Queer Guide to Sundance Film Festival 2013

Come Jan. 17, 2013, the snow-packed (Redford willing) streets of Park City will be buzzing with faux-furred celebrities, film aficionados, stalkers and a giggle of gays. This year the Sundance Film Festival has selected a standard list of films from up and coming filmmakers that continues to set the standard in independent film making.

LGBT themes, actors, filmmakers and personae are once again in demand. Openly gay, lesbian and bisexual people presented in this festival include David Sedaris, Allen Ginsberg (yes, again!), Megan Mullally, John Cameron Mitchell, Jim McGreevey and Evan Rachel Wood. Plus some of our festival favorites return, including James Franco and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (in his directorial debut). One newcomer to the festival is the ultra sexy Wentworth Miller (TV’s Prison Break), who’s screenplay Stoker premieres here.

Provided below is a list of LGBT-themed films, films featuring LGBT actors and filmmakers, and other movies that QSaltLake recommends. Enjoy!

Registration for tickets is available now through Dec. 17 at www.sundance.org/festival. The Sundance Film Festival run Jan. 17-27.

U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION

Afternoon Delight / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jill Soloway) —  In this sexy, dark comedy, a lost L.A. housewife puts her idyllic hipster life in jeopardy when she tries to rescue a stripper by taking her in as a live-in nanny. Cast: Kathryn Hahn, Juno Temple, Josh Radnor, Jane Lynch

C.O.G. / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kyle Patrick Alvarez) — In the first ever film adaptation of David Sedaris’ work, a cocky young man travels to Oregon to work on an apple farm. Out of his element, he finds his lifestyle and notions being picked apart by everyone who crosses his path. Cast: Jonathan Groff, Denis O’Hare, Corey Stoll, Dean Stockwell, Casey Wilson, Troian Bellisario

Concussion / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Stacie Passon) — After a blow to the head, Abby decides she can’t do it anymore. Her life just can’t be only about the house, the kids and the wife. She needs more: she needs to be Eleanor. Cast: Robin Weigert, Maggie Siff, Johnathan Tchaikovsky, Julie Fain Lawrence, Emily Kinney, Laila Robins

Kill Your Darlings / U.S.A. (Director: John Krokidas, Screenwriters: Austin Bunn, John Krokidas) — An untold story of murder that brought together a young Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs at Columbia University in 1944, providing the spark that led to the birth of an entire generation – their Beat revolution. Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHann, Ben Foster, Michael C. Hall, Jack Huston, Elizabeth Olsen

Touchy Feely / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Lynn Shelton) — A massage therapist is unable to do her job when stricken with a mysterious and sudden aversion to bodily contact. Meanwhile, her uptight brother’s foundering dental practice receives new life when clients seek out his “healing touch.” Cast: Rosemarie DeWitt, Allison Janney, Ron Livingston, Scoot McNairy, Ellen Page, Josh Pais

Toy’s House / U.S.A. (Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts, Screenwriter: Chris Galletta) — Three unhappy teenage boys flee to the wilderness where they build a makeshift house and live off the land as masters of their own destiny. Or at least that’s the plan. Cast: Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Alison Brie

U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

After Tiller / U.S.A. (Directors: Martha Shane, Lana Wilson) — Since the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in 2009, only four doctors in the country provide late-term abortions. With unprecedented access, After Tiller goes inside the lives of these physicians working at the center of the storm.

Blood Brother / U.S.A. (Director: Steve Hoover) — Rocky went to India as a disillusioned tourist. When he met a group of children with HIV, he decided to stay. He never could have imagined the obstacles he would face, or the love he would find.

God Loves Uganda / U.S.A. (Director: Roger Ross Williams) — A powerful exploration of the evangelical campaign to infuse African culture with values imported from America’s Christian Right. The film follows American and Ugandan religious leaders fighting “sexual immorality” and missionaries trying to convince Ugandans to follow biblical law

Valentine Road / U.S.A. (Director: Marta Cunningham) — In 2008, eighth-grader Brandon McInerney shot classmate Larry King at point blank range. Unraveling this tragedy from point of impact, the film reveals the heartbreaking circumstances that led to the shocking crime as well as its startling aftermath.

WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION

Crystal Fairy / Chile (Director and screenwriter: Sebastián Silva) — Jamie invites a stranger to join a road trip to Chile. The woman’s free and esoteric nature clashes with Jamie’s acidic, self-absorbed personality as they head into the desert for a Mescaline-fueled psychedelic trip. Cast: Michael Cera, Gabby Hoffmann, Juan Andrés Silva, José Miguel Silva, Agustín Silva. World Premiere. DAY ONE FILM

Shopping / New Zealand (Directors: Mark Albiston, Louis Sutherland, Screenwriters: Louis Sutherland, Mark Albiston) — New Zealand, 1981: Seduced by a charismatic career criminal, teenager Willie must choose where his loyalty lies – with a family of shoplifters or his own blood. Cast: Kevin Paulo, Julian Dennison, Jacek Koman, Alistair Browning. World Premiere

WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear / Georgia, Germany (Director: Tinatin Gurchiani) — A film director casting a 15-23-year-old protagonist visits villages and cities to meet people who answer her call. She follows those who prove to be interesting enough through various dramatic and funny situations. North American Premiere

The Moo Man / United Kingdom (Directors: Andy Heathcote, Heike Bachelier) — A year in the life of heroic farmer Steve, scene stealing Ida (queen of the herd), and a supporting cast of 55 cows. When Ida falls ill, Steve’s optimism is challenged and their whole way of life is at stake. World Premiere

Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer / Russian Federation, United Kingdom (Directors: Mike Lerner, Maxim Pozdorovkin) — Three young women face seven years in a Russian prison for a satirical performance in a Moscow cathedral. But who is really on trial: the three young artists or the society they live in? World Premiere

Who is Dayani Cristal? / United Kingdom (Director: Marc Silver) — An anonymous body in the Arizona desert sparks the beginning of a real-life human drama. The search for its identity leads us across a continent to seek out the people left behind and the meaning of a mysterious tattoo. World Premiere. DAY ONE FILM

NEXT <=>

Pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling. Digital technology paired with unfettered creativity proves the films selected in this section will inform a “greater” next wave in American cinema.

Blue Caprice / U.S.A. (Director: Alexandre Moors, Screenwriters: R.F.I Porto, Alexandre Moors) — An abandoned boy is lured to America and drawn into the shadow of a dangerous father figure in this film inspired by the real life events that led to the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks. Cast: Isaiah Washington, Tequan Richmond, Joey Lauren Adams, Tim Blake Nelson, Cassandra Freeman, Leo Fitzpatrick

Milkshake / U.S.A. (Director: David Andalman, Screenwriters: David Andalman, Mariko Munro) — In mid-1990s America, we follow the tragic sex life of Jolie Jolson, a wannabe thug (and great-great-grandson of legendary vaudevillian Al Jolson) in suburban DC as he strives to become something he can never be – black. Cast: Tyler Ross, Shareeka Epps, Georgia Ford, Eshan Bay, Leo Fitzpatrick, Danny Burstein

Pit Stop / U.S.A. (Director: Yen Tan, Screenwriters: Yen Tan, David Lowery) — Two working-class gay men in a small Texas town and a love that isn’t quite out of reach. Cast: Bill Heck, Marcus DeAnda, Amy Seimetz, John Merriman, Alfredo Maduro, Corby Sullivan

SPOTLIGHT

Regardless of where these films have played throughout the world, the Spotlight program is a tribute to the cinema we love.

Mud / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jeff Nichols) — Two teenage boys encounter a fugitive and form a pact to help him evade the bounty hunters on his trail and reunite him with his true love. Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Reese Witherspoon. North American Premiere

No / Chile, U.S.A. (Director: Pablo Larraín, Screenwriter: Pedro Peirano) — When Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet calls for a referendum to decide his permanence in power, the opposition persuades a young advertising executive to head its campaign. With limited resources and under scrutiny, he conceives a plan to win the election. Cast: Gael García Bernal, Alfredo Castro, Antonia Zegers, Luis Gnecco, Marcial Tagle, Néstor Cantillana

PARK CITY AT MIDNIGHT

From horror flicks to comedies to works that defy any genre, these unruly films will keep you edge-seated and wide awake. Each is a world premiere.

Ass Backwards / U.S.A. (Director: Chris Nelson, Screenwriters: June Diane Raphael, Casey Wilson) — Loveable losers Kate and Chloe take a road trip back to their hometown to claim the beauty pageant crown that eluded them as children, only to discover what really counts: friendship. Cast: June Diane Raphael, Casey Wilson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Alicia Silverstone, Jon Cryer, Brian Geraghty

kink (documentary) / U.S.A. (Director: Christina Voros) — A story of sex, submission and big business is told through the eyes of the unlikely pornographers whose 9-to-5 work days are spent within the confines of the San Francisco Armory building, home to the sprawling porn production facilities of Kink.com.

We Are What We Are / U.S.A. (Director: Jim Mickle, Screenwriters: Nick Damici, Jim Mickle) — A devastating storm washes up clues that lead authorities closer and closer to the cannibalistic Parker family. Cast: Bill Sage, Ambyr Childers, Julia Garner, Michael Parks, Wyatt Russell, Kelly McGillis

NEW FRONTIER

With media installations, multimedia performances, transmedia experiences, panels, films and more, New Frontier highlights work that celebrates experimentation and the expansion of cinema culture through the convergence of film, art, and new media technology.

FILMS

Interior. Leather Bar. / U.S.A. (Directors: Travis Mathews, James Franco, Screenwriter: Travis Mathews) — To avoid an X rating, it was rumored that 40 minutes of gay S&M footage was cut from the controversial 1980 film, Cruising. Filmmakers James Franco and Travis Mathews re-imagine what was in the lost footage. Cast: Val Lauren, James Franco, Travis Mathews, Christian Patrick, Brenden Gregory

INSTALLATIONS

North of South, West of East

Artist: Meredith Danluck

North of South, West of East enhances narrative storytelling by wrapping the film around the entire room. Presented to an audience in swivel chairs, Meredith Danluck’s remarkable four-channel narrative feature deftly spools a darkly humorous tale of small-town folks as they try to make sense of a post-hope America. Shot on location in Detroit, Michigan, and Marfa, Texas, this unique film features fantastic performances by Ben Foster, Stella Schnabel, and Sue Galloway, and a soundtrack by Marfa local punk band Solid Waste.

PREMIERES

A showcase of world premieres of some of the most highly anticipated dramatic films of the coming year.

Don Jon’s Addiction / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Joseph Gordon-Levitt) — In Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s charming directorial debut, a selfish modern-day Don Juan attempts to change his ways. Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly, Rob Brown

Lovelace / U.S.A. (Directors: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, Screenwriter: Andy Bellin) — Deep Throat, the first pornographic feature film to be a mainstream success, was an international sensation in 1972 and made its star, Linda Lovelace, a media darling. Years later the “poster girl for the sexual revolution” revealed a darker side to her story. Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Hank Azaria, Adam Brody, James Franco, Sharon Stone

The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman / U.S.A. (Director: Fredrik Bond, Screenwriter: Matt Drake) — Traveling abroad, Charlie Countryman falls for Gabi, a Romanian beauty whose unreachable heart has its origins in Nigel, her violent, charismatic ex. As the darkness of Gabi’s past increasingly envelops him, Charlie resolves to win her heart, or die trying. Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Rupert Grint, James Buckley, Til Schweiger

Stoker / U.S.A. (Director: Park Chan-Wook, Screenwriter: Wentworth Miller) — After India’s father dies in an auto accident, her Uncle Charlie comes to live with her and her mother, Evelyn. Soon after his arrival, India suspects that this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives but becomes increasingly infatuated with him. Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver, Nicole Kidman

DOCUMENTARY PREMIERES

Renowned filmmakers and films about huge subjects comprise this section highlighting our ongoing commitment to documentaries. Each is a world premiere.

ANITA / U.S.A. (Director: Freida Mock) — Anita Hill, an African-American woman, charges Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas with sexual harassment in explosive Senate hearings in 1991 – bringing sexual politics into the national consciousness and fueling 20 years of international debate on the issues.

Linsanity / U.S.A. (Director: Evan Leong) — Jeremy Lin came from a humble background to make an unbelievable run in the NBA. State high school champion, all-Ivy League at Harvard, undrafted by the NBA and unwanted there: his story started long before he landed on Broadway.

When I Walk / U.S.A., Canada (Director: Jason DaSilva) — At 25, filmmaker and artist Jason DaSilva finds out he has a severe form of multiple sclerosis. This film shares his personal and grueling journey over the next seven years. Along the way, an unlikely miracle changes everything.

U.S. NARRATIVE SHORT FILMS

The Apocalypse / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Andrew Zuchero) — Four uninspired friends try to come up with a terrific idea for how to spend their Saturday afternoon.

The Cub / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Riley Stearns) — Wolves make the best parents.

Karaoke! / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Andrew F. Renzi) — On a night out in New York City, a young man tries to avoid his problems.

#PostModem / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Jillian Mayer, Lucas Leyva) — A comedic, satirical, sci-fi pop musical based on the theories of Ray Kurzweil and other futurists, #PostModem is the story of two Miami girls and how they deal with technological singularity, as told through a series of cinematic tweets.

INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE SHORT FILMS

The Companion / Peru (Director and screenwriter: Alvaro Delgado-Aparicio) — On the outskirts of Lima, a young prostitute tends to his father, a fallen-from-grace artisan. However, the young man feels that his efforts are never enough. He tries to break free, but his father’s dependence is stronger than his son’s will.

The Date / Finland (Director and screenwriter: Jenni Toivoniemi) — Tino’s manhood is put to the test in front of two women when he has to host a date for Diablo, the family’s stud cat.

DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILMS

The Battle of amfAR / U.S.A. (Directors: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, Screenwriter: Sharon Wood) — When AIDS strikes, two very different women – Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor and research scientist Dr. Mathilde Krim – join forces to create America’s first AIDS research foundation.  The fight against HIV/AIDS has never been the same.

Fall to Grace / U.S.A. (Director: Alexandra Pelosi) — Former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey famously resigned from office after declaring himself “a gay American.” Since then, he has continued to use his connections to help rehabilitate women and to make peace with his journey from married governor to gay suburban priest.

The Roper / U.S.A. (Director: Ewan McNicol) — A black man with hip-hop and zydeco roots hard grafts through the local, all-white rodeo circuits in the Deep South, as he dreams of competing in  the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

You Don’t Know Jack / U.S.A. (Director: Morgan Spurlock) — Jack Andraka, a high school sophomore, has developed a revolutionary new test for pancreatic cancer, proving the future of science is in the hands of our youth.

ANIMATED SHORT FILMS

Seraph / U.S.A. (Director: Dash Shaw, Screenwriters: John Cameron Mitchell, Dash Shaw) — A boy’s childhood scars his life.

Thank You / U.S.A. (Directors: Pendleton Ward, Tom Herpich, Screenwriters: Pendleton Ward, Tom Herpich) — A pack of fire wolves attack a snow golem in the forest and accidentally leave a cub behind after their retreat. The golem’s life is thrown into chaos as he attempts to reunite the cub with its family.

Tram / France, Czech Republic (Director and screenwriter: Michaela Pavlátová) — The humdrum daily routine of a tram conductress is jolted when the vibrations and rhythm of the road turn her on and take her on an erotic and surrealistic fantasy journey.

NEW FRONTIER SHORT FILMS

Iyeza / South Africa (Director and screenwriter: Kudzanai Chiurai) — An allegory of the Last Supper depicting the establishment of a new nation-state, Kudzanai Chiurai’s Iyeza explores the African condition by juxtaposing the past and the present of a continent in the grip of violent civil wars.

Until the Quiet Comes / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kahlil Joseph) — Shot in the Nickerson Gardens housing projects in Watts, Los Angeles, this film deals with themes of violence, camaraderie and spirituality through the lens of magical realism.

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Comments

  1. Michael Aaron
    December 6, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    QSaltLake Arts Editor Tony Hobday has done a great job of finding the queer Sundance offerings this year! (And Christian Allred and I did a great job making it purty.)

  2. Chris Hansen
    December 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    I think I may want to go to sundance for the first time. anyone interested?

  3. Jay Windley
    December 10, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    It's fun, but you have to go during the first 1-2 days. After that it's just a bunch of film nerds freezing their [reportables] off.

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