Jenni Olson

The Queer Guide to Sundance Film Festival 2012

Filed By Jenni Olson | January 12, 2012 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Media
Tags: Keep the Lights On, LGBT Film, Park City, Queer Film, Slamdance, Sundance Film Festival, The Invisible War

Once again, movie lovers and industry insiders will be gathering in Park City, Utah this month for the annual independent film orgy known as the Sundance Film Festival (January 19-29) with additional action unspooling at the longstanding alternative event known as Slamdance (January 20-26).

The LGBT offerings for 2012 look to be slimmer than in years past but here's a sneak peek at some of the titles debuting in Park City that you'll be wanting to keep an eye out for at your local LGBT film festival this year. Caveat: I have not actually seen any of these films except one (My Best Day which I heartily recommend).

At Sundance:

KeepTheLightsOn.jpgFrom out gay writer-director Ira Sachs (The Delta, Forty Shades of Blue) comes the autobiographical romantic drama, Keep The Lights On. Set in the late '90s against a New York City backdrop this is the lone gay feature in the highly competitive U.S. Dramatic Competition.

The U.S. Documentary Competition hosts the premiere of two exciting new films: Love Free or Die, a portrait of openly gay bishop Gene Robinson and How To Survive a Plague, an overview of ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group) that promises to be a heartrending and inspiring testament to the heroic activists of the era. Kirby Dick's latest film, The Invisible War also includes one lesbian interviewee as it investigates the problem of rape within the U.S. military.

The World Dramatic competition showcases the British coming-of-age drama, My Brother The Devil as well as Young & Wild, a Chilean feature about a bisexual teenage girl in Santiago.

Much more after the break.

MyBestDay.jpgA pair of lesbian features premiere in the NEXT section: from Aurora Guerrero the highly-anticipated Los Angeles Latina lesbian love story, Mosquita y Mari and from Erin Greenwell (Big Dreams in Little Hope) a terrifically quirky and cinematic ensemble comedy-drama, My Best Day which stars the wonderful Ashlie Atkinson as a lesbian janitor who spends the 4th of July helping her straight girl friend find her long lost father.

In the New Frontier section actor-director Terence Nance presents his feature, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty which explores his desire for a woman he has just met but is described by the Sundance press office as being of LGBT interest.

The Documentary Premieres section includes an exciting new project from portrait photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. About Face explores the lives and careers of such super models as Cheryl Tiegs, Jerry Hall, Christie Brinkley and Marisa Berenson as it looks back at the fashion world of the 80s.

In the Premieres section look out for Elijah Wood's gay character in Celeste and Jesse Forever as well as Justin Long playing gay in For A Good Time, Call (by gay filmmaker Jamie Travis). Lastly, in the festival's Spotlight section Your Sister's Sister features a lead lesbian character played by Rosemary DeWitt.

Titles of interest in the Shorts category (according to the helpful folks at the Sundance press office) include: Dol (First Birthday), Fourplay: Tampa, The Thing and The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom.


Kelly.jpgLooks like there are only two films of interest this year at Slamdance. James Stenson's Kelly, a documentary portrait of a troubled and struggling rural transgender teen in Los Angeles. And the provocative German drama, Heavy Girls (Dicke Maedchen) about a man who lives with his elderly mother and becomes involved with his mother's male caregiver.

There are always lots of panels, discussions and other programming for festival attendees in Park City. As they have for the past several years, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) will be doing several days of programming around the opening weekend of the festival -- including panel discussions and a filmmaker lounge. Here are links to details about three exciting panels: Funding through Social Media,
Keep the Lights On,
Love Free or Die. Be sure to visit for additional panels and events.

Also check in on the Outfest Facebook page to see if and when the annual Outfest Queer Brunch is announced (details were not available at press time). And that's the sneak peek at Park City for 2012!

In the crowd sourcing spirit: Please post in the comments field below if you hear of additional LGBT-interest films or have other info to share.

(Cross-posted on and

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