Sundance: Still in Utah, Still Totally Gay

Despite threats of boycotts and a grim financial future for independent film, Sundance kicked off last night in Park City, Utah, continuing its tradition of being the place that high-art cineastes peddle their wares to mainstream distributors. This year includes an especially strong roster of LGBT-interest films, including, this year’s gay-for-Oscar Jim Carey vehicle, I Love You Phillip Morris. What are the gay films premiering in Utah that you’ll want to see– and in one instance, that you can see right now? Let’s find out.

I Love You Philip Morris
One of the most anticipated films of Sundance, I Love You Phillip Morris is the true-life prison gay prison romance story of Steven Jay Russell (Jim Carey), nicknamed “King Con” and “Houdini” for his many successful escapes from prison. Russell is a regular Joe who discovers he’s gay — at the same time he discovers he has a penchant for being a con-artist. Then, after being tossed into jail, he falls in love with his cellmate, Phillip Morris, played in the film by perpetual penis-flasher Ewan McGregor.

La Mission
Peter Bratt’s father-son tale set in the Latino San Francisco district of La Mission, La Mission begins as the story of Che (Benjamin Bratt) teaching his son Jesse how to make it as a street-smart Barrio boy, but takes a queer right turn when he discovers his son is gay. Che rejects his son and cuts off all ties, but the heart of the story focuses on how a man who’s life is defined by machismo must find a place for his son.

One Day in a Life (Un altro pianeta)

Director Stefano Tummolini’s film starts off as a day at a gay beach in Italy, but moves Rashoman-like through the lives and drama’s of each of the beachgoers, all seen through the lens of Salvatore, played by Antonio Merone. Lots of human contact and speedo’s amid the existential questioning.

Push: Based on the novel by Sapphire

Lee Daniels film about an overweight, illiterate and sexually abused teenager whose life is turned around when a lesbian teacher takes her under her wing. The cast features, Gabourey Sidibe, Paula Patton, Mo’Nique, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz

575 Castro St.

Jenni Olson’s short film makes use of the empty set of Harvey Milk’s camera shop in Gus Van Sant’s Milk and sets her images to the original recording made by Harvey Milk that was meant to be played in the event of his assassination.

A Mate

This Finnish short is about a straight guy so curious about the idea of gay sex (because he can’t imagine how it’s done) that he asks his friend to help him figure the whole thing out with some hands-on experimentation— and then his wife comes home.


A short Irish-film about a young man who is questioning his sexuality while seeking out the friendship of his literate schoolteacher. However, when he does come out to the teacher, things don’t go as planned.

Apple is offering James and nine other short films from the Sundance Film Festival for free via iTunes, through January 25th.

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  • mark

    Sundance isn’t the only film festival, find one which doesn’t FEED THE LDS hate machine. I’m disappointed in GLAAD hosting the Queer Lounge, they won’t get contributions from me again.By GLAAD being there it gives cover to celebs and sponsors, by giving Sundance a phoney “gay seal of approval.”
    NEXT election the LDS attacks queer families with another State’s initiative…. REMEMBER where GLAAD was this year.

  • Jon B

    We really need to stop blaming mormons for our failings. Okay, so even if you buy into the argument that they are our rivals, where were our donations? where were our call banks? where were our supporters in the black and latino communities? Oh, that’s right… we were in WeHo and the Castro. Maybe next time we’ll be more vigilent in protecting our rights, but to blame it on another group is just silly at this point.

  • L

    Boycotting an entire state is stupid. Maybe all gays & lesbians in Utah should cease all economic activity… and what?
    hitch up the mule team and head for the state line? come to your place and sleep on the couch?

  • Wolf

    Jon B and L

    That is EXACTLY the attitude as why we never get anywhere.

    Should we blame the whole state of Utah? NO. Should be NOT patronize and spend Gay Money in Mormon Run or Mormnon Owned establishments. YES.

    And like it or not. As Liberal as Park City Utah is Mormons are DEEPLY enbedded in it and Sundance is NOT ONLY running its Headquarters out of a Marriott of which a CEO of the Operating Company Donated 20K to the Yes on 8 but they are still showing movies at Cinemark Theatres (Altough they have made alternate “screening rooms” available.

    We have every RIGHT to Blame the Mormons and if you don;t I’m sorrry but you are as much of a problem as they are. They have fought every aspect of Gay Rights always, they have been planning the fight on Gay Marriage for Decades. ALL Practicing Mormons ARE REQUIRED TO GIVE 10 PERCENT OF THEIR INCOME TO THE LDS. So every Gay Dollar spent in a Mormon establishment or give to a Mormon by a GLBT person 10 percent of that goes to the Church to help FIGHT AGAINST US.

    And Yes. Maybe all Gays and Lesbians in UT should head for the state line. Why they would want to stay in a place infested with such bigotry and hate is beyond me. But it is thier choice to stay there and thats up to them. But me myself. I will NEVER spend money willingly at any business associated with the Mormon Religion and I will certainly not be so cavelier about it as you two are.

  • Martha

    I have zero interest in pathetic Sundance and the cowards of GLAAD who continue on pumping tourism/hotel revenue into the hands of Mormon-controlled Utah.

    I love how one of the films mentioned that we should be “grateful” features a lesbian character also stars Sherri Shepard of The View. This is a woman who flaunts her ignorance daily and never fails to tell the public that she views gay marriage as being against her Biblical studies and beliefs. To her, she tells the mainstream audience of millions: it’s not a civil rights issue – it’s a personal faith belief issue.

    Hopefully the film fest can be moved to a new ski resort town for 2010.
    Still then, I will avoid the Sundance brand like a Mormon avoiding a gay wedding.

  • horus

    @Wolf: right on wolf. i will never attend sundance again, ever. i blame the mormons and the roman catholic church, and rightly so. people like these two are the reason things don’t get better for us. they seem very eager to believe the christian propaganda machine, there is something rather fishy about both of them. i would not be surprised if they are LDS subversives.

  • mark

    Doing the exact same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is the definition of INSANITY.
    When LGBTs get SERIOUS we will use our financial clout to reward and punish, or we will continue to be f*cked by these fundies, and lying politicians…*cough-Obama,Tim Kaine-cough*

  • mark

    Park City claiming to be the “gay friendliest part of Utah”, sets the bar so low that you could stub your toe on it.
    Tehran is probably the gay friendliest part of Iran, it doesn’t mean they won’t lynch a gay teen.

  • GranDiva

    Festival, shmestival, if I can watch some of the films through iTunes, I certainly will. No sense in missing out on some cinematic gems. (Not like I could afford a resort town like Park City under any circumstances, either.)

  • mark

    Here’s a post from the Park Record, Park City’s newspaper, site of Sundance

    THIS is what you FUND …GLAAD, and Absolut, and Oil of Olay, and Honda, and Entertainment Weekly, and Sundance channel, and Ray Ban, and 360 Vodka.

    “Through out this board the LGBT community has stated that they will not be pushed around and they are now getting aggressive. Just a thought, why dont you all uprise and then everyone who dislikes you can take a shot, who ever is left standing wins.”
    by poster nicknamed = Don’t Listen to me

  • Timothy

    Jon B seems astonishing ignorant about the campaign:

    “where were our donations?”

    The No on 8 Campaign collected and spent 38 million dollars. That’s were our donations were.

    “where were our call banks?”

    Throughout the state. I showed up to help call. Did Jon B?

    “where were our supporters in the black and latino communities?”

    A large number of black and latino leaders campaigned against Proposition 8 including Al Sharpton and Julian Bond and Antonio Viallaraigosa.

    I think the No on 8 Campaign was quite poorly run. But there is no question whatsoever that without the involvement of the Mormon Church – whose efforts provided between 44% and 70% of all dollars, 80 and 90% of all volunteers, and 100% of all faces and stories in the ads – this thing would have gone down in flames.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    @Jon B:

    Yup. It’s all our fault that they hate our queer asses.

    We deserve exactly what we got.

    We didn’t attack them. They attacked us, in case you hadn’t noticed.

    Boy, with friends like you, we sure as hell don’t need enemies.


  • Michael W.

    Al Sharpton and Antonio Villagaroisa speaking out against Prop 8 doesn’t count as “reaching out” to the black and brown communities.

    Back to the post at hand, I can’t wait to see the Benjamin Bratt movie. It’ll be nice to see him playing a bad ass for once. Also, I love to see the queer perspective from something other than wealthy, pretty white men. That’s part of the reason why people of color think being gay is a white thing: all you see is Dante’s Cove and Queer As Folk. I’m from the streets, I don’t recognize any of that trendy hipster bullshit.

  • RDM

    Boycotting a state is stupid. But I’ll happily blame the LDS for lying to their followers, and their followers for believing them.

  • mark

    Colorado tourism was boycotted very nicely…thank you.
    They lost over 40 million.
    In case you didn’t notice when queers confront Mormons, we get cast as the VILLIANS attacking the “nice church folks.”
    By hurting all UT residents financially, it will be them confronting the LDS elders, not us.
    My guess is when we crater 6 Billion in tourism, the property and sales taxes in UT will skyrocket, or government services drop dramaticly. Then UT residents will take those elders somewhere quiet, like behind a shed and teach them a CIVICS LESSON.
    Mind you own bu$ine$$….1-001

  • Stephen

    @Wolf: Why leave? That’s exactly what they want! This is a free country,(at least it is right now.)And Utah is a part of this country. You have just as much right as anyone. Ten percent, Big deal. We as Americans pay more to the IRS. Stay in you homes! We must stand firm, hold back our anger, and not appear as a chaotic mob.

  • Stenar

    As if any of you have ever been to Sundance. I just got home from Sundance and had a lovely time seeing two wonderful films.

  • Giovanni

    Anybody who faults queer film makers for debuting their films at Sundance has no idea how the film industry works. Sundance is the first festival of the year and often the best and only way indie films (and serious queer films) will find distribution other than the smaller circuit festivals.

    If you are lucky enough to be accepted into the festival you go with the hopes that not only will your film be well received but that it will also be purchased so you can pay off the credit cards you maxed out to make it (or assorted producers like your cousin’s friend Tommy aka the auto parts “king”) and perhaps finally get your mother to stop asking you what are you going to do with your life. But I digress…

    A film is made to be seen – by any means necesssary. Hurray for Lee Daniels!

  • Jacob Whipple


    Utah has an incredibly large and thriving gay community, and Sundance is one of the most liberal and gay friendly events going on in Utah. GLAAD’s sponsorship of the Queer Lounge only bring to national focus the diversity and gay friendly culture here.

    I’m the one who organized the rally at Temple Square on November 7th to protest the Mormon’s involvement in Prop 8. Since then the Mormons have backed off and we have a REALLY good chance for passing 6 LGBT friendly bills this session, known as the Common Grounds Initiative.

    Don’t give up on Utah, because Utahn’s aren’t, and we have a LOT of traction and momentum now.

  • mark

    Adult LGBTs living in Utah made their decision, and need to live with it. Park City is not this major gay friendly mecca in backass Utah. There are No LGBT owned bars, restaurants, or gay owned ANY space to have Sundance LGBTs gather. Queer Lounge was created out of NEED.
    I feel sorry for LGBT youth in that rathole of a state, which are easily 40 years behind the rest of America on LGBT Human Rights.
    One interesting thread Queerty might do for our community ,is ask members on a poll which State would they choose to live in, and which State would they NEVER live in. My guess is no one picks Utah in the first question, and a third pick Utah in the worst list.

  • SLCJosh

    Mark, please tell me how Sundance in any way is connected to the LDS Church funding anti-gay initiatives?

    Frankly, I’m saddened to hear such mean-spirited remarks directed at the entirety of the state that I live in, because it fails to acknowledge the massive amount of work that the LGBT community here has done and continues to do. Salt Lake City is one of the most gay-friendly cities in the nation, regardless of what the moral majority of the state is. I have never felt unsafe or unwelcomed. And Sundance continues to be a bastion of progressive ideas and art, including LGBT-related pieces.

    There are many times when I would agree with you, Mark, that this is a “rathole state,” but I don’t think I would live anywhere else than Salt Lake City. Maybe YOU should give it a visit before passing hypocritical judgement.

  • SLCJosh

    Moreover, huge thanks to Jacob Whipple, who has done more for gay rights in Utah in the last few months, than many have done in this country for the last decade.

    I’ll continue to march and stand with him and the rest of my fabulous, intelligent community here in fighting for our civil rights.

  • mark


    I’m not unfamilar with Salt Lake City, I’ve visited there ALL my life, my grandparents and uncles and aunts and cousins, and my cousins families all live there. My mother was Mormon until she converted when I was young, I was Blessed Mormon at birth.
    Was ANYTHING I said false, are their gay owned meeting places in Park City except Queer Lounge for two weeks?
    I’ve been to the gay bars in SLC all in dangerous warehouse areas, and scattered randomly, none in their own neighborhoods, like a civilized city.
    The “gay friendlier” Bills you are attempting to pass are LAUGHABLE in any Progressive State, easily 40 years behind ANYWHERE ELSE.
    They won’t allow adoption, marriage, even CIVIL UNIONS, they have NO HATE CRIMES Bill…in other words they magnanimously allow you to drink the same G*D DAMN water, and breathe THEIR air, and you are to be eternally F*CKIN GRATEFUL they don’t hunt you down.
    Did you read the quote I posted that they want gays to arise and shoot us down, who ever left standing WINS.
    F*CK THAT, F*CK UTAH, and F*CK YOU for attempting to shame me because you choose to live in a Rat Hole.
    I suggest you view the videos of gay men tortured in your State in Boystown where they were KIDNAPPED in their teens and forced into these “ex-gay” indoctrination DUNGEONS.
    Stop that torture of young kids….at least before you criticize anything I post.

  • mark

    btw…there was a VERY vocal gay UT poster from Park City who said he organized join the impact protests, and was trying to circumvent the BOYCOTT. On his website was PC condo rentals, PC construction companies, gay room mate services all advertising on his webpages….yeah sweetie, you have no CONFLICTS of interests.

  • mark

    ” Salt Lake City is one of the gay friendliest cities”

    Oh honey, you need to visit a lot more cities

    Seattle, Portland, San francisco, Hollywood, Palm Springs, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Dallas, Houston, Austin, New Orleans, Atlanta, Miami, Orlando, DC, Baltimore, NYC, Hartford, Cleveland, Boston, Philly,Milwaukee, Madison, Twin Cities…dwarf anything in SLC

  • Jersey

    Sundance needs to move to the Adirondaks. It’s easily as beautiful as Utah and New York State is a much friendlier state to gays. Hopefully they can soon pass gay marriage. Fuck the morons, er I mean mormons.

  • Phoenix (Fuming In Silence Whilst Plotting Anarchy)

    Let me explain this once again to people who don’t get why we’re boycotting Utah.

    Population of Utah that is Mormon 62.4-70%. (depending on sources)

    Percentage of donations FOR “Yes on H(8)” that came from Mormons: 40-70% (business & individuals & campaigning)

    Percentage of Income Mormons Tithe to LDS: 10% (or tens of billions of dollars a year)

    Spending money in Utah is supporting Mormon businesses. Supporting Mormons/Mormon-owned business is the same as giving money to The Church of LDS. Giving money to the Church of LDS is funds bigotry.

    Is that simple enough for you to understand now….?

  • SLCJosh

    I wasn’t going to post again, especially after such a mean-spirited reply from Mark (I thought we were on the same side, here!). But I want to explain my views better.

    First, let me apologize for calling calling you [Mark] a hypocrite. I don’t know you and you obviously have a better understanding of Utah and Mormons than I imagined. Moreover, I don’t dispute most of what you (or Phoenix) have said about my state and the Mormons. I grew up in an all Mormon family and know just how terrible they can be, while keeping up the face of “family first.” Utah has the highest rate of teen male suicide in the country, and I absolutely think a great deal, if not most of it can be attributed to the way Mormons deal with LGBT individuals.

    What really upsets me about the call for boycotting Utah (and Sundance) is that I don’t see what the fuck good it does. How does boycotting Utah help the Mormon gay teen who thinks about killing himself because his Church has left him with no hope? Well I was that gay Mormon teen and what saved me is the fact that I was able to find a vibrant, close-knit LGBT community in SLC. It’s not nearly as friendly as many of the cities you mentioned, but it’s sure better than anywhere else in the state, and getting better all the time. And when I said “one of the most gay-friendly in the nation,” I was referencing this article:

    What I think WILL and DOES help LGBT people in Utah is not that we all pack up and leave, but that we stay and fight the bigotry and ignorance we live with. Besides, you talk like it should be simple for anyone to just leave Utah. Most gay kids don’t have that option. They’re stuck here, and have to hope we can make it as welcoming as possible. And those of us that stay in Utah for MANY reasons other than the state of gay politics, will try to do just that.

  • JJ


    “Population of Utah that is Mormon 62.4-70%. (depending on sources)”

    The percentage is substantially lower in Park City, although I don’t have the exact figure.

    “Percentage of donations FOR ‘Yes on H(8)’ that came from Mormons: 40-70% (business & individuals & campaigning)”

    In order for your argument to be sound, you need to ask yourself what percentage of donations actually came from Utah, as opposed to California and other states. I’ll let you do the math, but this might help you: Take a look at the number of donations from Utah compared to California. More to the point, take a look at the number of donations from Park City. Based on where the majority of money for Yes on 8 actually came from, you should be boycotting California.

    “Percentage of Income Mormons Tithe to LDS: 10% (or tens of billions of dollars a year)”

    Only about 25-30% of Mormons are full tithe payers, and no one is “required.” They won’t seize your assets if you fail to pay your 10% tithe.

    “Spending money in Utah is supporting Mormon businesses.”

    Extremely faulty logic. Mormons do not own all of Utah and much less of Park City. If you come to Park City, you are most likely supporting non-Mormon businesses.

    “Supporting Mormons/Mormon-owned business is the same as giving money to The Church of LDS. Giving money to the Church of LDS is funds bigotry.”

    So if a business has even one Mormon employee/executive/owner, are you going to boycott that business? After all, if that Mormon draws a salary, there’s a 25-30% chance she may pay tithing. This is laughable and, frankly, impossible to pull off. I bet you unwittingly support businesses that have Mormon employees every single day. You, my friend, are a bigotry supporter by your own definition.

    In any case, the actual contribution of the LDS Church, even with phone banks and other in kind contributions, amounts to a very small percentage of the total donated to Yes on 8. The contributions came from individual taxpayers, mostly Californians.

    “Is that simple enough for you to understand now….?”

    Nope. Makes no sense at all.

  • Ben

    I agree with JJ. Utah may be majority-Mormon, but it’s not “the Mormon state” – the Mormon church doesn’t choose its governor or make its laws. Whatever the associations between them, the political entity “the State of Utah” is separate from the religious body called “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” and it wasn’t the Utah government that screwed us over. Indeed, there are three openly LGBT members of the state Legislature (out of 104).

    Furthermore, the Mormon majority in Utah is actually declining – the most recent Pew survey puts it at 58 percent. Salt Lake City is about evenly divided.

    In any case, Utah isn’t the only place in America where one church has a majority of the population. Rhode Island is majority Catholic. Oklahoma, Tennessee and Arkansas have a majority of evangelical Protestants. Are we boycotting them?

    The Mormon Church, as an institution, attacked us, possibly violating federal and state tax laws in the attempt. It is at fault – not individual Mormons (some of whom opposed 8) or the State of Utah.

  • Kamryn

    Speaking as part of the gay youth that lives in Salt Lake City, I can say that it is different here than most places. This place has allways been my home and though at times I may have wanted to leave, I survived and allways came through with it thanks to help. Now there isnt much help at all but we are trying. I dont think we should give in to the church and state and try to leave or settle to their standards. I have lost friends to this sort of thing and though Salt Lake City is probabl one of the most liberal cities in Utah … it is still Utah. We are not saying that all mormons are the problem to the passing of proposition 8 but they were a huge influence. Utah’s LGBT’s rights are lower but that only gives us more right to fight for those rights. Now dont get me wrong I dont hate Salt Lake City, in fact I like it, but at times it is more than I can handle. Now I dont believe we should attack the mormons like others think but we are just fighting for our rights and mormons tend to be a majority here so we fight against them. Even if the funding of the LDS religion didnt come from Utah (which most of it did) it is still the religion that believes and supports that ideal. We are defending our rights to be treated and seen as any other normal human being. The people who dont believe we should are just the ones that we have to defend against. Even though there are LGBT communities to help, there are few in fact I have yet to be a part of one that might help immensly. The ones that truly need the help cant even reach it because of how small the community is and how their parents control their lives. Even though Utah says its state is seperated from church, its not. The LDS religion has a huge impact on what goes on in Utah and until they learn to accept our differences and let us have our rights, we will keep on fighting. We dont ask that all mormons convert and believe what we are doing is right and force our beliefs on you, but we only ask that they admit what we are doing is not wrong and realise we only want our own community that would not even interfer in theirs. This is only in Utah, there are many other places that are having issues for different reasons, but as for this case in utah instead of fighting with each other on whether the conditions are worse or not it is still in a condition that we need to come together and fight for what we all hope to accomplish. I hope I dont affend anyone out there and I hope that people of all types will come to terms with their differences and learn to accept one another and hopefully bring this problem to a more effective solution.

  • SLCJosh

    Here here, Kamryn! Salt Lake City is lucky to have you. P.S. Make sure you stay involved in the community (e.g., Equality Utah, Common Grounds Initiative, etc.)

  • Kamryn

    Like I have said in my other comment I would like to do more for the community so is there anyone who can tell me what I can do as a 17-year old? that would be much appreciated, thank you!

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