2016 Sundance Docs in Focus: SUITED

suitedWeek two of my Sundance doc preview begins: SUITED, Jason Benjamin’s profile of custom tailors serving gender non-conforming clients.

Festival Section:
US Documentary Competition

Sundance Program Description:

SUITED follows its subjects – clients seeking a personalized experience – into the minimalist office space of Bindle & Keep, a bespoke tailoring company based in Brooklyn that caters to a diverse LGBTQ community and looks beyond the gender binary. Clothier duo Rae and Daniel take a holistic approach to their work, considering each client’s personal narrative, which becomes inextricable from the creation of the perfect custom-made suit. From Derek’s emotional journey as he prepares for his wedding to Everett, a law student in a conservative environment, or Mel, who simply wants to look good for their 40th birthday party – the need for well-fitting garments represents deeper meaning around identity, empowerment, and feeling good.

Going deeper than fine fabrics and silk linings, SUITED takes a modern, evolved look at gender through the conduit of clothing and elucidates the private and emotional experience surrounding it. With heart and optimism, the film documents a cultural shift that is creating a new demand – and response – for each person’s right to go out into the world with confidence.

Some Background:
Director/Producer: Jason Benjamin
A boom operator for television series like GIRLS, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, SEX AND THE CITY, and UGLY BETTY, this sophomore feature doc marks Benjamin’s first Sundance appearance.

Producers: Lena Dunham, Jenni Konner, Carly Hugo, Stacey Reiss, and Ericka Naegle
Dunham, Konner, and Naegle, colleagues from HBO’s GIRLS, produce under their A Casual Romance banner; their previous short documentary, IT’S ME, HILARY: THE MAN WHO DREW ELOISE, debuted at Sundance last year.

Loveless’ Hugo has produced numerous previous Sundance titles, most recently fiction films MOTHER OF GEORGE (2013), BACHELORETTE (2012), and HIGHER GROUND (2011), as well as doc HOT COFFEE (2011).

In addition to producing fellow 2016 title THE EAGLE HUNTRESS, Reiss previously produced short alums IT’S ME HILARY and I KNEW IT WAS YOU (2009).

Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins, Senior Producer: Sara Bernstein
HBO Documentary Films head Nevins also executive produced fellow 2016 Sundance titles BECOMING MIKE NICHOLS, MAPPLETHORPE: LOOK AT THE PICTURES, UNLOCKING THE CAGE, and NOTHING LEFT UNSAID: GLORIA VANDERBILT & ANDERSON COOPER. Her extensive Sundance alum credits most recently include last year’s GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF, LARRY KRAMER IN LOVE & ANGER, KURT COBAIN: MONTAGE OF HECK, and THE JINX: THE LIFE AND DEATHS OF ROBERT DURST. HBO’s Bernstein serves in the same capacity for MAPPLETHORPE and UNLOCKING THE CAGE. Most recent alumni credits include executive producing COBAIN, and senior producing THE CASE AGAINST 8 (2014) and WHICH WAY IS THE FRONT LINE FROM HERE? (2013).

Editor: M Watanabe Milmore; Supervising Editor: Geof Bartz
Milmore previously cut past Sundance titles METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER (2004) and PARADISE LOST (1996), while Bartz’s Sundance credits include LARRY KRAMER IN LOVE & ANGER (2015), BOY INTERRUPTED (2009), HEAR AND NOW (2007), and STRIPPER (1986), among others.

Why You Should Watch:
Demonstrating just how important one’s public persona can be to self-esteem, Benjamin’s survey of Bindle & Keep’s work and philosophy proves eye-opening. The tailoring duo’s desire to make their clientele just feel good in their own clothes – and, by extension, in their own bodies – comes through in warm profiles that showcase how something that most people take for granted – clothing – can have the most unexpected impact.

More Info:
Sundance’s Meet the Artists

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the link in the first paragraph.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance filmmaker class of 2016 Twitter list.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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