Imago, Liz Cardenas Franke, 8m, USA
The courageous, life-altering decision to never let anyone bully him ever again – not even his own father – leads a 15-year-old gay teen to fully embrace his true identity.
16-year-old Cyd decides to take a break from her depressive single father and spend a summer in Chicago with her aunt Miranda, a well-known novelist. Soon after her arrival, Cyd encounters Katie, a young barista behind the counter. The two make plans to meet up after Katie’s shift and a new, charged relationship begins. The Chicago landscape expands, and we navigate intimate and fragile moments between Cyd and Katie as they explore their new attraction. Miranda functions as a counterpart to young Cyd’s new explorations of sexuality and love, and as the summer continues they develop a strong relationship founded on a shared openness and healthy criticism of particular personal moments.
Sensitive to the contradictions and confusion of the ever-changing self, Stephen Cone has created a film that reimagines that distinct summer feeling when adolescence creeps in, skin is bared, emotions emerge, and everything begins to feel more complicated. His cast of characters maintains a strong chemistry throughout the film, while cinematographer Zoë White’s color palette and composition creates the perfect atmosphere and help sensualize nostalgic summer love. Stephen Cone’s Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party had its world premiere within MdFF 2015. We are honored to once again host the world premiere of Stephen Cone’s newest feature film at the 2017 Maryland Film Festival. (Margaret Rorison)