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Queer Appeal | The Best LGBT Films From Sundance 2015

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So, we’re now well-and-truly into the new year, heavily into award season, and the start of the film festival circuits around the world. This year’s festival had a lot to offer the LGBT moviegoer.

The star-studded week-long festival screened almost 120 films. Among the genres that were presented, the LGBT category seemed to grow in strength from the previous year. From documentaries on Larry Kramer and Tig Notaro, to an ex-gay drama starring James Franco and Zachary Quinto to a Lily Tomlin playing her first leading role in a film in 27 years.

Below are some titles that have queer appeal, so we suggest you keep a lookout for them throughout the year.

Grandma

2015 is the year of Lily Tomlin. With a new Netflix TV show with Jane Fonda and awarded by the Kennedy Centre, she is back. Grandma, is a great story. Self-described misanthrope Elle Reid (Lily Tomlin) has her protective bubble burst when her 18-year-old granddaughter, Sage, shows up needing help. The two of them go on a daylong journey that causes Elle to come to terms with her past and Sage to confront her future.

Sundance-2015-01

Cast: Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Judy Greer, Laverne Cox, Sam Elliott.
Director and screenwriter: Paul Weitz

The Summer of Sangaile

Seventeen-year-old Sangaile is fascinated by stunt planes. She meets a girl her age at the summer aeronautical show, near her parents’ lakeside villa. Sangaile allows Auste to discover her most intimate secret and in the process finds in her teenage love the only person who truly encourages her to fly. Cast: Julija Steponaitytė, Aistė Diržiūtė.

Sundance-2015-02

Director and screenwriter: Alanté Kavaïté

Girlhood

Oppressed by her family, dead-end school prospects, and the boys’ law in the neighborhood, Marieme starts a new life after meeting a group of free-spirited girls. She changes her name and dress, and quits school to be accepted in the gang, hoping to find a way to freedom.

Cast: Karidja Touré, Assa Sylla, Lindsay Karamoh, Mariétou Touré, Idrissa Diabaté, Simina Soumaré.
Director and screenwriter: Céline Sciamma

The Amina Profile

During the Arab revolution, a love story between two women — a Canadian and a Syrian-American — turns into an international sociopolitical thriller spotlighting media excesses and the thin line between truth and falsehood on the Internet.

Director: Sophie Deraspe

Beaver Trilogy Part IV

A chance meeting in a parking lot in 1979 between filmmaker Trent Harris and a young man from Beaver, Utah, inspired the creation of an underground film that is now known as Beaver Trilogy. But the film itself is only part of the story.

Director: Brad Besser

I Am Michael

The controversial true story of a gay activist who rejects his homosexuality and becomes a Christian pastor.

Sundance-2015-03

Director: Justin Kelly
Cast: James Franco, Zachary Quinto, Emma Roberts.
Screenwriters: Justin Kelly, Stacey Miller

It’s Me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise

This portrait of Hilary Knight, the artist behind the iconic Eloise books, sees him reflecting on his life as an illustrator and his relationship to his most successful work. The film also premieres March 23 on HBO.

Sundance-2015-04

Director: Matt Wolf

Larry Kramer in Love and Anger

Author, activist, and playwright Larry Kramer is one of the most important and controversial figures in contemporary gay America, a political firebrand who gave voice to the outrage and grief that inspired gay men and lesbians to fight for their lives. At 78, this complicated man still commands our attention.

Sundance-2015-05

Director: Jean Carlomusto

The Mask You Live In

Is there a “boy crisis” in America? Is our male population suffering due to our emphasis on power, dominance, and aggression? The Mask You Live In explores how our narrow definition of masculinity is harming our boys, men, and society at large and unveils what we can do about it.

Director: Jennifer Siebel Newsom

Dope

Malcolm is carefully surviving life in a tough neighborhood in Los Angeles while juggling college applications, academic interviews, and the SAT. A chance invitation to an underground party leads him into an adventure that could allow him to go from being a geek to being dope to ultimately being himself.

Cast: Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons, Blake Anderson, Zoë Kravitz, A$AP Rocky.
Director and screenwriter: Rick Famuyiwa

Nasty Baby

A gay couple try to have a baby with the help of their best friend, Polly. The trio navigate the idea of creating life while confronted by unexpected harassment from a neighborhood man called The Bishop. As their clashes grow increasingly aggressive, odds are someone is getting hurt.

Sundance-2015-06

Cast: Sebastian Silva, Tunde Adebimpe, Kristin Wiig, Reg E. Cathey, Mark Margolis, Denis O’Hare.
Director and screenwriter: Sebastian Silva

The Royal Road

This cinematic essay, a defense of remembering, offers up a primer on the Spanish colonization of California and the Mexican-American War alongside intimate reflections on nostalgia, butch identity and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo — all against a contemplative backdrop of 16mm urban California landscapes.

Cast: Jenni Olson, Tony Kushner.
Director and screenwriter: Jenni Olson

Tig

This documentary explores comedian Tig Notaro’s extraordinary journey as her life unfolds in grand and unexpected ways, all while she is battling a life-threatening illness and falling in love.

Sundance-2015-07

Directors: Kristina Goolsby, Ashley York
Screenwriter: Jennifer Arnold

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