February 28, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Lights, Camera, Equality: Sundance Film Festival 2024 Unveils Diverse LGBTQ Lineup

Park City, Utah Welcomes a Spectrum of Stories as Sundance Begins with a Bang

It is once again time for the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The festival officially begins today, and for 2024, it has a full complement of LGBTQ films on tap. Now, some of the world premieres like director Rose Glass’ Love Lies Bleeding, starring Kristen Stewart, Katy O’Brian, Ed Harris, Dave Franco, Jena Malone, Anna Baryshnikov, and non-binary director Jane Schoenbrun’s (We’re All Going to the World’s Fair) newest film I Saw the TV Glow will only be screened in person at the Festival, many of these films and shorts will be online, along with many other films that are part of the Sundance lineup this year. 

You can go to the Sundance Film Festival website to purchase tickets for the online Festival screenings or to take a long look at what the Festival has to offer. Sundance is one of the most prestigious festivals in the world, and it’s only a short hop from Los Angeles. The films aren’t the only advantages to attending; there are Q&As with the filmmakers and actors, organizations like GLAAD and The ACLU will be attending, musical performances, panel discussions, and, oh, the parties. It’s one of the best reasons to go to Utah. 

U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION 

Ponyboi / U.S.A. (Director: Esteban Arango, Screenwriter: River Gallo, Producers: Mark Ankner, River Gallo, Adel “Future” Nur, Trevor Wall) — Unfolding over the course of Valentine’s Day in New Jersey, a young intersex sex worker must run from the mob after a drug deal goes sideways, forcing him to confront his past. Cast: River Gallo, Dylan O’Brien, Victoria Pedretti, Murray Bartlett, Indya Moore. World Premiere. Available online for Public. 

In The Summers / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Alessandra Lacorazza, Producers: Alexander Dinelaris, Rob Quadrino, Fernando Rodriguez-Vila, Lynette Coll, Sergio Lira, Cristóbal Güell) — On a journey that spans the formative years of their lives, two sisters navigate their loving but volatile father during their yearly summer visits to his home in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Cast: René Pérez Joglar, Sasha Calle, Lío Mehiel, Leslie Grace, Emma Ramos, Sharlene Cruz. World Premiere. Available online for Public. 

Stress Positions / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Theda Hammel, Producers: Brad Becker-Parton, John Early, Stephanie Roush, Allie Jane Compton, Greg Nobile) — Terry Goon is keeping strict quarantine in his ex-husband’s Brooklyn brownstone while caring for his nephew — a 19-year-old model from Morocco named Bahlul — bedridden in a full leg cast after an electric scooter accident. Unfortunately for Terry, everyone in his life wants to meet the model. Cast: John Early, Qaher Harhash, Theda Hammel, Amy Zimmer, Faheem Ali, John Roberts. World Premiere. Available online for Public. 

U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION 

Frida Kahlo appears in FRIDA by Carla Gutiérrez, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Lucienne Bloch.

FRIDA / U.S.A., Mexico (Director: Carla Gutiérrez, Producers: Katia Maguire, Sara Bernstein, Justin Wilkes, Loren Hammonds, Alexandra Johnes) — An intimately raw and magical journey through the life, mind, and heart of iconic artist Frida Kahlo. Told through her own words for the very first time — drawn from her diary, revealing letters, essays, and print interviews — and brought vividly to life by lyrical animation inspired by her unforgettable artwork. World Premiere. Available online for Public. 

Love Machina / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Peter Sillen, Producer: Brendan Doyle) — Futurists Martine and Bina Rothblatt commission an advanced humanoid AI named Bina48 to transfer Bina’s consciousness from a human to a robot in an attempt to continue their once-in-a-galaxy love affair for the rest of time. World Premiere. Available online for Public. 

WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION 

Layla / U.K. (Director and Screenwriter: Amrou Al-Kadhi, Producer: Savannah James-Bayly) — When Layla, a struggling Arab drag queen, falls in love for the first time, they lose and find themself in a transformative relationship that tests who they really are. Cast: Bilal Hasna, Louis Greatorex, Safiyya Ingar, Darkwah, Terique Jarrett, Sarah Agha. World Premiere. Available online for Public. 

Sebastian / U.K., Finland, Belgium (Director and Screenwriter: Mikko Mäkelä, Producer: James Watson) — Max, a 25-year-old aspiring writer living in London, begins a double life as a sex worker in order to research his debut novel. Cast: Ruaridh Mollica, Hiftu Quasem, Ingvar Sigurdsson, Jonathan Hyde, Leanne Best, Lara Rossi. World Premiere. Available online for Public. 

NEXT 

Desire Lines / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Jules Rosskam, Screenwriter: Nate Gualtieri, Producers: André Pérez, Amy E. Powell, Brittani Ward) — Past and present collide when an Iranian American

trans man time-travels through an LGBTQ+ archive on a dizzying and erotic quest to unravel his own sexual desires. Cast: Theo Germaine, Aden Hakimi. World Premiere. Documentary. Available online for Public. 

PREMIERES 

My Old Ass / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Megan Park, Producers: Tom Ackerley, Margot Robbie, Josey McNamara, Steven Rales) — The summer before college, bright-yet-irreverent Elliott comes face-to-face with her older self during a mushroom trip. The encounter spurs a funny and heartfelt journey of self-discovery and first love as Elliott prepares to leave her childhood home. Cast: Maisy Stella, Percy Hynes White, Maddie Ziegler, Kerrice Brooks, Aubrey Plaza. World Premiere. Fiction. 

Sue Bird: In The Clutch / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Sarah Dowland, Producers: Emily Singer Chapman, Svetlana Zill) — In her 21-year professional career, WNBA basketball legend Sue Bird has won five Olympic gold medals and become the most successful point guard to ever play the game. Alongside her fiancée, U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe, Sue confronts her next challenge: retiring from the only life she’s ever known. World Premiere. Documentary. 

Will & Harper / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Josh Greenbaum, Producers: Rafael Marmor, Will Ferrell, Jessica Elbaum, Christopher Leggett) — When Will Ferrell finds out his close friend of 30 years is coming out as a trans woman, the two decide to embark on a cross-country road trip to process this new stage of their relationship in an intimate portrait of friendship, transition, and America. World Premiere. Documentary. 

MIDNIGHT 

Justice Smith and Brigette Lundy-Paine appear in I Saw the TV Glow by Jane Schoenbrun, an official selection of the World Dramatic Competition at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

I Saw the TV Glow / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Jane Schoenbrun, Producers: Emma Stone, Dave McCary, Ali Herting, Sam Intili, Sarah Winshall) — Teenager Owen is just trying to make it through life in the suburbs when his classmate introduces him to a mysterious late-night TV show — a vision of a supernatural world beneath their own. In the pale glow of the television, Owen’s view of reality begins to crack. Cast: Justice Smith, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Ian Foreman, Helena Howard, Fred Durst, Danielle Deadwyler. World Premiere. Fiction. 

Love Lies Bleeding / U.S.A., U.K. (Director and Screenwriter: Rose Glass, Producers: Andrea Cornwell, Oliver Kassman — Reclusive gym manager Lou falls hard for Jackie, an ambitious bodybuilder headed through town to Las Vegas in pursuit of her dream. But their love ignites violence, pulling them deep into the web of Lou’s criminal family. Cast: Kristen Stewart, Katy O’Brian, Ed Harris, Dave Franco, Jena Malone, Anna Baryshnikov. World Premiere. Fiction. 

EPISODIC 

Better Angels: The Gospel According To Tammy Faye / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Dana Adam Shapiro, Executive Producers: Elton John, David Furnish, Danny Gabai, Alexander Moore, Hellen Rollins, Peter Rollins, Screenwriter: Helen Rollins) — As told by her family, friends, and enemies, the meteoric rise, scandalous fall, and unlikely resurrection of Tammy Faye, the “First Lady of the Electric Church,” poses an increasingly relevant question: How did we get the story so wrong? World Premiere. Documentary. Four-part limited series, screening parts one and two. 

La Mesías / Spain (Directors, Screenwriters, and Executive Producers: Javier Calvo, Javier Ambrossi, Executive Producers: Domingo Corral, Susana Herreras, Fran Araújo) — Siblings Enric and Irene have a dark childhood, unbearable memories, and a toxic relationship with their mother. They live outside their family sect and are now far from the reach of their mother, yet not completely free. Cast: Roger Casamajor, Macarena García, Lofla Dueñas, Carmen Machi, Ana Rujas, Albert Pla, Amaia, Biel Rossell, Cecilia Roth. International Premiere. Fiction. 

SHORTS

U.S. FICTION SHORT FILMS 

BUST / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Angalis Field, Screenwriters: Angalis Field, Eliza Barry Callahan, Producer: Drake Burnette) — A trans cop with the New York City Police Department goes undercover to make a drug bust. Cast: Lux Pascal, Nicky DeMarie. World Premiere. Available online for Public. 

Didn’t Think I’d See You Here / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Dylan Guerra, Producers: Yaron Lotan, Laura Dupper) — Rory thinks there’s a ghost haunting his shower and decides to investigate its origin. But when he goes to a party and meets a romantic interest, his spectral mystery begins to unravel. Cast: Yaron Lotan, Holly Settoon, Marquis Rodriguez, Jose Useche. Available online for Public. 

Grace / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Natalie Jasmine Harris, Producers: Samiyah Wardlaw, Julia Kennelly, Latavia Young, Morgan B. Powell) — Sixteen-year-old Grace prepares for her baptism in the rural 1950s South. When she learns she must repent before the ritual, she begins to question the budding romantic feelings she has toward her best friend, Louise. Cast: Jordan Rayanna Wells, Alexis Cofield, Mikayla LaShae Bartholomew, C L Simpson, JeVon Blackwell. World Premiere. Available online for Public. 

INTERNATIONAL FICTION SHORT FILMS 

Bold Eagle / Philippines (Director and Screenwriter: Whammy Alcazaren, Producer: Alemberg Ang) — Trapped at home with hallucinogenic drugs and his talking cat, an “alter” anonymously performs lascivious acts on the Internet, seeking refuge in the strong arms of strange men, hoping to masturbate his way to true happiness. Cast: Brian, Monty, Gio Gahol, Ricky Davao.

NONFICTION SHORT FILMS 

ALOK / U.S.A. (Director: Alex Hedison) — A compelling portrait of Alok Vaid-Menon, acclaimed nonbinary author, poet, comedian, and public speaker. Executive-produced by Jodie Foster. World Premiere. Available online for Public. Merman / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Sterling Hampton IV, Producer: Monica Lawless) — A 58-year-old Black Queer man speaks the truth about his life as an emergency nurse, a leather enthusiast, husband, and civil rights advocate. Available online for Public.

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