Nine New LGBT Documentaries Awarded Support from Arcus Foundation Fund at Sundance Institute

Arcus Foundation
Arcus Foundation

Today the Arcus Foundation announced a lineup of nine lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) -themed documentary films that are to receive support from the newly established Arcus Foundation Fund at Sundance Institute.
Established in 2013, the Arcus Foundation Fund provides direct grants to support independent, high potential documentary film projects focused on LGBT issues. The grants are given to projects in various stages of development, production, and distribution. The Fund also provides creative, tactical, and financial support to filmmakers who wish to self-distribute their films, retain the rights to their work, and devise their own audience-building strategies through Sundance Institute’s #ArtistServices Program.



“Filmmaking has always been a powerful medium for directly engaging audiences on complex issues and informing public conversations that drive social progress,” said Jason McGill, Vice President, Social Justice Programs. “LGBT people have benefited tremendously in recent decades by courageously becoming more visible in and accepted by their families, faith communities and workplaces. We see great potential to reinforce this visibility and acceptance through documentary films that reveal and celebrate the diverse lived experiences of LGBT people. The Arcus Fund at Sundance Institute reflects our commitment to ensuring that their lives are increasingly demystified and supported.”



The Arcus Foundation Fund is housed under the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program. Eligible film projects were awarded funding based on the following criteria: quality of information and storytelling effectiveness; the pressing nature of the contemporary social issue; global subject relevance; potential for reach and impact; creative and artistic innovation; and potential for completion. For more information on Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program, please




From This Day Forward (U.S.)

Director: Sharon Shattuck

Filmmaker Sharon Shattuck explores love, sexuality, art, and commitment in a verité portrait of her family just before her own wedding. When her artist father, Michael, comes out as a transgender woman, Sharon and her sister are in their awkward middle school years. Dealing with family and societal pressures, Michael—now called Trisha—and his wife Marcia, decide to separate. After a few heartbreaking months, they realize they still want to be together. Decades later, as Sharon is planning her own wedding, she delves into her parents’ relationship using interviews, home movies and Trisha’s artwork. The film will explore what it takes to stay together against incredible odds.


Sylvia & Marsha (U.S.)

Director: David France

Sylvia & Marsha celebrates the first modern transgender activists who together, co-founded STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) and set in motion a profound cultural shift carried on today by trans people asserting their rights.




Blue ID (Turkey)

Directors: Burcu Melekoglu, Vuslat Karan

Former Elite Model and actress, now trans man, Rüzgar Erkoçlar struggles under the spotlight in traditional, conservative Turkey for self-realization and acceptance. Constrained by identification cards color-coded for gender, will he finally be considered for a Blue ID?


Brick (U.S.)

Directors: Jessica Dimmock, Christopher LaMarca

Five fathers and grandfathers risk losing their families to live as transgender women within the Pacific Northwest’s hyper-masculine culture.


Growing Up Coy (U.S.)

Director: Eric Juhola

Growing Up Coy is a feature documentary that follows a landmark transgender-rights case in Colorado where a 6-year-old transgender girl named Coy has been banned from the girls’ bathroom at her school. Coy’s parents hire a lawyer, and the family is thrust into the international media spotlight, causing their lives to change forever.


Out in the Night (U.S.)

Director: Blair Doroshwalther

The story of four friends, out for a night in New York City, who became known as a “Gang of Killer Lesbians” when they defended themselves.


Out Run  (U.S.)

Directors: Johnny Symons, S. Leo Chiang

Out Run follows Ladlad, the only LGBT political party in the world, on its historic quest to elect a transgender woman to the Philippine Congress through an unconventional strategy by mobilizing a national network of working-class gay and transgender hairdressers to be their grassroots campaign organizers.




Before You Know It (U.S.)

Director: PJ Raval

The subjects of Before You Know It are no ordinary senior citizens. They are go-go booted bar-hoppers, love struck activists, troublemaking baton twirlers, late night Internet cruisers, seasoned renegades and bold adventurers. They are also among the estimated 2.4 million lesbian, gay, and bisexual Americans over the age of 55 in the United States, many of whom face heightened levels of discrimination, neglect and exclusion. But Before is not a film about cold statistics and gloomy realities, it’s a film about generational trailblazers who have surmounted prejudice and defied expectation to form communities of strength, renewal and camaraderie—whether these communities be affable senior living facilities, lively activist enclaves or wacky queer bars brimming with glittered trinkets and colorful drag queens.


The New Black (U.S.)

Director: Yoruba Richen

The New Black is a documentary that tells the story of how the African-American community is grappling with the gay rights issue in light of the recent gay marriage movement and the fight over civil rights. The film documents activists, families and clergy on both sides of the campaign to legalize gay marriage and examines homophobia in the black community’s institutional pillar—the black church and reveals the Christian right wing’s strategy of exploiting this phenomenon in order to pursue an anti-gay political agenda.




Founded in 2000 by Jon Stryker, the Arcus Foundation is a private grantmaking institution dedicated to the idea that people can live in harmony with one another and the natural world. Arcus’ work is based on the belief that respect for diversity among peoples and in nature is essential to a positive future for our planet and all of its inhabitants. The Foundation works globally and has offices in New York City and Cambridge, UK. To learn more, visit: