Behind the Curtain: Todrick Hall100 mins USALanguage: English
Todrick Hall launches his most ambitious project yet: the full-scale original musical Straight Outta Oz. From a small town in Texas to big-time show business, comes an inspiring documentary of grit, perseverance and the redemptive power of art.
Described as "if Willy Wonka and Pee-wee Herman had a black child," Todrick Hall is a YouTube celebrity, recording artist, songwriter, Broadway actor, "Drag Race" judge, and much, much more. But right now he has only four weeks to write, record, choreograph, film, stage, and design his upcoming "Straight Outta Oz" album and tour. Inspired by Beyonce's "Lemonade" and spurred by not getting a hard-fought role as the Scarecrow on NBC's "The Wiz Live!", Hall imagines "Straight Outta Oz" as a confluence of L. Frank Baum's oversized universe, Hall's story of growing up as a gay black male in Arlington, Texas, with a Christian mother, and a rousing piece of activism. As every set piece, costume, bit of choreography, and note is painstakingly created, Hall and his wide-reaching team pull 16-hour days to create "something epic, but for less than epic price." Behind the Curtain—as open-hearted and frantic as documentaries get—mixes this behind-the-scenes tour with a look back at Hall's own career and an examination of LGBTQ culture in the wake of the Pulse shooting, a nightclub near and dear to Hall's heart. The result is an inspiring film about grit, perseverance, and the redemptive power of art.Director: Katherine Fairfax WrightCast: Todrick Hall, Brittanie Brant, Christopher Caldwell , Chester Lockhart & more
Black Divaz follows the inaugural Miss First Nation pageant where six Aboriginal drag queens from around Australia battle it out over five days for the coveted crown. This film that goes beyond the glitz, glue guns and glamour of black drag to reveal a fun, fabulous and sometimes fearful place especially if you are an Indigenous man in a country where identity is constantly examined. – “And you thought PRISCILLA was the only Queen in the Desert!”
Over 5 steamy days 6 contestants will battle it out in fierce lip synching battles, photo shoots with crocodiles and challenges that will see each contestant stretch more than just their wardrobe choices. What does it take to be crowned the winner? We follow each contestant as they talk candidly about what brought them to this glittering stage – their triumphs and tragedies and what being Miss First Nation means for them and their communities.
Director: Adrian Russell WillsCast: Crystal Love, Adriana Andrews, Daniel Cunningham & more
A dramatic comedy following a Korean-American performance artist who struggles to be authentically heard and seen through her multiple identities in modern Los Angeles.
White Rabbit stands out as intersectional feminist gold in today’s political climate, where we are encouraged to identify and point out social inequalities.
Sophia (Vivian Bang) is a struggling Korean-American performance artist whose work, which she describes to her mother as “not art that people can buy,” explores racial tensions in Los Angeles. She posts videos and performs in pop-up shows for no particular audience, while simultaneously juggling her paying job as a TaskRabbit. A series of chance encounters brings Sophia and photographer Victoria (Nana Ghana) together, and the quick arc of their friendship culminates into what Sophia believes could be more.
Daryl Wein (Breaking Upwards, Lola Versus) invites us to experience what moved him so deeply upon first discovering Bang and her performance art: we are confronted with the harshness of institutional racism and our gut responses to such injustice.Director: Daryl WeinCast: Vivian Bang, Nico Evers-Swindell, Nana Ghana & more
Fire Song232 mins Turtle IslandLanguage: EnglishAuthor/Creator
Adam Garnet Jones
Adam Garnet Jones (Ka-nîpawit Iskotêk) is a Cree filmmaker and writer who grew up in Edmonton and the B.C. interior. Adam’s mother died when he was just four months old, leaving him and his sister often in the care of an abusive guardian. Adam was a scared, lonely kid who learned to protect himself by shutting himself off from the world and making himself as small and as quiet as possible. Books and films were his only escape from a childhood marked by secret sadness and abuse.
Since Adam began writing and making films as a teenager, most of his work can be seen as a gradual unveiling of the private self that he spent his childhood trying to hide. Much of Adam’s work deals with stories focused around sexuality, abuse, suicide, depression, and Indigenous cultural identity. Soon after Adam began making films, he started to help other youth share their own stories. It was through this sharing that he learned just how frequent the experiences of isolation, hopelessness, and despair are for LGBT and Two-Spirited people.
The story for Fire Song (Spring 2018) was inspired by Adam’s own experiences as a teenager, by the experiences of the brave, resilient LGBT and Two-Spirited young people he has come to know, and by those who have been lost. Adam lives in Toronto.
Shane is still reeling from the suicide of his kid sister, Destiny. How could he have missed the fact that she was so sad? He tries to share his grief with his girlfriend, Tara, but she’s too concerned with her own needs to offer him much comfort. What he really wants is to be able to turn to the one person on the rez whom he loves—his friend, David.
Things go from bad to worse as Shane’s dream of going to university is shattered and his grieving mother withdraws from the world. Worst of all, he and David have to hide their relationship from everyone. Shane feels that his only chance of a better life is moving to Toronto, but David refuses to join him. When yet another tragedy strikes, the two boys have to make difficult choices about their future together.
With deep insight into the life of Indigenous people on the reserve, this book masterfully portrays how a community looks to the past for guidance and comfort while fearing a future of poverty and shame. Shane’s rocky road to finding himself takes many twists and turns, but ultimately ends with him on a path that doesn’t always offer easy answers, but one that leaves the reader optimistic about his fate.Director: Adam Garnet Jones
Under the Udala Trees336 mins USALanguage: EnglishAuthor/Creator
Chinelo Okparanta was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and relocated to the United States at the age of ten. She received her BS from The Pennsylvania State University, her MA from Rutgers University, and her MFA from the University of Iowa. She was one of Granta's six New Voices for 2012 and her stories have appeared in Granta, The New Yorker, Tin House, Subtropics, and elsewhere.
Inspired by Nigeria's folktales and its war, Under the Udala Trees is a deeply searching, powerful debut about the dangers of living and loving openly.
Ijeoma comes of age as her nation does. Born before independence, she is eleven when civil war breaks out in the young republic of Nigeria. Sent away to safety, she meets another displaced child and they, star-crossed, fall in love. They are from different ethnic communities. They are also both girls. But when their love is discovered, Ijeoma learns that she will have to hide this part of herself-and there is a cost to living inside a lie.
Okparanta's Under the Udala Trees uses one woman's lifetime to examine the ways in which Nigerians continue to struggle toward selfhood. Even as their nation contends with and recovers from the effects of war and division, Nigerian lives are also wrecked and lost from taboo and prejudice. This story offers a glimmer of hope — a future where a woman might just be able to shape her life around truth and love.Director: Chinelo Okparanta
Let's Talk About Love288 mins USALanguage: EnglishAuthor/Creator
Claire Kann hails from the glorious Bay Area where the weather is regrettably not nearly as temperate as it used to be. She has a BA in English/creative writing from Sonoma State University, and works for a nonprofit that you may have heard of where she daydreams like she's paid to do it. Let's Talk About Love is her debut novel.
Alice had her whole summer planned. Non-stop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting--working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she's asexual). Alice is done with dating--no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.
But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).
When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn, and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.Director: Claire Kann