HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY, the new film from writer/director Stephen Cone (The Wise Kids), focuses on a young boy coming to terms with his sexuality during his emotionally charged birthday party. Marking his feature film debut, Cole Doman plays Henry; Henry is turning 17, and Henry might be gay. But he’s not telling his pastor father (Pat Healy, Cheap Thrills, Compliance)—not during his pool party, where school and church collide in a sunny, hormonal afternoon.
The film will open in New York at the IFP’s Made in NY Media Center on January 8th, before expanding to additional markets and VOD platforms.
HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY spans the 24 hours containing the birthday pool party of 17-year-old preacher’s kid Henry Gamble (Cole Doman).
The night before the party, Henry and his friend Gabe (Joe Keery), have a sleepover. Typical teenage boy chat quickly turns sexual, and it’s silently implied that Henry, on a search for identity, has a crush on Gabe.
As dawn arrives on the day of the party, Henry’s mom Kat (Elizabeth Laidlaw) wakes in a state of limbo, middle-aged, with a secret. A little while later, Pastor Bob (Pat Healy) is making breakfast, and they are joined by Henry’s 19-year-old sister Autumn (Nina Ganet), home from college for the party. Later that afternoon, guests begin to arrive – the assistant pastor, youth minister, husbands and wives; sons and daughters trapped between youth and adulthood, as well as Henry’s own teenaged church and “secular” friends, including the closeted young Logan (Daniel Kyri), who has eyes for Henry.
As day turns to night and clothes come off, Henry & Co. carefully navigate the religious strictures and sexual secrets held within the community, all struggling to tread the public and private, and their longing, despite themselves and their faith, for earthly love.