Program 22: 1985
Directed by Yen Tan
Adrian, a gay man in his twenties, is returning home to spend Christmas 1985 with his family in Fort Worth, Texas. He lives openly in New York, but is not out to anyone back home, making the time spent with his ultra-conservative family particularly onerous.
Dad (Michael Chiklis, TV’s The Shield), is a blue-collar man’s man. He loves Adrian and his brother, but wishes they were tougher. Mom (Virginia Madsen, Sideways), an active church volunteer, does her best to soften dad’s hardline approach with the boys. Pre-teen brother Andrew (Aidan Langford) idolizes Adrian and is angry that he hasn’t visited in over three years. Much to Dad’s chagrin, Andrew has quit football in favor of drama club and been caught listening to Madonna cassettes in his Walkman. He’s too soft for Dad and really needs his big brother in his life.
Reconnecting with Adrian’s childhood friend and ex-girlfriend Carly (Jamie Chung in an unforgettable role) isn’t easy either, having abandoned her without explanation when he left for New York. But she provides a welcome relief by being the only one from his past whom he can openly talk with about what’s really going on in his life.
Co-written and directed by Yen Tan (past ImageOut favorites Ciao and Pit Stop), 1985 is shot in black-and-white 16mm film and features a melodic score to successfully evoke nostalgia, taking the audience back to a not-so-distant bleak time in our queer history. Headlining a stellar cast as Adrian, Cory Michael Smith (The Riddler in TV’s Gotham) perfectly captures the suffocation that we’ve all felt when reconnecting with people from our closeted past. Chiklis and Madsen never let their characters become simple archetypes, delivering layered performances that perfectly mirror the complexities of real life. This powerful story of a man, burdened by his truths and making the agonizing decision whether to share his secrets and face the consequences, will leave a lasting mark on everyone who sees it.
— Stephen K. Weisenreder
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
- GRAND JURY AWARD, OUTSTANDING SCREENWRITING – Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival
- JURY AWARD, BEST FEATURE – Barcelona Int’l Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
- OFFICIAL SELECTION, OPENING NIGHT – Vancouver Queer Film Festival
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – Frameline San Francisco Int’l LGBTQ Film Festival
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – SXSW Film Festival