Reel In The Closet - LGBT History on Home Movies

Author: Interrobang Productions, LLC
Published: Monday 19th October 2015
Summary: Documentary film to reveal LGBT life in the past will make its New York premiere on Nov 14th as part of the DOC NYC Film Festival.

Reel In The Closet, the first documentary film to reveal LGBT life in the past through extensive use of rare and never before seen home movies, will make its New York premiere on November 14th as part of the DOC NYC Film Festival.

The documentary includes 1930s films of lesbian couples vacationing in Maine, the day-to-day life of a California gay man and his partner in the late 1940s, as well as home movies of transgender pioneer Christine Jorgensen before and after her transition in the early 1950s.

"We found the film a compelling exploration of hidden history and we believe our audience will too," says Basil Tsokios, DOC NYC Programming Director.

Family films are often the stuff of groans and snoring, but filmmaker Stu Maddux says he found these gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender home movies to be fascinating: "Watching these people documenting their lives made me completely rethink what it was like to be LGBT before Stonewall. For many people, it was much happier and more open than we have been led to believe."

Maddux spent three years discovering the most compelling moments from hundreds of home movies, many never viewed, in archives and museums around the world. He then created a feature length film that recounts, in an intimate way, the LGBT experience over the past 80 years.

The documentary continues that chronology into the present day by including moments from rare community productions as well as raw footage from LGBT news stories secretly saved by a gay news editor before it was erased. Words on screen propose that "together, they make up the home movie of an entire people."

"It's all the little pieces being put together that creates this amazing picture of our lives and tells our story," says Lynne Kirste, Special Collections Curator at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, who is featured in the film and identifies as a lesbian woman.

Reel In The Closet is the latest documentary about LGBT older people and their stories from Maddux. His previous film, Gen Silent, about LGBT seniors going back into the closet because they fear discrimination from caregivers, continues to receive critical acclaim. His work is distributed by Interrobang Productions, LLC under the name, Stu Maddux Films.

Reel In The Closet with Cast & Crew in attendance

Date and Time: November 14th, 2:15pm

Location: IFC Center, 323 6th Ave, New York, NY 10014

Tickets: DOC NYC

Stills, trailer and clips available at:

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