The 2017 Damn These Heels Film Festival taking place July 14 to 16, 2017 in Utah at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, revealed the first round of films selected for the festival. The festival features independent, documentary, and foreign films from around the world that explore LGBTQ issues, ideas, and art.
The Festival will open with Behind the Curtain: Todrick Hall by director Katherine Fairfax Wright. The film follows Todrick Hall as he launches his most ambitious project yet: the full-scale original musical, Straight Outta Oz.
Patrick Hubley, Director of Programming for the Utah Film Center said, “Through Damn These Heels screenings and events we hope to continue to foster the spirit of inclusion, unity, and tenacity in the Utah community. These films from all over the world show that now more than ever we need to celebrate our shared humanity no matter our race or sexual orientation. These stories need to be told and we cannot wait to kick off our 14th year with such a thought-provoking program.”
The first round of films selected to screen in the 2017 Damn These Heels Festival are:
Behind the Curtain: Todrick Hall / USA (Director: Katherine Fairfax Wright)
Todrick Hall launches his most ambitious project yet: the full-scale original musical, Straight Outta Oz. From a small town in Texas to big-time show business, comes an inspiring documentary of grit, perseverance and the redemptive power of art. We watch him struggle to write songs about growing up gay and black in small-town Texas, his difficult relationship with his mom, and the harsh realities of trying to make it in show business. With limited time and budget the odds are against him, but Todrick’s passion and his team of talented performers overcome all obstacles to bring this story to the world. Utah Premiere
Official Selection: 2017 SXSW Film Festival, 2017 Outfest
*Opening Night Film
**Director Katherine Fairfax Wright will attend the festival for a guided discussion.
Free Cece / USA (Director: Jacqueline Gares) – CeCe McDonald survived a brutal attack, only to be incarcerated for defending her life. After an international movement to free her, CeCe emerged as a leader to interrogate the prison industrial complex and inspire women to fight back when attacked. Utah Premiere
Cast: CeCe McDonald, Laverne Cox
Audience Award Winner: Feature Documentary – 2016 Blackstar Film Festival
I Dream In Another Language / Mexico/Netherlands (Director: Ernesto Contreras) – A young linguist travels to the jungle of Mexico to research a language on the verge of disappearing. Once there, he discoverers its last two speakers clashed 50 years ago, and have refused to speak to each other since. Attempting to reunite them, the researcher discovers a secret past—and a forbidden gay love story.
Cast: Fernando Álvarez Rebeil, Eligio Meléndez, Manuel Poncelis, Fátima Molina, Juan Pablo De Santiago, Hoze Meléndez
Winner: Audience Award World Cinema (Dramatic) – 2017 Sundance Film Festival
Political Animals / USA (Director: John Markowitz, Tracy Wares) – A rousing documentary charting the unstoppable force of four lesbian legislators in California who’ve been fighting for LGBT rights and recognition for decades. Utah Premiere
Cast: Carole Migden, Sheila Kuehl, Jackie Goldberg, Christine Kehoe
Winner: Audience Award – 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival, Provincetown International Film Festival and 8 other awards.
Pushing Dead / USA (Director: Tom E. Brown) – When a struggling writer, HIV-positive for 20+ years, accidentally deposits a $100 birthday check, he is dropped from his health plan for earning too much. In this new era of sort-of universal care, can he take on a helpless bureaucracy or come up with $3000 a month to buy his meds on his own? Utah Premiere
Cast: James Roday, Robin Weigert, Danny Glover, Khandi Alexander, Tom Riley
Winner: Audience Award – Frameline 40; 2016 Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival; 2017 Ashland Independent Film Festival; 2016 Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival
Signature Move / USA (Director: Jennifer Reeder ) – A hilarious and heartfelt look at modern families and the complexities of love in its many forms. Utah Premiere
Cast: Fawzia Mirza, Shabana Azmi, Sari Sanchez, Audrey Francis, Charin Alvarez
Official Selection: 2017 SXSW Film Festival
The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin / USA (Director: Jennifer M. Kroot) – Celebrates one of the world’s most beloved storytellers, following his evolution from a conservative son of the Old South into a gay rights pioneer whose novels inspired millions to reclaim their lives.
Audience Award Winner: Documentary Spotlight – 2017 SXSW Film Festival; Jury Award: Best Documentary – 2017 OUTSHINE Film Festival