GLAAD @ Sundance Recap: On the ground in Park City supporting LGBTQ inclusive artists and filmmakers

GLAAD made a triumphant return in 2018 to the Sundance Film Festival, which took place this year from January 18 - 28 in Park City, Utah. Our mission? ... to support an extraordinary group of LGBTQ inclusive films and filmmakers who were presenting their latest projects to the world for the first time. And we certainly did catch up with an incredible and diverse group of talent, all of whom you're definitely going to be hearing a lot about in the upcoming year. 

The festival kicked off on Thursday, and GLAAD was there to cover the Day One premiere of the film of "Blindspotting," a modern-day tale about race relations set to hip-hop and starring Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal. 

On Friday, Wilson Cruz ("Star Trek: Discovery") and Trace Lysette ("Transparent") joined GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis to announce the nominees for the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, live from the Variety Studio in collaboration with AT&T and DirecTV. 

Later that afternoon, at our GLAAD headquarters we caught up with Kiersey Clemons and Sasha Lane, who play girlfriends in the festival's closing night film, "Hearts Beat Loud." 

On Saturday, Sarah Kate spoke at the Respect Rally, marking the one-year anniversary of the Women's March, where she introduced out Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. Joining Sarah Kate at the rally was an array of amazing speakers including Lena Waithe, Jane Fonda, Gloria Allred, Common, Tessa Thompson, Maria Bello, and more!

That afternoon, we opened the doors to the LOVELOUNGE, a joint venture hosted by GLAAD, HBO, Live Nation Productions, and the LOVELOUD Foundation, in support of the new documentary "Believer." The documentary follows Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds on his journey to bring full acceptance of LGBTQ people to the Mormon Church. Zeke Stokes, GLAAD's Vice President of Programs, sat down with the team behind "Believer" for a conversation about the messaging behind the film. Later that night, the entire team celebrated the film's world premiere. "Believer" went on to become one of two runners-up for Sundance's inaugural Festival Favorite award. The documentary will premiere on HBO later in 2018.

On Sunday, before a second day of hosting guests at the LOVELOUNGE, GLAAD joined our partners and friends at Outfest to celebrate their annual Queer Brunch, a longtime Sundance tradition!

Queer brunch Sundance 2018

Monday brought about the world premiere of "The Miseducation of Cameron Post," a film dealing with the controversial topic of conversion therapy. Directed by out festival favorite Desiree Akhavan, the film stars Chloë Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane (her second huge film at Sundance!), Forrest Goodluck, and John Gallagher Jr. And the film ended up winning Sundance's prestigious Grand Jury Prize!!

We also caught up on Monday with the cast of "White Rabbit," a very original new film that explores one Korean-American woman's struggle to reconcile her multiple intersection identities in modern Los Angeles. "White Rabbit" stars popular LA-based performance artist Vivian Bang and actress Nana Ghana and is directed by Daryl Wein.

On Tuesday, we attended the world premiere of the documentary "Quiet Heroes," a documentary about one doctor’s fight against stigma, shame, and ignorance through the height of the HIV and AIDS crisis in Utah. There wasn't a dry eye in the house at the end of this powerful look back at an important moment in Utah's history. 

Later that night brought the world premiere of "A Kid Like Jake," directed by the super-talented transgender auteur, Silas Howard ("Transparent," "Pose"). Starring Jim Parsons, Clare Danes, Octavia Spencer, and Priyanka Chopra, the film tackles the sometimes uncomfortable ways that adults sometimes deal with their views about gender identity, especially when it directly impacts their lives for the first time. 

Next, we were thrilled to meet and chat with the cast from the Sundance Now's first original series, "This Close," which premieres on the streaming service on February 14th. The show was created by real-life best friends Shoshannah Stern and Josh Feldman, deaf actors who created the series based on shorts that they premiered at Sundance in 2017. Once Andrew Ahn ("Spa Night") came on board to direct, the show truly became a project made in Sundance heaven. 

Lastly, we sat down with trans and non-binary filmmaker Luis de Filippis, who was awarded the Sundance Special Jury Prize for their short film "For Nonna Anna," which takes an intergenerational look at womanhood. 

And with that our time at Sundance 2018 came to a close. We're already excited to think about what lays ahead for next year!