New Restoration Trailer for Iconic Ballroom Culture Documentary ‘Paris Is Burning’

Written by Steven Lee on May 20, 2019 

Premiering nearly three decades ago, Paris Is Burning was one of the most influential documentaries of the 1990s, spotlighting ballroom culture in all its glory and now it’s been restored for a theatrical release this summer. Ahead of the release, a new trailer has been released, featuring no shortage of unforgettable moments with certain ball stars you might be familiar with such as Angie Xtravaganza, Pepper LaBeija, Dorian Corey and Octavia St-Laurent. Directed by Jennie Livingston, the documentary was filmed during the 1980s, and it showcased the joy and struggles these performers were going through. Even if the movie came out many decades ago, it still holds up by teaching viewers the true meaning of gender, race, and class in the tumultuous time of the AIDS crisis.

An impactful celebration about being yourself, Paris Is Burning is an insightful documentary about developing and honoring your own identity, clearly holding up decades later. Remastered by the UCLA Television Archive in conjunction with the Sundance Institute and Outfest UCLA, its restoration run begins on June 14 in NYC, just in time for Pride month. See the new trailer below courtesy of Janus Films.

Where does voguing come from, and what, exactly, is throwing shade? This landmark documentary provides a vibrant snapshot of the 1980s through the eyes of New York City’s African American and Latinx Harlem drag ball scene. Made over seven years, Paris Is Burning offers an intimate portrait of rival fashion “houses,” from fierce contests for trophies, to house mothers offering sustenance in a world rampant with homophobia and transphobia, racism, AIDS, and poverty. Featuring legendary voguers, drag queens, and trans women — including Willi Ninja, Pepper LaBeija, Dorian Corey, and Venus Xtravaganza — Paris Is Burning brings it, celebrating the joy of movement, the force of eloquence, and the draw of community.

Paris Is Burning opens on June 14 at NYC’s Film Forum Forum and on July 5 at LA’s Nuart Theatre, with more dates to follow.


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