National Anthem by Luke Gilford official trailer and release date
National Anthem (screenshot)

After premiering at last year’s SXSW Festival and gaining critical acclaim, Luke Gilford’s directorial debut ‘National Anthem’ is finally approaching its theatrical release. ‘National Anthem’, which was inspired by Gilford’s monograph titled ‘National Anthem: America’s Queer Rodeo’, tells the story of a young man in rural New Mexico joining a community of queer ranchers and rodeo performers.

Starring the film are Charlie Plummer, Eve Lindley, Rene Rosado, Mason Alexander Park and Robyn Lively. ‘National Anthem’ was screened at several film festivals, including 2023 SXSW Festival, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival, and the 32nd Raindance Film Festival.

Release Date

Directed by Luke Gilford, ‘National Anthem’ opens in select cities on Friday, July 12 and expand wide on Friday, July 19.


Dylan (Charlie Plummer), a soft-spoken 21-year-old construction worker, is the de facto father figure to his little brother and works odd jobs to help the family get by. After he finds himself with the opportunity to work at a ranch, he is welcomed by a vibrant community of rodeo performers who openly explore their identities and sexuality. He is especially drawn to Sky (Eve Lindley), a force of nature who Dylan connects with deeply, as he begins to forge his own identity.

Writer/Director Luke Gilford, making his feature film directorial debut, sets his moving and exhilarating cinematic reinvention of the coming-of-age story against stunning Western landscapes to boldly reimagine a hopeful exploration of first love, found family and self-discovery that is both timely and timeless.

“It was a huge goal of mine to craft a story that didn’t just immediately fall into cliches. So at every turn, as soon as you start to feel like you’re expecting something —an alcoholic mother, a kid in danger, or a three-way relationship— I wanted to move against what we’ve seen before. That was really important to create something that wasn’t just leaning on those cliches but authentically representing these spaces, which do exist.”, says director Luke Gilford about the film in an Interview Magazine interview.


Brian Telliro of praised the film calling it one of the best film of 2023 SXSW Festival, describing it as, “a tender and moving piece about how it often takes other people to help us find ourselves. Gilford has a strong eye—he captures the wide-open spaces of this beautiful country with a blend of awe and grace—but it’s his work with performers and characters that announces a major talent. There’s so much open emotion and honest beauty in this film that keeps walking up to the edge of clichés before taking a left turn into something genuine.”.

Tim Grierson in a ScreenDaily review, wrote, “Beyond its touching love story, National Anthem shares with Gilford’s monograph a striking directness in its presentation of the queer rodeo community. The film feels delicately radical… This is not the Old West but, rather, a new, more inclusive community that is to be celebrated.”

Official Trailer

Watch the official trailer for ‘National Anthem’.

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