Utah Film Center announced today a drive-in movie experience, 4 late addition feature films, and 4 short film programs for the 17th annual Damn These Heels Queer Film Festival, set to run virtually July 10-19, 2020 at DamnTheseHeels.org.
Tickets and passes are on sale now at DamnTheseHeels.org. For those who are not able to pay for a ticket to the online screenings for any reason, Utah Film Center is offering free vouchers to ensure there are no barriers to experiencing the Festival.
The annual festival explores LGBTQ issues, ideas, and art through showcasing fiction and nonfiction films from around the world. Damn These Heels remains a community focused, grassroots, locally-produced festival with strong community partnerships. While no formalwear is required for “attending” the virtual events, heels are encouraged to feel the festival vibe at home.
2020 Damn These Heels Drive-In:
Join fellow Damn These Heels audiences for a night under the stars Saturday, July 11 at 9:30 PM MST at Utah State Fairpark. A throwback film from 1968 combined with the nostalgia of a drive-in makes for a perfect celebration of queer history. Tickets are available now for the drive-in event.
The Queen (USA) | Directed by Frank Simon
More than 40 years before RuPaul’s Drag Race, this groundbreaking documentary about the 1967 Miss All-American Camp Beauty Pageant introduced audiences to the world of competitive drag. The film takes us backstage to kiki with the contestants as they rehearse, throw shade, and transform into their drag personas in the lead-up to the big event. Organized by LGBTQ icon and activist Flawless Sabrina, the competition boasted a star-studded panel of judges including Andy Warhol, Larry Rivers, and Terry Southern. But perhaps most memorable is an epic diatribe calling out the pageant’s bias delivered by Crystal LaBeija, who would go on to form the influential House of LaBeija, heavily featured in Paris Is Burning (1990). A vibrant piece of queer history, The Queen can now be seen in full resplendence thanks to a new restoration from the original camera negative.
2020 Damn These Heels Late Addition Feature Films:
Anne+ (The Netherlands) | Directed by Valerie Bisscheroux
A twenty-something lesbian university graduate navigates life and love in Amsterdam.
The Archivettes (USA) | Directed by Megan Rossman
The Archivettes is a documentary film that explores how Lesbian Herstory Archives came together to combat lesbian invisibility and create “a place that says yes.”
Welcome to Chechnya (USA) | Directed by David France
Welcome to Chechnya is a powerful and eye-opening documentary about a group of activists risking their lives to confront the ongoing anti-LGBTQ persecution in the repressive and closed Russian republic of Chechnya.
Making Sweet Tea (USA) | Directed by John L. Jackson, Jr. & Nora Gross
Making Sweet Tea chronicles the journey of southern-born, black gay researcher and performer, E. Patrick Johnson, as he reconnects with the six black gay men he interviewed for the book, Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South-An Oral History.
2020 Damn These Heels Short Film Programs:
Damn These Heels will present 4 short film programs celebrating and highlighting queer stories from a wide variety of perspectives. Individual titles will be announced in the coming days on DamnTheseHeels.org.
BIPOC Centered Shorts
This film program is a tribute to the amazing stories and histories of the Black, indigenous, and people of color in our communities. These films are also sprinkled throughout the rest of the shorts programs as well. We wanted to highlight the lives of our BIPOC protagonists and subjects, because their lives don’t only matter, but they are beautiful, unique, and inspiring to us all. These stories represent some of the underrepresented groups in traditional media that deserve to have the spotlight for a change.
These docushorts are the best of the best from this year’s queer short film submissions. Whether focusing on individual people or showing the differing perspectives of a group, these films open up windows to stories of a vast spectrum of queer culture. They both inform and inspire connection and acceptance of people from all walks of life. Whether it’s the quiet contemplation of preparing for your day, or a survey of the queer experience at the ubiquitous and cringey high school prom, these films show us documentary excellence is alive and well.
This year’s drama shorts program highlights valuable and interesting stories of queer characters from all over the rainbow. These shorts will take you on a journey into the character’s world and humanize their experiences to those around them. Some will leave you questioning your own reality and others will give you a concise perspective of the experiences of people beyond the traditional spectrum.
Shorts to Bedazzle and Perplex
This colorful, experimental, and artistic program will make you want to dance and sing at the top of your lungs. There are beautiful stories from animations to live-action that show the power and energy of creative risks, especially when those risks pay off. Get ready for a wild ride from start to finish, these films will likely stick in your mind, challenge you, or take you somewhere you’ve never been before.
2020 Damn These Heels Feature Films (previously announced):
Breaking Fast (USA) | Directed by Mike Mosallam
Mo, a practicing Muslim living in West Hollywood, is learning to navigate life post heartbreak. Enter Kal, an All-American guy who surprises Mo by offering to break fast with him during the holy month of Ramadan. As they learn more about each other, they fall in love over what they have in common and what they don’t.
Dog Valley (USA) | Directed by Dave Lindsay
In 1988, two ex-convicts kidnapped, beat, raped, tortured and murdered Gordon Church, a gay college student from a rural Mormon community in southern Utah. Dog Valley explores the horrific events of his death, the lives and minds of his killers, and how it has helped shape modern hate crimes legislation in Utah.
Ema (Chile) | Directed by Pablo Larraín
A couple deals with the aftermath of an adoption that goes awry as their household falls apart.
Holy Trinity (USA) | Directed by Molly Hewitt
When Trinity, an independent, sex-positive Dominatrix in Chicago, discovers a newfound (and drug-induced) talent for speaking to the dead, she consults a colorful series of spiritual advisers as she learns to harness her strange ability in surprising ways.
Note: Holy Trinity will be screening once during the Festival, on July 18 at 7:00 pm MST.
Jules of Light and Dark (USA) | Directed by Daniel Laabs
A young woman develops a bond with the man who rescued her from a car accident.
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Outfest.
Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story (USA) | Directed by Posy Dixon
After his 1986 album Keyboard Fantasies is rediscovered, a Black trans musician recounts his life, from the lonely 1960s to the joy of witnessing the present.
One Taxi Ride (Mexico / Singapore) | Directed by Mak CK
One Taxi Ride is an observational documentary that tells the intimate story of a male rape survivor. Erick’s innermost thoughts, fears, struggles and triumphs weave a dramatic tale of a man fighting for a future and a life worth living. His journey impacts the world around him in a way that he never saw coming.
Pier Kids: The Life (USA) | Directed by Elegance Bratton
Pier Kids: The Life follows the director over the course of three years as he films three gay and transgender youth of color who have become, like the director once was, homeless on the same street the Gay Rights Movement began so long ago.
The Prince (Chile) | Directed by Sebastián Muñoz
A ’70s-set homoerotic prison drama based on a low-circulated pulp novel, tracking the sexual, often-violent and eventually murderous experiences of 20-something narcissist Jaime.
Queen of Lapa (Brazil) | Directed by Theodore Collatos, Carolina Monnerat
Larger-than-life actress, cabaret performer, activist, and proud sex professional since the age of eleven, Luana Muniz – arguably one of Brazil’s most recognizable transgender personalities, shapes a new reality for a new generation of transgender sex workers in her hostel by providing a safe working environment in the dangerous neighborhood of Lapa in Rio de Janeiro. Queen of Lapa explores the day-to-day lives, quests for love, housemate rivalries in a turbulent political climate under matriarch Muniz’s watchful and guiding eye.
Queer Japan (Japan) | Directed by Graham Kolbeins
Trailblazing artists, activists, and everyday people from across the spectrum of gender and sexuality defy social norms and dare to shine in this kaleidoscopic view of LGBTQ+ culture in contemporary Japan.
Same-Sex Attracted (USA, Brazil, Mexico) | Directed by Maddy Purves and Zoie Young
Same-Sex Attracted follows a handful of LGBT & SSA students over the course of an academic year at LDS-owned Brigham Young University as they live and grow at “the Lord’s University.” These incredible individuals experience not only the regular day-to-day of being college kids, but also the unique trials that come with being LGBT at a Mormon school, grappling with questions of faith, sexuality, gender, family, love, and life. Combined, the students’ stories paint an elaborate picture of what is going on in the trenches of the “Mormon and Gay” conversation.
Song Lang (Vietnam) | Directed by Leon Le
An unlikely bond forms between an underground debt collector and a cai luong “Vietnamese opera” performer against the backdrop of Saigon in the 90s.
The Surrogate (USA) | Directed by Jeremy Hersh
Jess is thrilled to be the surrogate for her best friend and his husband, but when a prenatal test comes back positive, it creates a moral dilemma that threatens their friendship.
Thirst (Iceland) | Directed by Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson and Gaukur Úlfarsson
The drug addict Hulda is arrested and accused of murdering her brother. After she is let go because of insufficient evidence, she meets Hjörtur, a thousand-year-old gay vampire.
Transkids (Israel) | Directed by Hilla Medalia
Transkids follows four Israeli teenagers who go through transition in a militaristic society in which teenagers go to the army right after high-school, and religion plays a very strong role in people’s identity and is not separated from the state.
Unsound (Australia) | Directed by Ian Watson
Falling in love is the easy part. A disillusioned musician’s romantic spark is ignited by a young trans man as they work together to save his community nightclub for the deaf.
Variações – Guardian Angel (Portugal) | Directed by João Maia
A biopic about António Variações, a famous Portuguese pop rock singer from the 80s who died from AIDS-related complications in 1984.
Press Images can be found here: http://utahfilmcenter.org/damntheseheels/press
About Damn These Heels: The longest running LGBTQ Film Festival in the Mountain West, Damn These Heels has presented more than 248 thought-provoking and entertaining films over the years. This popular festival has been fully embraced and supported by the Salt Lake City community because of its unique and cutting-edge programming. With festivals like Damn These Heels and other year-round screening programs, Utah Film Center continues to provide access to voices and stories that would otherwise be inaccessible for Utah audiences.
Damn These Heels 2020 is honored to have the support of the Dancing Llama Foundation, Terence K. Stephens Charitable Fund, and the B. W. Bastian Foundation. This year, the festival is also made possible with special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
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