With the library’s subscription to Kanopy, an on-demand streaming video service for public libraries and educational institutions, cardholders have access to a large collection of classic films, independent productions and documentaries. In honor of Pride Month, Kanopy assembled a list of 71 LGBTQ-related documentaries and stories. Here are some highlights.
An exquisite coming-of-age movie with a perfect cast, Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party unfolds over the course of one very eventful day in the life of a 17-year-old preacher’s kid, Henry. At Henry’s afternoon birthday pool party the guests include an assortment of grown-ups from the family church, as well as Henry’s secular and religious teen friends — including the closeted young Logan, who clearly has eyes for Henry. As Henry treads through various sexual possibilities, seeking to come into his own, so too do the adults and teenagers of the party, all struggling to navigate the public and private, and their longing, despite themselves and their faith, for earthly love.
Based on the celebrated novel by Emily M. Danforth, The Miseducation of Cameron Post follows the titular character (Chloe Grace Moretz) as she is sent to a gay conversion therapy center after getting caught with another girl in the back seat of a car on prom night.
Oscar-winner for Best Picture, Moonlight is a moving and transcendent look at three defining chapters in the life of Chiron, a young man growing up in Miami. His epic journey to adulthood, as a shy outsider dealing with difficult circumstances, is guided by support, empathy and love from the most unexpected places.
Heroic, funny and romantic, Parting Glances is a triumph for everyone who has ever been in love-straight or gay. The story revolves around two men, Michael and Robert, who have been lovers for years. Robert is being transferred out of the country for two years, leaving Michael behind. Their best friend Nick, who is also Michael’s former lover, is dying of AIDS. So begins a surprisingly funny, wonderfully acted love story set in the gay scene of Manhattan.
In this New York Times Critics’ Pick, A 14 year old boy, struggling with gender identity and religion, begins to use fantasy to escape his life in the inner city and find his passion in the process. Nominated for Best Actress and Best US Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival. Winner of Outstanding Actor in a Feature Film at Outfest.
From out lesbian director Celine Sciamma (Water Lilies), Tomboy tells the story of 10-year-old Laure (played by the amazing Zoe Heran) who moves to the suburbs and decides to pass as a boy amongst the pack of neighborhood kids. As “Mikael” she catches the attention of leader of the pack Lisa, who becomes smitten with her. At home with her parents and younger sister Jeanne, she is Laure; while hanging out with her new pals and girlfriend, she is Mikael. Finding resourceful ways to hide her true self, Laure takes advantage of her new identity, as if the end of the summer would never reveal her unsettling secret.
Andi (Constance Wu, Crazy Rich Asians) and Lu (Angela Trimbur) are excited to celebrate their upcoming wedding with a joint bachelorette weekend in wine country. On the first night, things goes awry when one of the brides admits she’s never had an orgasm.
In Paris in the early 1990s, members of the activist group ACT UP battle for those stricken with HIV/AIDS, taking on sluggish government agencies and major pharmaceutical companies in bold, invasive actions. Amid rallies, protests, fierce debates and ecstatic dance parties, newcomer to the group Nathan falls in love with Sean, the ACT UP’s radical firebrand, and their passion sparks against the shadow of mortality as the activists fight for a breakthrough.
An inspiring documentary about the birth and life of the AIDS activist movement from the perspective of the people in the trenches fighting the epidemic. Utilizing oral histories of members of ACT UP, as well as rare archival footage, the film depicts the efforts of ACT UP as it battles corporate greed, social indifference, and government neglect. The film takes the viewer through the planning and execution of a half dozen exhilarating major actions including Seize Control of the FDA, Stop the Church, and Day of Desperation, with a timeline of many of the other actions that forced the U.S. government and mainstream media to deal with the AIDS crisis.
This documentary chronicles the US tour of a group of Black lesbian poets and musicians, who become present-day stewards of a historical movement to build community among queer women of color. Their journey to strengthen their community is enriched by insightful interviews with leading Black feminist thinkers and historians. As the group tours the country, the film reveals their aspirations and triumphs, as well as the unique identity challenges they face encompassing gender, race, and sexuality. This is a rarely seen look into a special sisterhood — one where marginalized voices are both heard and respected.
In 1969 the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village, leading to three nights of rioting by the city’s gay community. With this outpouring of courage and unity the Gay Liberation Movement had begun. After Stonewall, the sequel to Before Stonewall, chronicles the history of lesbian and gay life from the riots at Stonewall to the end of the century. It captures the hard work, struggles, tragic defeats and exciting victories experienced since them. It explores how AIDS literally changed the direction of the movement.
This film festival favorite follows a group of African-American gay and transgender youth in one of Washington D.C.’s most violent neighborhoods. After being subjected to constant torment and assault, the group formed their own gang for camaraderie and protection.
This groundbreaking American Indie was the most fervently debated film of the 1990s and a trailblazing landmark of queer cinema. A work of immense visual invention, Haynes’ spectacular follow-up to his legendary “Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story” is audacious, disturbing and thrillingly cinematic.
The movie that rocked the foundations of the early Indie film world, this provocative, thrilling and still-relevant classic is a comic fantasy of female rebellion set in America ten years after the Second American Revolution. When Adelaide Norris, the black radical founder of the Woman’s Army, is mysteriously killed, a diverse coalition of women – across all lines of race, class, and sexual preference – emerges to blow the System apart. Featuring early cameos by Kathryn Bigelow and Eric Bogosian.
In his final and most daring cinematic statement, Jarman the romantic meets Jarman the iconoclast in a lush soundscape pulsing against a purely blue screen. Laying bare his physical and spiritual state in a narration about his life, his struggle with AIDS and his encroaching blindness, Blue is by turns poignant, amusing, poetic and philosophical.
A stunning collage of ecstatic Super-8 fragments, Glitterbug is a loving tribute to Derek Jarman posthumously assembled by friends from his prolific filming of everyday events and his experimental investigations of the format. Jarman’s vibrant photography combined with dynamic cutting reveals glimpses into his picaresque life, from London streets to Spanish countryside–with visions of dances, performances, intimate moments and quiet observations.
Director Toshio Matsumoto’s shattering, kaleidoscopic masterpiece is one of the most subversive and intoxicating films of the late 1960s: a headlong dive into a dazzling, unseen Tokyo night-world of drag queen bars and fabulous divas, fueled by booze, drugs, fuzz guitars, performance art and black mascara. No less than Stanley Kubrick cited the film as a direct influence on his own dystopian classic A Clockwork Orange.
T’Ain’t Nobody’s Bizness excavates the hidden sexualities of Black female entertainers who reigned over the nascent blues recording industry of the 1920s. Unlike the male-dominated jazz scene, early blues provided a space for women to take the lead and model an autonomy that was remarkable for women of any color or sexual orientation. The fact that some of these women, still famous 90 years later, successfully conducted same-sex relations with friends and working partners is a tribute to their independent spirit and a marker of the relaxed mores that shaped the world of Black entertainment.
A group of trannies are violently bashed and left for dead. The surviving ladies regain consciousness, confidence, and courage ready to seek out revenge on the ones who attacked them.
An intimate and nuanced investigation into the life of one of the most influential and provocative thinkers of the 20th century. Endlessly curious, passionate and gracefully outspoken throughout her career, Susan Sontag became one of the most important literary, political and feminist icons of her generation. This beautifully constructed documentary tracks Sontag’s life through evocative experimental images, archival materials, accounts from friends, family, colleagues, and lovers, as well as her own words as read by Patricia Clarkson.