage. Shot over five years, the film follows the unlikely team that took the first federal marriage equality lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court.
USA, U.K. (Director and screenwriter: Desiree Akhavan) — Shirin is struggling to become an ideal Persian daughter, a politically correct bisexual, and a hip, young Brooklynite, but fails miserably in her attempt at all identities. Being without a cliché to hold on to can be a lonely experience. Cast: Desiree Akhavan, Rebecca Henderson, Halley Feiffer, Scott Adsit, Anh Duong, Arian Moayed. World premiere
My Prairie Home
Canada (Director: Chelsea McMullan) — A poetic journey through landscapes both real and emotional, Chelsea McMullan’s documentary/musical offers an intimate portrait of transgender singer Rae Spoon, framed by stunning images of the Canadian prairies. McMullan’s imaginative visual interpretations of Spoon’s songs make this an unforgettable look at a unique Canadian artist. International premiere.
I Love Your Work
Artist: Jonathan Harris
I Love Your Work is a beautifully designed interactive documentary by Jonathan Harris about the private lives of nine women who make lesbian porn. It consists of more than 2,000 10-second video clips, taken at five-minute intervals over 10 consecutive days — around six hours of footage. Cast: Dylan Ryan, Jincey Lumpkin, Ela Darling, Ryan Keely