Mad Hot Ballroom meets Paris is Burning? Or is it RuPaul’s Drag Race meets Dancing with the Stars? Whatever your reference, the award-winning and crowd-pleasing documentary Hot to Trot offers a deep-dive look inside the fascinating but little-known world of same-sex competitive ballroom dance.
Gail Freedman’s lively, poignant film follows an international cast of four magnetic men and women over several years, on and off the dance floor, as they journey to the quadrennial Gay Games. Along the way, dancing is revealed to be both a means of overcoming personal hardships—from drug addiction to familial rifts—and a joyous opportunity to merge passionate artistic expression with proud sexual identity.
The Sunday Sessions (First Run Features) offers an intimate portrait of a deeply conflicted young man named Nathan, who is struggling to reconcile his religious conviction and sexual identity.
In this observational documentary, the filmmakers are given unfettered access as Nathan willingly attends clandestine conversion therapy sessions, family sessions,and weekend camps with an alluring therapist. The result is a sensitively crafted emotional and psychological thriller, which chronicles two years of his journey from acceptance to skepticism, all leading to a profound epiphany.
Let us share director Richard Yeagley’s statement about the documentary
“The filming and production of this documentary proved time and time again to be an emotionally taxing process. I knew from the outset that access was going to be the most important element to producing this story. I didn’t want to make a film that was a presentation of facts (something that relied on talking head interviews and an authoritative voice-over narration); I wanted to tell a personal story of an individual’s journey through this therapy.
Instead of an exposé or advocacy-based documentary, I preferred to tackle the story with an observational, fly-on-the-wall approach. I wanted access to the therapy sessions and to the personal life of the protagonist. In order to garner such access, I knew I had to strip myself, as best I could, of bias and approach the film as objectively and curiously as possible.
With all this said, biting my tongue was difficult at times. In many situations, and specifically when things started to get emotionally dark for Nathan, I just wanted to give him a hug and tell him that everything was going to be alright. I wanted to recommend that he move out of rural Virginia, and into a city like New York or Washington D.C., where there is more diversity and a bigger support system for the LGBTQ community. But as a documentary filmmaker employing the observational technique, this was not my role. So I remained observant, and strictly so, in hopes that it would result in the creation of a powerful, thought-provoking film.”
We remember Antonio Lopez from the ’70s and ’80s . . . somewhere in our archives is a poster for one of his exhibitions, boldly signed and safely ready for eBay one day.
But not before we check out Antonio Lopez: Sex Fashion & Disco (Film Movement)from filmmaker James Crump. The film is a vibrant time capsule of the decadent world of ’70s haute couture as viewed through the eyes of Lopez, the dominant fashion illustrator of the era whose distinctive drawings graced the pages of Vogue and Elle. In his obituary, The New York Times called Lopez a “major fashion illustrator.”
- Rare archival footage
- Bill Cunningham interview excerpts
- Bonus Short Film — You Can’t Do Everything at Once, But You Can Leave Everything at Once (Directed by Marie-Elsa Sgualdo | Switzerland | 15 minutes) A mesmerizing and fantastic tale of a young woman’s life constructed from a variety of archival footage.
Possum, coming to DVD on February 12 from Dark Sky Films, tells the terrifying tale of Philip (brilliantly played by Sean Harris), a disgraced children’s puppeteer, returning to his dilapidated childhood home and lecherous stepfather, Maurice (portrayed by Alun Armstrong). Philip is intent on destroying “Possum,”a hideously malformed spider-puppet he carries with him in a brown leather case. Unfortunately, and horrifically, Possum refuses to be abandoned.