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Give Me the Backstory: Get to Know Jules Rosskam, the Filmmaker Behind Desire Lines

05/06/2024

By Lucy Spicer

One of the most exciting things about the Sundance Film Festival is having a front-row seat for the bright future of independent filmmaking. While we can learn a lot about the filmmakers from the 2024 Sundance Film Festival through the art that these storytellers share with us, there's always more we can learn about them as people. This year, we decided to get to the bottom of those artistic wells with our ongoing series: Give Me the Backstory!

The NEXT category of the Sundance Film Festival is known for showcasing bold, innovative films that defy genre and form and encourage us to expand our definition of cinema. Part documentary, part fictional storyline, Desire Lines was a natural choice for NEXT, taking the topic of transmasculine sexuality and refusing to confine it to a straight narrative.

Director Jules Rosskam's unique film - which won the NEXT Special Jury Award at the 2024 Festival - was inspired by an individual whom history has heavily overlooked despite his immeasurable influence within the trans community. Lou Sullivan, the first known gay FTM AIDS activist, who made my existence and so many others like mine possible, explains Rosskam. He was unrelenting in his quest to be exactly who he was regardless of how many times people in the medical and psychiatric community told him it wasn't possible.

Desire Lines honors Sullivan's legacy by shining a light on his work as well as providing a platform for other trans men to speak about their varied experiences and how they have navigated the spectrum of sexuality. None of it would have been made without the incredibly generous interviewees, says Rosskam. It takes a lot to show up to an open-ended process, to open yourself up to a (sometimes) virtual stranger, to trust that what you are revealing about yourself will be used to make something you feel good about. That takes a kind of trust that I am deeply inspired by.

Read on to learn more about Desire Lines and its director, including Rosskam's favorite part of making the film and his advice to filmmakers at the beginning of their artistic journey.
LINK: https://www.sundance.org/blogs/give-me-the-backstory-get-to-know-jules...
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