A year ago today, the movie on everybody's lips was Barry Jenkins' magnum opus, 'Moonlight'. Until then, it felt like no film jury had fully recognised art that discussed the queer, black community.
Thankfully, that movie wound up getting the glorious reception it deserved, sweeping awards season and widely being labelled the best 'Best Picture' winner of the 21st century. But the glory didn't all belong to Barry Jenkins. Off the back of Moonlight's critical and box office success, film distributors are now more willing to take risks on stories about marginalised communities – and filmmaking is all the better for it.
2017 ushered in the queer renaissance with movies like 'Call Me By Your Name', 'Princess Cyd' and 'Beach Rats', and the reign looks set to continue as 'Saturday Church' hits cinemas later in the month.
'Saturday Church' tells the story of Ulysses, a New York teenager growing up under the heavy, religious hand of his aunt while he tries to make sense of his own sexuality. One night, after she discovers Ulysses has been wearing women's clothes and heels, he runs away to Christopher Street pier where he meets a group of trans and queer women who take him under their wing. As they visit 'Saturday Church', a safe space for LGBTQ+ people in New York, Ulysses learns about the beauty of self-expression and is taught that we don't have to be shaped by those who raise us.
Part LGBT drama and part musical, critics have dubbed the film "'La La Land' meets 'Moonlight'", and have praised its lead star Luka Kain for his powerhouse performance. He's even won awards for it: last summer when the film played at Outfest in Los Angeles, Luka walked home with the festival's Grand Jury Prize.
If you're well overdue a dose of life-affirming queer cinema, look no further. Saturday Church is released in New York, Los Angeles and through Video on Demand platforms on January 12th.