It’s that time of year again. The Sundance film festival kicks off this week and runs from Jan 16 through Jan 26 in Park City Utah. A good portion of LA’s film community will be making their way to Utah donned in down coats, scarves and Uggs ready to see the latest and greatest films and contend with this foreign thing called winter. Yes, temperatures will be below 50 degrees. For those of you staying in town, you’ll notice that traffic is lighter and coffee lines are shorter. For those of you making the journey or just wondering what may await you in theatres, at festivals or on DVD in the coming year; below is a list of the many LGBT films that will be screened at the illustrious Sundance film festival.
Love is Strange
Ira Sachs (Keep The Lights On) returns to Sundance for the fourth time with what promises to be one of the biggest gay features of the year ahead. Love Is Strange is a timely NYC marriage equality drama of longtime partners Ben and George (John Lithgow and Alfred Molina) whose marriage results in George losing his job. Co-starring Marisa Tomei and Cheyenne Jackson.
Stranger By the Lake
Winner of the Un Certain Regard Best Director Award and the Queer Palm at Cannes, Alain Guiraudie’s darkly provocative gay murder mystery co-stars Pierre Deladonchamps and Christophe Paou as two newly hooked-up lovers who become suspects in a lakeside murder at a popular gay cruising spot.
To Be Takei
His inspiring activism as a Japanese American internment camp survivor and his work for LGBT equality are just a few of the facets of George Takei. Featuring abundant archival footage from his decades in Hollywood (including his most famous role as Star Trek’s Sulu), To Be Takei illuminates the life of this cult icon and his husband Brad.
Ben Whishaw (Cloud Atlas, Bright Star) stars as a gay man trying to connect with his late partner’s non-English speaking Chinese-Cambodian mother at the old-age home where she lives. Written and directed by British gay filmmaker Hong Khaou.
With her mother transitioning from female to male and now going by the name of James, sixteen-year-old Billie moves in with her father and arranges to visit James every Tuesday for the coming year. Over the course of this time Billie also begins to explore her own identity and sexuality with her two friends. Written and directed by Sophie Hyde (Shut Up, Little Man), 52 Tuesdays stars transgender actor-activist Del Herbert-Jane as James.
Iranian-American writer-director-actress Desiree Akhavan stars in her feature film debut Appropriate Behavior, about a young Persian bisexual woman navigating hipster Brooklyn.
The Foxy Merkins
With one of the quirkiest queer sensibilities ever, the fabulous Madeleine Olnek (whose feature Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same charmed Sundance audiences in 2011) returns with her new lesbian prostitute buddy comedy, The Foxy Merkins.
The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz
Best known as a leading figure in the world of internet activism (including pioneering involvement in the creation of RSS format, Creative Commons and Reddit), Aaron Swartz was also the author of a simple but provocative 2009 blog post Why I’m Not Gay (in which he reflected on his own sexuality). Brian Knappenberg’s documentary profile looks at the life and achievements of the man whose life ended tragically in suicide.
Jamie Marks is Dead
From out gay writer-director Carter Smith (whose gay short Bugcrush wowed audiences in 2006), this dark homoerotic drama tells the tale of the lonely young ghost of Jamie Marks. As Jamie revisits his former classmate Adam and Adam’s girlfriend Gracie, the two boys develop an eerie connection.
The Skeleton Twins
Kristen Wiig stars as Maggie, and Bill Hader co-stars as her gay twin brother Milo in this tale of sibling reconnection in a small New York town written and directed by Craig Johnson.
Dear White People
This much anticipated satire from out gay writer-director Justin Simien tells the story of four black students at an Ivy League college.
Three Native American teens — including a promiscuous transsexual named Felixia (Carmen Moore) — struggle to find balance in their lives on an Indian reservation as they learn they might be the next generation of medicine people for their tribe. The debut feature from writer-director Sydney Freeland, Drunktown’s Finest is executive produced by Robert Redford.
My Prairie Home
Transgender singer/songwriter Rae Spoon is reflects on gender identity, faith and the challenges of their religious upbringing in this unconventional portrait .
The Case Against 8
This highly-anticipated documentary goes behind-the-scenes following the legal team that took California’s Prop 8 case all the way to the Supreme Court.
Lambert & Stamp
A late addition to the festival, this feature documentary profiles the legendary duo of Kit Lambert (who was gay) and Chris Stamp, the high-flying music management team who brought The Who to America and caroused like rock stars themselves.
For more information on the Sundance film festival programming and tickets click here.