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Queer Guide to Sundance 2021

The Sundance Institute announced the slate of films for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, which will largely be run through virtual screenings from January 28 through February 3.

Here is QSaltLake‘s annual guide to LGBTQ-inclusive narrative films, documentaries, and shorts that Sundance will feature with queer storylines and/or talent.

U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION

Passing
Director and Screenwriter: Rebecca Hall
Producers: Forest Whitaker, Nina Yang Bongiovi, Margot Hand, Rebecca Hall
Two African-American women who can “pass” as white choose to live on opposite sides of the color line in 1929 New York in an exploration of racial and gender identity, performance, obsession, and repression. Based on the novella by Nella Larsen.
Cast: Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, André Holland, Alexander Skarsgård, Bill Camp

Together Together
Director and Screenwriter: Nikole Beckwith
Producers: Anthony Brandonisio, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Tim Headington
When young loner Anna is hired as the surrogate for Matt, a single man in his 40s, the two strangers come to realize this unexpected relationship will quickly challenge their perceptions of connection, boundaries, and the particulars of love.
Cast: Ed Helms, Patti Harrison, Tig Notaro, Julio Torres, Anna Konkle

U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

Ailey
Director: Jamila Wignot,
Producer: Lauren DeFilippo
Alvin Ailey was a visionary artist who found salvation through dance. Told in his own words and through the creation of a dance inspired by his life, this immersive portrait follows a man who, when confronted by a world that refused to embrace him, determined to build one that would.

At the Ready
Director: Maisie Crow
Producers: Hillary Pierce, Maisie Crow, Abbie Perrault
Home to one of the region’s largest law enforcement education programs, students at Horizon High School in El Paso train to become police officers and Border Patrol agents as they discover the realities of their dream jobs may be at odds with the truths and people they hold most dear.

WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

Flee
Denmark-France-Sweden-Norway – Director: Jonas Poher Rasmussen
Producers: Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sørensen
Amin arrived as an unaccompanied minor in Denmark from Afghanistan. Today, he is a successful academic and is getting married to his long-time boyfriend. A secret he has been hiding for 20 years threatens to ruin the life he has built. 
DAY ONE

The Most Beautiful Boy in the World 
Sweden – Directors: Kristina Lindström, Kristian Petri
Producer: Stina Gardell
Swedish actor/musician Björn Andresen’s life was forever changed at the age of 15, when he played Tadzio, the object of Dirk Bogarde’s obsession in Death in Venice – a role which led Italian maestro Luchino Visconti to dub him “the world’s most beautiful boy.”

PREMIERES

My Name Is Pauli Murray 
Directors: Betsy West, Julie Cohen
Producer: Talleah Bridges McMahon
Overlooked by history, Pauli Murray was a legal trailblazer whose ideas influenced RBG’s fight for gender equality and Thurgood Marshall’s landmark civil rights arguments. Featuring never-before-seen footage and audio recordings, a portrait of Murray’s impact as a non-binary Black luminary: lawyer, activist, poet, and priest who transformed our world.
(Documentary)

MIDNIGHT

Knocking / Sweden
Director: Frida Kempff, Screenwriter: Emma Broström
Producer: Erik Andersson
When Molly moves into her new apartment after a tragic accident, a strange noise from upstairs begins to unnerve her. As its intensity grows, she confronts her neighbors – but no one seems to hear what she is hearing.
Cast: Cecilia Milocco

SPOTLIGHT

The World to Come
Director: Mona Fastvold, Screenwriters: Ron Hansen, Jim Shepard
Producers: Casey Affleck, Whitaker Lader, Pamela Koffler, David Hinojosa, Margarethe Baillou
Somewhere along the mid-nineteenth century American East Coast frontier, two neighboring couples battle hardship and isolation, witnessed by a splendid yet testing landscape, challenging them both physically and psychologically.
Cast: Katherine Waterston, Vanessa Kirby, Casey Affleck, Christopher Abbott
North American Premiere

NEXT

Ma Belle / My Beauty
U.S.-France – Director and Screenwriter: Marion Hill
Producers: Ben Matheny, Kelsey Scult, Marion Hill
A surprise reunion in southern France reignites passions and jealousies between two women who were formerly polyamorous lovers.
Cast: Idella Johnson, Hannah Pepper, Lucien Guignard, Sivan Noam Shimon

We’re All Going to the World’s Fair
Director and Screenwriter: Jane Schoenbrun
Producers: Sarah Winshall, Carlos Zozaya
A teenage girl becomes immersed in an online role-playing game.
Cast: Anna Cobb, Michael J. Rogers

INDIE SERIES PROGRAM

4 Feet High
Argentina-France – Directors: María Belén Poncio, Rosario Perazolo Masjoan Executive Producers: Ezequiel Lenardón, Marie Blondiaux
Juana, a 17-year-old wheelchair user, aims to explore her sexuality but is ashamed of her body. Trying to find her place in a new high school, she will go through failure, friendship, fear, and politics until she builds her own pride.
Cast: Marisol Agostina Irigoyen, Florencia Licera, Marcio Ramses, Natalia Di Cienzo, Francisca Spinotti

SHORTS

This is the Way We Rise
An exploration into the creative process, following native Hawaiian slam poet Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, as her art is reinvigorated by her calling to protect sacred sites atop Maunakea, Hawaii.

Unliveable
In Brazil, where a trans person is murdered every three days, Marilene searches for her daughter, Roberta, a trans woman who is missing. Running out of time, she discovers one hope for the future.

The full 2021 Sundance Film Festival catalog is HERE

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