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Top 5 Film Sets From Queer Films

June marks International Pride Month and we’re highlighting our Top 5 Film Sets From Queer Films!

Between 1934 and 1968, the film industry set guidelines that censored profanity, graphic violence, homosexuality, etc. called the Hays Code. This self-imposed censorship was meant to be a moral code for the film industry. There was an allowance for themes deemed immoral as long as they provided a “proper frame of reference” with the exception of homosexuality.

Most credit the Stonewall riots, which occurred a year after the expiration of the Hays Code, as a turning point for the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the USA due to its wide media coverage and subsequent organizing & protesting. On June 28th, 1969, with no warning police raided the Stonewall inn in Greenwich Village, Lower Manhattan, NYC. Police had the intention of arresting all patrons and staff and lined them up outside of the Stonewall Inn. Tired of having their safe spaces raided, a crowd began to form and eventually rioting began and continued for six days. 13 were arrested the first night and none were killed during these riots.

On June 28th, 1970, to mark the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots, Christopher Street Liberation Day marches were organized in NYC, San Francisco, LA, and Chicago. By the second anniversary, events were organized in Boston, London, Stockholm, and Paris. Evolving decades later, the events rebranded as Gay Pride and eventually to the more inclusive Pride.

During the 1970s & ‘80s in the USA, queer representation began to rise in film, although it was still rare, with movies like Rocky Horror Picture Show, Hairspray, Pink Flamingos, and Victor/Victoria. In the ‘90s, the New Queer Cinema wave was driven by independent filmmakers through projects like Paris is Burning, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Boys Don’t Cry, and The Watermelon Woman and paved the way for the mainstream success of Philadelphia & The Birdcage.

June was first declared as “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month” by President Bill Clinton in 1999 and later declared “LGBT Pride Month” by President Barack Obama in 2009. Finally, President Joe Biden declared June “LGBTQ+ Pride Month” in 2021.

During the 21st century, more queer stories have been amplified, queer visibility represented in film, and opportunities for queer filmmakers, actors, storytellers, and crew have increased. In 2017, Moonlight made history as the first LGBTQ+ movie to win the Oscar for Best Picture.

We at OC recognize that there LGBTQ+ representation is still greatly lacking in the film industry and want to amplify queer stories & storytellers with our top 5 film sets from queer films to increase visibility & support their creative endeavors.

Fanfic (2023)

Director - Marta Karwowska

Production Designer: Maria Dziewanoska-Kowalska & Jedrzej Kowalski

Where to Watch: Netflix

Two high school students form an intense connection as they navigate the challenges of discovering and expressing their truest selves.

Moonlight (2016)

Director: Barry Jenkins

Production Designer: Hannah Beachler

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video

A young African-American man grapples with his identity and sexuality while experiencing the everyday struggles of childhood, adolescence, and burgeoning adulthood.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

Director: Celine Sciamma

Production Designer: Thomas Grézaud

Where to Watch: Hulu

On an isolated island in Brittany at the end of the eighteenth century, a female painter is obliged to paint a wedding portrait of a young woman.

Dear Ex (2018)

Directors: Chih-Yen Hsu & Mag Hsu

Art Direction & Set Decoration: Chih-Hsien Chou, David Kuo, & Ching-Ya Yang

Where to Watch: Netflix

A teenage boy and his mother are further driven apart when they find out that his father’s life insurance policy is to be received by his lover.

The Half of It (2020)

Director: Alice Wu

Production Designer - Sue Chan

Where to Watch: Netflix

When smart but cash-strapped teen Ellie Chu agrees to write a love letter for a jock, she doesn’t expect to become his friend - or fall for his crush

OC Honorable Mentions:

Carol (2015)

Naz & Maalik (2015)

Tangerine (2015)

Ride or Die (2021)

Pariah (2011)

The Favourite (2018)

Call Me by Your Name (2017)

During this month, we honor those that participated in those uprisings, were at the forefront of queer filmmaking, and continue to protest for more freedoms & rights by amplifying queer representation, filmmakers, production designers, actors, and films. To support & learn more about LGBTQIA+ representation in film, check out last year’s GLAAD Studio Responsibility Index.

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