Arts News

Damn These Heels queer film festival returns in July

Utah Film Center announced the 18th annual Damn These Heels Queer Film Festival will be run virtually and at drive-in screenings July 9 through 18.

The annual festival explores LGBTQ+ issues, ideas, and art through fiction and non-fiction films from around the world.

Organizers say DTH is the longest-running LGBTQ film festival in the Mountain West. It has presented more than 268 films over the years. It remains a community-focused, grassroots, locally-produced festival with strong community partnerships.

Ash Hoyle, who also works at Sundance Film Festival, has been chosen as director of programming. He will guide a programming committee of people who represent the LGBTQ+ spectrum to select a cutting-edge program reflecting authentic art, stories, and experiences. Hoyle will remain an integral member of the programming team at the Sundance Film Festival, working as an Associate Shorts Programmer and supporting director of programming Kim Yutani. He also is a Project Involve 2021 programming fellow at Film Independent. He has extensive experience with a wide variety of film organizations including Outfest LA, NewFest NY, Sun Valley Film Festival, Overlook Film Festival, and AFI Fest, and worked in production at ABC, Mssng Peces, and The Annoyance Theater. Ash is originally from Philadelphia and holds a dual degree in Film and English from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

“I have long admired the important and unique impact of Damn These Heels. During my time living in Salt Lake City as a young trans person, the films that I experienced at Damn These Heels were truly a lifeline, a celebration, and a connector to the larger community. I could not be more proud to be stepping into this role and am privileged to be able to bring forward a vision for our program that highlights equity, inclusion, and excellence,” Hoyle said.

Patrick Hubley, executive director for Utah Film Center, said, “Ash has been an integral member of our programming committee for the past two festivals and we are excited that he has taken on this expanded role. Damn These Heels is a time to celebrate and recognize our local LGBTQIA+ community through cinema. Though times have changed since the festival started 18 years ago, the importance of representation on screen has not been diminished. I’m eagerly anticipating this year’s line-up under Ash’s leadership, which I’m sure will appeal to film lovers of all stripes.”

Building off of last year’s unconventional yet uplifting festival, Utah Film Center will continue to provide a dynamic selection of short and feature films, filmmaker Q&A’s and opportunities for group conversations.

Passes for Damn These Heels will go on sale May 24 here and the films and schedule will be announced in mid June.

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