Research in Arts and Humanities’ (RAH!) has collaborated with Bigger Than Life to bring the first UK retrospective of the films of American independent film director Stephen Cone, at Number 70, Oxford Road this February. Free tickets can be reserved at the link below
Films screen every Thursday in February, from Thursday 7 February to Thursday 28 February. All events in the series are free to ticket holders. Tickets are available to book here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/four-films-by-stephen-cone-tickets-54546760830
Recently named “ the best queer filmmaker ignored by the film world ” by Indiewire, the retrospective encompasses four features and accompanying short films by writer/director Stephen Cone, all of which will be receiving their Manchester premiere, including 2013’s Black Box (Thursday 14 th February) which will screen as a UK premiere.
Stephen Cone will be joining us live from Chicago for streamed Q&As following screenings of The Wise Kids (Thursday 7 th February) and Princess Cyd (Thursday 28th February).
“Stephen Cone is a humanist; he can’t help but perceive that every person, even those we might write off as ‘types,’ has complexity,” Sheila O’Malley, RogerEbert.com
Praised by critics for their nuance and humanism, Cone’s films traverse subjects of community and sexuality, friendship and spirituality. The filmmaker was raised in South Carolina by churchgoing parents — his father was a Southern Baptist minister – but has since settled in Chicago, where he now teaches at Northwestern University.
Cone’s work reflects this biography; but while the films presented in this retrospective are split evenly between portrayals of tightly knit religious and creative communities, viewers can expect to find characters caught up in uncertainty, parties, sex and burgeoning queer romance across the board.
Drawing on Chicago’s rich pool of acting talent, Cone’s films concentrate on teenagers and young people, capturing their fledgling steps into adulthood, before spinning off to depict the mirrored trials and tribulations faced by the grown-ups in their lives.
Throughout the work, there’s a focus on gay, lesbian and bisexual characters, and while Cone is perfectly positioned to chart the conflict with the church, he approaches the subject of sex and sexuality with a empathetic, sincere matter-of-factness which avoids cliché.
“In both his features and short films, Cone has dexterously explored, and sometimes exploded the borders between comedy and drama, community and the self, faith and sexuality, sincerity and performance.” Eric Hynes, Museum of the Moving Image, New York
Bigger Than Life will present four of Cone’s films in chronological order, to allow Manchester audiences the opportunity to follow the director’s evolution and ask questions directly along the way.
In addition to Skype Q&As, we are also grateful to Stephen for allowing us to screen some of his short films alongside the features.
‘Four Films by Stephen Cone’ is delivered with funding from Superbia, Manchester
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