With the 2023 Tribeca Festival opening tonight in New York, running until June 18th, we take a look at some of the LGBTQ+ highlights in this year’s exciting lineup of narrative, documentary, and animated feature films and shorts. The fact the festival lands in the city during Pride Month is not lost on Faridah Gbadamosi, a Senior Programmer at Tribeca leading LGBTQ+ programming, who has delivered a diverse selection of films, along with a live podcast recording celebrating the 25th anniversary of Will & Grace, a free Drag Queen Storytelling Hour With Banned Books, and a Conversation Series in collaboration with GLAAD featuring panels on Producing with an Eye Towards the Future and Transforming Queer Narratives. Your deep dive into this year’s queer Tribeca starts here.
Feature | Germany | 102 Minutes | German | English Subtitles
Leon and Felix travel to a summer home near the Baltic Sea hoping to dive into creative pursuits, but an unexpected guest disrupts their plans. As the sky turns orange from a nearby forest fire, it’s clear that trees aren’t the only thing burning. Directed and written by Christian Petzold. Produced by Florian Koerner von Gustorf, Michael Weber, Anton Kaiser. With Thomas Schubert, Paula Beer, Langston Uibel. A Sideshow and Janus Films Release.
Feature | United States | 83 Minutes | English
For a group of friends in the Northeast, a weekend getaway at a snowy resort sounds like just what the doctor ordered. An opportunity to reconnect, relax, and recuperate among serene, snow-capped mountains and trees. But peace doesn’t last long as the ghosts of guests past and relationships long buried come to light. Soon enough, their trip transforms into a psychological tailspin and bloody nightmare, as both long-deceased guests and the space itself come to life, and the group turn on each other in a race to stay alive. Directed and written by Stewart Thorndike. Produced by Lizzie Shapiro, Lexi Tannenholtz. With Gayle Rankin, Hari Nef, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Rad Pereira, Jared Abrahamson, Molly Ringwald. Coming to Shudder (US, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand) and AMC+ (US, CA, ANZ) on August 18th, 2023.
Feature | Dominican Republic | 97 Minutes | English, Spanish | English Subtitles
A lively coming-of-age drama, Boca Chica follows twelve-year-old Desi in her pursuit of becoming a famous singer. As Desi braces to leave her hometown, she’s met with deep-seated secrets that have long tormented her family and their coastal Dominican community. Directed by Gabriella A. Moses, written by Marité Ugás, Mariana Rondón. Produced by Sterlyn Ramirez. With Scarlet Camilo, Jean Cruz, Lia Chapman, Xiomara Rodriguez.
BREAKING THE NEWS
Feature | United States | 99 Minutes | English
Breaking the News follows the determined efforts of women and nonbinary journalists launching a news “startup” to foreground voices omitted from mainstream news. Filmmakers Hernandez, Courtney, and Hairston provide a deep look into bias and inclusion in the ever-shifting media landscape. Directed by Chelsea Hernandez, Heather Courtney, Princess A. Hairston. Produced by Diane Quon, Heather Courtney, Princess A. Hairston, Chelsea Hernandez.
BREAK THE GAME
Feature | United States | 80 Minutes | English
Record-breaking gamer Narcissa Wright grapples with her toxic obsession for attention and her space in the streaming community after coming out as transgender, all while attempting to set a new world record for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Directed and produced by Jane M. Wagner.
CHASING CHASING AMY
Feature | United States | 95 Minutes | English | English Subtitles
A filmmaker goes on a journey of self-discovery while making a documentary on the development and creation of Kevin Smith’s controversial LGBTQ+ film, Chasing Amy. Directed by Sav Rodgers. Produced by Alex Schmider, Carrie Radigan, Lela Meadow-Conner, Matthew Mills, Sav Rodgers.
Feature | United States | 92 Minutes | English
Three intersex people challenge a heteronormative system of secrecy and non-consensual surgery. Every Body is Oscar-nominated documentarian Julie Cohen’s impassioned battle cry for the rights and dignity of intersex children and adults in the United States. Directed by Julie Cohen. Produced by Tommy Nguyen, Molly O’Brien. A Focus Features release.
HAPPY CLOTHES: A FILM ABOUT PATRICIA FIELD
Feature | United States | 100 Minutes | English
With idiosyncratic style and an eye toward the future of fashion, Patricia Field has always been shaping culture. Happy Clothes: A Film About Patricia Field brings us into the mind of the one-of-a-kind visionary and queer icon. Directed by Michael Selditch. Produced by Donald Zuckerman, Samuel J. Paul, Michael Selditch, Lydia Tenaglia, Christopher Collins, Luisa Law, Tricia Weber Youssi, Ryan Price, Lori Zuckerman.
Feature | France | 95 Minutes | English, French | English Subtitles
Marinette tells the story of pioneering French female soccer star Marinette Pichon. Filmmaker Virginie Verrier’s biopic traces the athlete’s battle to earn her homeland’s respect after achieving success in the United States. Directed and written by Virginie Verrier. Produced by Virginie Verrier. With Garance Mariller, Emilie Dequenne, Alban Lenoir, Fred Testot, Sylvie Testud.
Feature | United States | 104 Minutes | English
Fed up with the state of his relationship, Gabriel files for divorce from his partner of thirteen years, Nicky. Thus begins their complex journey to find themselves and support their son along the way. Directed by Bill Oliver, written by Peter Nickowitz, Bill Oliver. Produced by Fernando Loureiro, Eric Binns, Guilherme Coelho, Jennifer 8. Lee, Christopher Lin. With Billy Porter, Luke Evans, Robin Weigert, Andrew Rannells, Isaac Powell, Phylicia Rashad.
Feature | United States | 100 Minutes | English | English Subtitles
Teenager Jonny gains supernatural abilities through a mystical transformation, just as girls from her new school go missing. Jonny takes the investigation into her own hands in this coming-of-age, feminist horror-noir. Directed and written by Jennifer Reeder. Produced by Derek Bishé, Gregory Chambet. With Kiah McKirnan, Alicia Silverstone, Christopher Lowell, Melanie Liburd, Ireon Roach. A Shudder release.
Feature | United States | 72 Minutes | English, German | English Subtitles
Haunting, whimsical, and exquisitely realized, Playland pays tribute to a long-lost Boston gay bar and the beautiful queer souls who gave it life. Directed and written by Georden West. Produced by Russell Sheaffer, Hannah McSwiggen, Danielle Cooper.
IT’S ONLY LIFE AFTER ALL
Feature | United States | 123 Minutes
A revealing exploration of the beloved duo The Indigo Girls — from their serendipitous meeting at Emory University to their worldwide acclaim — It’s Only Life After All beautifully demonstrates how the musical pair has always remained authentic to their roots as artists, activists, and friends. Directed by Alexandria Bombach. Produced by Kathlyn Horan, Jess Devaney, Anya Rous, Alexandria Bombach.
ROCK HUDSON: ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWED
Feature | UK | 105 Minutes | English
This timely exploration of Hollywood and LGBTQ+ identity examines the life of legendary actor Rock Hudson, from his public “ladies’ man” persona to his private life as a gay man. Directed by Stephen Kijak. Produced by Will Clarke, George Chignell, Carolyne Jurriaans, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter. An HBO Documentary Films release.
Feature | United States | 92 Minutes | English
A biting satire following the romantic journeys of its trio of protagonists, led by an appealingly misanthropic Justin H. Min, Shortcomings is a charming, witty and hilarious directorial debut from Randall Park. Directed by Randall Park, written by Adrian Tomine. Produced by Hieu Ho, Randall Park, Michael Golamco, Margot Hand, Jennifer Berman, Howard Cohen, Eric d’Arbeloff. With Justin H. Min, Sherry Cola, Ally Maki, Debby Ryan, Tavi Gevinson, Sonoya Mizuno, Jacob Batalon, Timothy Simons. A Sony Pictures Classics Release.
Feature | Netherlands, UK | 102 Minutes | English
23-year-old Franky has spent most of her life seeking justice for the fire that left her with both physical and emotional scars as a child. When Franky falls in love with Florence, it seems her wounds have begun to heal, but the past finds a way of coming back to her. Directed and written by Sacha Polak. Produced by Marleen Slot, Mike Elliott. With Vicky Knight, Esmé Creed-Miles, Charlotte Knight, Archie Brigden, Angela Bruce.
TAYLOR MAC’S 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC
Feature | United States | 106 Minutes
This riotous concert film documents New York theater legend Taylor Mac’s joyous, challenging, and ostentatiously queer 24-hour musical performance. Featuring virtuoso musicians, innovative costumes, and the American myth as told by sailor’s ditties, disco, and sugary pop alike, Mac’s cathartic celebration is not to be missed. Directed by Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman. Produced by Joel Stillerman, Linda Brumbach, Alisa Regas, Taylor Mac, Mari Rivera. An HBO Documentary Films Release.
Feature | United States | 89 Minutes | Dari, English, Farsi | English Subtitles
Transition follows Australian filmmaker Jordan Bryon as he undergoes transition while embedded with Taliban forces. Directed by Jordan Bryon, Monica Villamizar. Produced by Monica Villamizar.
YOUR FAT FRIEND
Feature | United States, UK | 96 Minutes | English
Popular anonymous blogger Aubrey Gordon spent five years writing about the realities of living as a self-described “very fat person.” Now, she is about to face the public for the very first time. Directed and produced by Jeanie Finlay.
Short | Bolivia | 9 Minutes | Spanish | English Subtitles
A young Bolivian shoe shiner uses his imagination to escape a harsh, everyday reality. Directed and written by Alex Plumb.
Short | Canada | 17 Minutes | French | English Subtitles
At night, Victor walks without supervision to live his life.
Short | United States | 17 Minutes | English
Believing himself to be one of the last survivors left in the wake of extinction, an ex-war soldier finds unexpected comfort with the arrival of a weary traveler, forcing him to reckon with his long avoided sexuality. Directed and written by Leaf Lieber.
United States | 31 Minutes | English
Driven tells the story of Teddy Fischer (Rebecca Henderson), an Uber driver and failed novelist who is living in her brother’s laundry room. While contemplating suicide, Teddy gets a ride request from Yari Alvarez (Krissy Lemon), an overly confident, deaf yodeler, who insists that Teddy drive her to her parents’ (Liza Colón, Gary Perez) McMansion to defend her as a fellow artist.
Short | United States | 5 Minutes | English
A young dominatrix encounters an unexpected client. Directed by Matt Campanella and Stephanie Chloé Hepner. Written by Matt Campanella.
Short | Mexico, United States | 8 Minutes | Spanish | English Subtitles
A mystical sci-fi based on Saint Teresa de Avila’s writings. Inside a ghostly mausoleum, these nuns are being affected by a black hole. Directed and written by Carolina Costa.
A FOX IN THE NIGHT
Short | UK | 12 Minutes | English
A South London story in which opposites attract, appearances deceive and bravery reaps rewards. Directed and written by Keeran Anwar Blessie. Read our review ★★★★ of A Fox In The Night.
FREE FROM DESIRE
United States, France | 28 Minutes
A South London story in which opposites attract, appearances deceive and bravery reaps rewards.
GOODBYE VOLCANO HIGH
Canada, United States | 30 Minutes | English | English Subtitles
Just Fang’s luck: they finally figure out what they want out of life, and now the world’s about to explode. In this story-driven, choice-based cinematic adventure game about personal growth, acceptance, and the power of community, what will you do at the end of an era? Goodbye Volcano High is a cinematic adventure game, a coming-of-age rhythm game, a hand-animated interactive cartoon, and a choice-based, narrative-driven, interactive movie experience.
Short | Switzerland | 16 Minutes | German, Swiss-German | English Subtitles
Long-time friends Vanja, Alex, Liz and Evie go on a camping trip together. Something is in the air between the women. It is the abortion that Vanja just had. Directed by Michèle Flury. Written by Michèle Flury and Martha Benedict.
I HATE PEOPLE, PEOPLE HATE ME
Short | Canada | 27 Minutes | English
Perpetually disturbed by the world around them, two twenty-somethings navigate their lives as underdogs in Toronto’s queer community. Directed by Blake Mawson.
Short | United States | 10 Minutes | English
Perpetually disturbed by the world around them, two twenty-somethings navigate their lives as underdogs in Toronto’s queer community. Directed and written by Hillia Aho.
Short | United States | 13 Minutes | English
A young alcoholic woman agrees to attend an AA meeting with her partner. When she unexpectedly runs into her estranged mother, she’s forced to confront demons from her past. Directed by Erica Rose.
Short | UK | 20 Minutes | English | English Subtitles
After surviving a near fatal cougar attack while cycling, Izzy Sederbaum overcame anxiety and anti-trans hate by rediscovering the joy of biking and promoting diversity and inclusion in the sport. Directed by Abel Rubinstein.
Short | United States | 17 Minutes | English
After surviving a near fatal cougar attack while cycling, Izzy Sederbaum overcame anxiety and anti-trans hate by rediscovering the joy of biking and promoting diversity and inclusion in the sport. Directed by Alex Bush.
THE RIGHT TO JOY
Short | United States | 20 Minutes | English
After surviving a near fatal cougar attack while cycling, Izzy Sederbaum overcame anxiety and anti-trans hate by rediscovering the joy of biking and promoting diversity and inclusion in the sport. Directed by Tim Kressin, Jay Melena.
JUST JACK & WILL: LIVE PODCAST RECORDING (WILL & GRACE 25TH ANNIVERSARY EVENT)
Screening and live taping. On the 25th anniversary of Will & Grace, the beloved NYC-based sitcom, Sean Hayes and Eric McCormack are back for Just Jack and Will, a new rewatch podcast from SmartLess Media. This live Tribeca Festival event will feature a screening of an episode of Will & Grace, followed by a rewatch conversation with Sean Hayes, Eric McCormack, and a special guest.
LUNARCODE: THE LIGHT (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)
Music Video | United States | 3 Minutes | English
A powerful music video by award winning rock band Lunarcode. Directed by Vincenzo Carubia.
SHORTS: INNER PEACE
Short Film Program | 92 Minutes
Take some space to find peace as Tribeca celebrates Pride, with a program comprising the following shorts: A Fox In The Night, In Passing, HEARTBEAT, Thaw, Nuit Blonde, and Mars.
DRAG QUEEN STORYTELLING HOUR WITH BANNED BOOKS
In collaboration with Drag Story Hour NYC, this event would be a free, family-friendly event where well-known drag queens would host a story time with different banned books for children. More books are being banned in the US by the year, disconnecting children with stories that embrace diversity and inclusion. This event is a way to create empathy, both through reading and for the readers. In the words of Levar Burton, “Read the books they don’t want you to. That’s where the good stuff is.” Location: VEC 7, June 11th, 11:30 am. Free with ticket.
TRANSFORMING QUEER NARRATIVES
Join panelists Alok Vaid-Menon, Vuk LK, and Alexander Stegmaier as they delve into the importance of representation in spaces where spotlights have been dimmed and explore the gravity of handling stories with authenticity and care when highlighting historically marginalized and vulnerable communities. The filmmakers and creators will discuss the obstacles and lived experiences of their time in film and creation. Tuesday, June 13, 1pm – AT&T Untold Stories Lounge.
For more on Tribeca Festival’s LGBTQ+ lineup, dates and times, head to TribecaFilm.com/LGBTQ. Tickets are available at TribecaFilm.com. Tribeca Festival runs June 7th-18th, 2023. Descriptions courtesy of Tribeca Festival.