In the ever-expanding world of VOD, SundanceNow Doc Club is blazing a trail in smart counterprogramming. And this month, the site (at docclub.com; subscriptions start at $4.99) is celebrating gay pride with a special documentary series curated by Dan Savage, famed sex advice columnist and founder of the It Gets Better Project. He has picked seven of his favorite feature-length movies from the Doc Club’s vast collection.
“My favorite documentaries engage the same pleasure center as every other form of entertainment,” says Savage. Included among his choices are David France’s incendiary, moving 2012 Oscar nominee about the AIDS crisis, How to Survive a Plague; Joyce Chopra’s 2008 film about displaced gay and transgender teens, Gramercy Stories; and Chris & Don: A Love Story, Tina Mascara and Guido Santi’s 2007 exploration of the long love affair between writer Christopher Isherwood and artist Don Bachardy.
“The stories of long-term gay relationships have largely gone untold,” says Savage of Chris & Don. “This has left lots of straight people with the impression that gay people are all ravenous sluts with no capacity for abiding love (and therefore a threat to the family), and lots of gay people with a short supply of recognizable models for how to build lasting marriages.”
While most of Savage’s picks highlight the LGBT experience, he’s also included 2011’s chronicle of America’s best newspaper, Page One: Inside the New York Times. “Though I’m best known as a loudmouth sex columnist, the only reason I got into that line of work was my insane, abiding love of newspapers,” he says. “The recent death of David Carr sent my back to this incredible snapshot of The New York Times at a critical point of transition.”
And meanwhile, on July 24, Doc Club will premiere Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile, a compelling account of a Syrian-American lesbian blogger, who began an online romance with a woman from Montreal. Some people might already know the turns that the real-life story takes — the movie works whether you remember what happens or not. Suffice it to say, in the stranger-than-fiction style unique to documentaries, nothing about the case is what it seems.
For more information and the full list of Dan Savage Favorites, head over to SundanceNow Doc Club.