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Raising Zoey

Essential Opinion: Raising Zoey

Zoey, her mother Ofelia and her sister Leticia are the subjects of the 2016 documentary Raising Zoey — which not only takes us through Zoey’s physical and emotional transition into that happy self, but also covers how Zoey and her mother became reluctant and unexpected activists for the ongoing Trans Rights Movement.

Tab Hunter Confidential

Essential Opinion: Tab Hunter Confidential

Directed by Jeffrey Schwarz, Tab Hunter Confidential is a 2015 documentary about the life and career of the titular former actor, matinee idol and heartthrob who was also a closeted homosexual in 1950s Hollywood. The documentary features Tab Hunter, Clint Eastwood and Debbie Reynolds.

El Canto de Colibri

Film Review: El Canto de Colibri at Outfest

El Canto de Colibri is a study in love and acceptance that should be used at every PFLAG meeting, religious conference, parenting class and political campaign. And though the documentary is in Spanish with English subtitles and subjects of varying Latino descent, every ethnic group can draw something from this documentary whether as a parent, a child, a politician, a clergyman, a sociologist or otherwise.

Madonna Truth Or Dare

Gay Essential Documentaries To Watch, Madonna: Truth or Dare (In Bed with Madonna)

Madonna: Truth Or Dare, later retitled In Bed with Madonna Outside of North America, is a self-portrait documentary of the Queen of Pop’s 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour directed by Alek Keshishian. The film features the personal lives of the cast of gay dancers who are part of the tour’s entourage.

Holler If You Hear Me: Black and Gay in the Church

Film Review: Holler If You Hear Me: Black and Gay in the Church at Outfest

Holler If You Hear Me: Black and Gay in the Church premiered on BET’s digital platform in late 2015 and was screened at the White House in early 2016. It received such a rousing response at Outfest’s Fusion LGBT People of Color Film Festival in March of 2016 that Outfest organizers included it in the lineup for their main event a few months later.

Upstairs Inferno

Essential Opinion: Upstairs Inferno

Narrated with personality by famed New Orleanian and New York Times best-selling author Christopher Rice, Upstairs Inferno isn’t just compelling viewing for its journalistic competence and historical value but most importantly it’s essential viewing for its social value, showcasing how far we’ve come and still have yet to come and eventually proving that somewhere out there it’s always possible to find loving, compassionate people that will see past our differences.

Strike a Pose

Film Review: Strike a Pose at Outfest

Though Madonna and Truth or Dare factor greatly into Strike a Pose, the film strikes a perfect balance between not becoming more about Madonna (who only appears in archival footage) than the dancers and not shying away from discussions about her and her effect on their lives then and to this very day.

Southwest of Salem

Film Review: Southwest of Salem at Outfest

Deborah S. Esquenazi’s documentary, Southwest of Salem, is a riveting true-life crime drama. Much like the witch trials of 1692, this is a crime story where the only crime committed was in the court of public opinion, leaving four innocent Texas women to pay for transgressions they never committed.


Gay Essential Documentaries To Watch, Chemsex

A powerful, eye-opening documentary about a growing reality in the underbelly of London’s gay scene, Chemsex explores the secret lives of gay men sucked into the vicious spiral of sex with heavy drugs, a life-destroying addiction. Interviewing a number of subjects confessional-style, the film exposes the bleak reality they’ve fallen into and follows the attempts of a caring NHS health worker who’s committed to help them.

Real Boy

Film Review: Real Boy at BFI Flare

There is no doubt that at the age of 22, Ben – short for Bennett – is a Real Boy, but try convincing his family of that and this story about a trans man and how, like most of us trans folk, will find acceptance, love and understanding with our chosen families rather than the family that the God who hates us assigned us to.

Tongues Untied

Gay Essential Documentaries To Watch, Tongues Untied

Tongues Untied is a documentary released in 1989 directed by Marlon Riggs. This unconventionally made documentary is a contribution to the body of films depicting issues in the LBGT community in the US. The film features interviews and personal testimonials from Marlon Riggs, Michael Bell, Kerrigan Black, and poetry recitals from Essex Hemphill.

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