Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Utah Film Center Celebrates 15 Years of DAMN THESE HEELS

Utah Film Center Celebrates 15 Years of DAMN THESE HEELS

Utah Film Center announced today the films selected for the 15th annual Damn These Heels Film Festival and new elements to the festival for film lovers, filmmakers and all storytellers. Damn These Heels will run July 20 - 22, 2018 at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center and is a festival for all that explores LGBTQ issues, ideas, and art through independent, documentary, and foreign films from around the world. Passes and tickets are now on sale on the Utah Film Center's website. Additional titles will be announced on the website leading up to the Festival.

The longest running LGBTQ Film Festival in the Mountain West, Damn These Heels has presented more than 220 thought-provoking and entertaining films over the years. Now in its 15th year, the Utah Film Center has added new programs, parties and events to the Festival to enhance the guest experience and engage the community in a meaningful way.

New this year, filmmakers of all experience levels are invited to participate in the 48 Hour Film OUT project. On July 13-15, participating film teams are tasked with creating an LGBTQ themed short film in just 48 hours. All films that meet the requirements will be screened during the Festival on Saturday, July 21. The winning film will be screened at Filmapalooza in Paris in 2019 for a chance at the grand prize of screening at the Cannes Film Festival 2019 Short Film Corner. Film teams are encouraged to register online now.

Patrick Hubley, Director of Programming for Utah Film Center, said, "Damn These Heels is a festival that uses the powerful art of film to celebrate inclusivity, community and individual expression. This year's line up is full of personality and complexity, we are honored to commemorate the Festival's 15th year with such a strong range of stories that will provoke thought, spark crucial dialogue and shift our perspective."

The films selected to screen in the 2018 Damn These Heels Festival are:


Directed by Yen Tan
85 min | 2018 | USA
A closeted young man goes home for the holidays and struggles to reveal his dire circumstances to his conservative family.

Official Selection: 2018 SXSW Film Festival

Cast: Cory Michael Smith, Aidan Langford, Jamie Chung, Virginia Madsen, and Michael Chiklis


Directed by Shaz Bennett

89 min | 2018 | USA

Fabulous Leo, an aspiring drag superstar who can throw a punch, is stuck working in a fish cannery in Alaska.

Official Selection: 2018 Frameline Film Festival, 2018 Palm Springs International Film Festival, 2018

Cast: Martin L. Washington Jr., Maya Washington, Matt Dallas, Christopher O'Shea, Jason Scott Lee, and Margaret Cho

ANCHOR AND HOPE (Tierra Firme)

Directed by Carlos Marques-Marcet
113 min | 2017 | Spain
Two women and their best friend living on a canal boat ask: Can we balance love, family, and life and stay united?

Winner: Best Film-2017 Seville European Film Festival; Official Selection: 2018 Guadalajara International Film Festival
Cast: Oona Chaplin, Natalia Tena, and Geraldine Chaplin

CLOSE KNIT (Karera ga honki de amu toki wa)

Directed by Naoko Ogigami
127 | 2017 | Japan
A neglected daughter, a gentle uncle, and his transgender lover knitted together into an unconventional family.
Winner: Teddy Award-2017 Berlin Film Festival, Chromie Audience Award-2017 Filmfest Homochrom

Cast: Toma Ikuta, Kenta Kiritani, Rinka Kakihara


Directed by Sonia Sebastián

81 min | 2018 | USA
Billie quits her job right before getting married, launching her into a rag-tag world of unemployed women and tech startups.
Official Selection: 2018 FilmOut San Diego, 2018 Frameline Film Festival

Cast: Jennifer Bartels, Megan Cavanagh, Alexandra Billings, and Grace Rex


Directed by Donal Mosher & Michael Palmieri

75 min | 2018 | USA

Love, faith, and civil rights collide in the south as evangelical Christians and drag queens explore the meaning of belief.

Official Selection: 2018 SXSW Film Festival, 2018 Sheffield International Documentary Festival
Preceded by the short film FAITHFUL directed by Dane Christensen

Directed by Andrew Fleming

91 | 2018 | USA
A bickering gay couple must now deal with the unexpected task of raising a ten-year-old boy.

Cast: Paul Rudd, Steve Coogan, Kate Walsh, Alison Pill, Jake McDorman, and Jack Gore


Directed by Rebekah Fortune

97 min | 2017 | UK

Trapped in the body of a boy, soccer star Charlie is torn between placating her father and shedding this ill-fitting skin.

Winner: Best Feature Film for Youth-2017 Zlin Film Festival; Official Selection: 2017 Edinburgh International Film Festival, 2017 Frameline Film Festival

Cast: Patricia Potter, Scot Williams, HARRY Gilby, and Karen Bryson


Directed by Dean Hamer & Joe Wilson

72 min | 2018 | USA/Tonga

The story of the Tonga Leitis, a group of transgender women fighting intolerance in the South Pacific Kingdom.

Official Selection: 2017 Frameline Film Festival, 2018 Festival International Du Film Documentaire Oceanien, 2017 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival


Directed by T Cooper

93 min | 2018 | USA

A trans men bodybuilding competition reveals unexpected truths about gender, masculinity, humanity and love.

Official Selection: 2018 Outfest Los Angeles, 2018 Frameline Film Festival


Directed by Bruce LaBruce

91 min | 2017 | USA

Salacious hell breaks loose within the FLA -- a feminist terrorist group -- when an injured man appears in their midst.
Official Selection: 2017 Berlin International Film Festival

Cast: Susanne Sachße, Viva Ruiz, Kembra Pfahler

MY BIG GAY ITALIAN WEDDING (Matrimonio italiano)

Directed by Alessandro Genovesi

90 min | 2018 | Italy

In this merry movie of matrimony, Antonio brings his fiancé Paulo to meet his headstrong parents and reveal his sexuality.

Official Selection: 2018 Seattle International Film Festival

Cast: Diego Abatantuono, Monica Guerritore, Salvatore Esposito, Cristiano Caccamo, Dino Abbrescia, and Diana Del Bufalo

MY LIFE WITH JAMES DEAN (Ma vie avec James Dean)

Directed by Dominique Choisy

108 min l 2017 I France

Young director Géraud Champreux goes on a wild and woeful film tour that changes his life.

Official Selection: 2018 Brussels Pink Screens, 2018 San Francisco International Film Festival

Cast: Johnny Rasse, Mickaël Pelissier, and Nathalie Richard


Opening Night Film

Directed by Jenny Mackenzie, Amanda Stoddard, & Jared Ruga

68 min | 2017 | USA

One doctor's fight against stigma, shame, and ignorance at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis against a conservative religious monoculture.

Official Selection: 2018 Sundance Film Festival, 2018 QDoc

Utah Film Center Fiscal Sponsorship Project


Directed by Leilah Weinraub

72 min | 2018 | USA | Not Rated

The chronicle of Los Angeles' black lesbian strip club scene, an underground, illegal, and legendary moment. Mature audiences only.
Official Selection: 2018 Berlin Film Festival, 2017 The Whitney Museum Biennial


89 min | Various
A short film program featuring serious, heartfelt, and touching LGBTQ+ films from around the globe. Films include Top 10 Places to Visit in Sao Paulo, Beauty, A Kitchen Can Take You Back, Sunset, Spark, Crook - "Lavender," and Something About Alex.


78 min | Various
A short film program featuring hilarious, goofy, crass, but still hard-hitting films from around the globe. Films include Magic H8 Ball, Dropping Penny, I Live Here, Scary Lucy, and Femme.


Directed by Tracy Choi

97 min | 2017 | Macau/Hong Kong/Taiwan
Upon seeing a missing person ad for a friend from her past, Sei decides to revisit Macau and makes a startling discovery.

Nominated: Best Supporting Actress Nomination Fish Liew & Best New Performer Nomination Jennifer Yu-36th Hong Kong Film Award

Cast: Gigi Leung, Fish Liew, and Jennifer Yu

TRANNY FAG (Bixa Travesty)

Directed by Kiko Goifman & Claudia Priscilla

75 min | 2018 | Brazil
Mc Linn Da Quebrada's electrifying performances (with plenty of nudity) brazenly take on Brazil's hetero-normative machismo.

Official Selection: 2018 Berlin Film Festival, 2018 Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival
Preceded the short film MY PRICE directed by Fabricio Santiago


Directed by Gabriel Silverman and Fiona Dawson

93 min | 2018 | USA

Four transgender individuals put their careers on the line by coming out in hopes of attaining the equal right to serve.

Winner: Documentary Competition Audience Award-2018 SXSW; Official Selection: 2018 Frameline Film Festival


Directed by Jeremiah Zagar

94 min | 2018 | USA

Manny, Joel, and Jonah tear their way through childhood and push against the volatile love of their parents.

Winner: Next Innovator Award-2018 Sundance Film Festival, Future/Now Award-2018 Montclair Film Festival
Cast: Raúl Castillo, Josiah Gabriel, Isaiah Kristian, Evan Rosado, and Sheila Vand

Utah Film Center Fiscal Sponsorship Project

THE WILD BOYS (Les garçons sauvages)
Directed by Bertrand Mandico

110 min | 2018 | France
Surrealist, adolescent gender-bending sex fueled fantasy nightmare. A maritime adventure.

Winner: Best Director-2018 Vilnius International Film Festival

Cast: Pauline Lorillard, Vimala Pons, and Diane Rouxe

Film stills for these selections can be found in the Utah Film Center Press Images folder.

2018 Damn These Heel LGBTQ Film Festival is made possible by the support of our sponsors including Dancing Llama Foundation, Terence Kearns Stephens Charitable Fund, B.W. Bastian Foundation, Human Rights Campaign, Utah Pride Center, Overstock, and Equality Utah

Utah Film Center

Utah Film Center inspires and engages diverse audiences to initiate conversation and community building through curated film exhibition, educational programs, and artist support. We continually strives to bring our community together through the powerful and efficient medium of film. Utah Film Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. For more information visit

Related Articles View More TV Stories

More Hot Stories For You