25 years after Paris Is Burning introduced the art of voguing to the world, the Sundance-selected documentary Kiki invites viewers to revisit New York City’s thriving underground ballroom scene, running as part of our LGBTQ Pride Month series.
Written and directed by Sara Jardeno, the film explores the larger-than-life world of LGBTQ ball culture. Staging elaborate dance competitions, these young, queer people of color are empowered by the dynamic choreography, fabulous costumes, and fierce attitude they bring to their craft. It’s also shown to be a safe haven for struggling, at-risk teens who find acceptance, support, and friendship within the Kiki community.
Granted intimate access to the scene, Jordenö introduces viewers to some of Kiki culture’s most prominent personalities, going beyond the glamour of the balls to highlight the serious challenges facing queer black and Latino young people.
“What’s thrilling is the sense of action and progress among the young activists, who outline both the economic problems here and their mechanisms for survival with eye-opening clarity.” — Simran Hans, Observer (UK)
“’Kiki’ shows us a group of brave and beautiful souls for whom the struggle is, unfortunately, probably about to get even harder.” — Glenn Kenny, The New York Times
“You will be hard-pressed to find another film that celebrates gender and sexual expression the way KIKI does.” — Li Lai, Mediaversity Reviews