Program 01: Princess Cyd
OPENING NIGHT SELECTION
Directed by Stephen Cone
When 16-year-old Cyd (Jessie Pinnick, in what should be a star-making turn) comes to stay with her aunt Miranda (Rebecca Spence) at her Chicago home for the summer, she’s looking for an escape. With a depressed father back at home in South Carolina, Cyd is ready for some time on her own.
Miranda hasn’t seen her niece since she was a little girl. Cyd’s mother – Miranda’s sister – died when Cyd was very young, and there’s a slight awkwardness in the way they’re suddenly thrust into being family to one another after so long. They’re opposites in many ways: a successful novelist, Miranda is a bit of an intellectual. She’s set in her ways and happy living alone. Sporty and uninhibited, Cyd admits to not being much of a reader, preferring to relax by sunbathing in the yard.
But the teen has a natural curiosity, and as she and Miranda slowly get to know one another, the precocious teen pokes into her aunt’s life, asking about her solitary lifestyle and questioning her ideas about sexuality and spirituality. As the two women feel each other out, they occasionally clash. But as time goes on, they find the other’s influence beginning to wear off on them.
Cyd indulges in some sexual exploration, striking up a romance with cute, gender-nonconforming Katie (Malic White). Meanwhile Miranda tiptoes around her conspicuously close friendship with a fellow writer, Anthony (James Vincent Meredith). The relationship between Cyd and Miranda remains centerstage, and it’s a joy to see two such complex female characters brought to life by two incredibly talented actresses.
Wise and warm-hearted, Princess Cyd comes from Stephen Cone (director of ImageOut favorites The Wise Kids and Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party), who brings his characteristic empathy and generosity toward every character on screen. Princess Cyd is a film that celebrates a sense of discovery about the world and the people in it. It reminds us that we always have the ability to learn something new about ourselves, and a coming of age can happen no matter how old you are.
— Adam Lubitow
- SHOUT AUDIENCE AWARD – Sidewalk Film Festival (Birmingham)
- BEST DIRECTOR – Kaleidoscope LGBT Film Festival
- CLOSING NIGHT – Kaleidescope LGBT Film Festival (Little Rock)
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – Frameline San Francisco LGBTQ International Film Festival
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – BAMcinemaFest (New York)
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – Maryland Film Festival
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – Sidewalk Film Festival (Birmingham)
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – BFI London Film Festival
We welcome Writer/Director Stephen Cone as our special guest. Stephen will be available for Q&A following the screening.
Stephen Cone is a Chicago–based filmmaker whose feature Princess Cyd is currently playing the festival circuit, having recently screened at the BFI London Film Festival, BAMcinemaFest, Frameline, Maryland Film Festival and more. Previously, his film Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party was featured in The New York Times “Anatomy of a Scene” series, screened within BAMcinemaFest, and was the winner of the Silver Q Hugo Award at the 2015 Chicago International Film Festival, while a prior film, The Wise Kids, won the Outfest Grand Jury Awards for US Feature and Screenwriting and was a New York Times Critics Pick. All three films are currently being distributed on VOD and DVD by Wolfe Releasing. Stephen also teaches acting and filmmaking at Northwestern University and Acting Studio Chicago.