1091 Media, the distribution company formerly known as The Orchard, has released several narrative films and documentaries both as The Orchard and as 1091 Media. LGBTQ-inclusive highlights of the past include 2017’s BPM (Beats per Minute), a film following French HIV and AIDS activists; Thelma, a thriller from Norway following a queer woman; 2018’s We The Animals, a story of a young queer Latinx boy coming of age; and 2019’s Hurley, following a famous racecar driver who came out as gay years later. In 2020, 1091 Media released Seahorse, a documentary that followed Freddy, a trans man who wanted to start a family and carried the baby himself. They also released CRSHD, a film following three college students attempting to hook up with their crushes, one of whom was a queer girl Fiona who successfully began a relationship with her crush Elise.
Breaking Glass Pictures
Founded in 2009, Breaking Glass Pictures distributes independent films both theatrically and on demand. Each year, they release several LGBTQ-inclusive films, including past films such as Call Her Ganda (2018), a documentary following the murder of a trans woman in the Philippines by a U.S. Marine; Kanarie (2019), the story of a young singer in South Africa who gets drafted into the military and discovers his identity as a queer man; and Socrates (2019), a film from Brazil about a queer teenager who must learn to live on his own. In 2020, Breaking Glass released The Goddess of Fortune, an Italian film about a gay couple who takes in their friend’s kids when she is in the hospital and heal their relationship in the process. Other LGBTQ releases include Song Lang, Rialto, and Kill the Monsters.
Since 1999, IFC films has been distributing independent film, including horror films from its branch IFC Midnight, and festival favorites under Sundance Selects. Some LGBTQ-inclusive films over the years from IFC include queer dramas Weekend (2011) and Jenny’s Wedding (2015); A Kid Like Jake, a family drama from Silas Howard; and 2019’s historical drama Vita and Virginia. In 2020, IFC films released Summerland, a drama following a woman who takes in a young boy and the act becomes a connection to romance with another woman from her past. IFC also released How To Build a Girl, which followed a woman coming of age and growing as a writer, and included her relationship her brother who is gay. The narrator of biopic Tesla ended up with another woman at the end of the film, and romance Olympic Dreams features a sizable role from out athlete Gus Kenworthy as himself.
Music Box Films
Specializing in independent and foreign film, Music Box Films has been releasing films in theaters and on demand since 2007. Past inclusive releases include the original Swedish-language version of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) and its subsequent sequels, which features a bisexual lead, and the 2016 Emily Dickinson biopic A Quiet Passion. In 2020, Music Box released And Then We Danced, a film that follows a young Georgian dancer who develops feelings for another boy who is a dancer, while struggling with the masculinity of the traditional dance form itself.
One of the newer distributors, NEON has been releasing acclaimed independent films since 2017. One of its biggest critical successes is the release of 2019’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire, a French romance where a woman falls in love with the woman she has been commissioned to paint. In 2020, NEON released Ammonite, the story of a geologist in 19th century England who becomes a caretaker for a younger woman before they begin a romance.
Samuel Goldwyn Films
Samuel Goldwyn Films, founded by the son of legendary producer Samuel Goldwyn, has been releasing independent art house film since 1998. Past LGBTQ-inclusive releases include GLAAD Media Award nominees Saturday Church (2018), following a queer Black teen in New York, finding chosen family in the queer and trans community; and This is Not Berlin (2019), which follows a queer Mexican teen discovering himself through Punk and New Wave music. In 2020, Samuel Goldwyn released To the Stars, a film set in the 1960s about a lonely girl who finds a friend in the queer new student; Extracurricular, a thriller centered on a group of high school students who plan a murder, one of whom is a lesbian; and Triggered, a horror film about a group of friends who are forced to be strapped to ticking time bombs. Unfortunately, all three of these films disappointingly share a common plot point: queer characters either dying or being presumed dead by the end of the film.
Founded in 1989, Strand Releasing started as a distribution company specifically for LGBTQ films. They have since expanded their repertoire to release all kinds of films, but still release several LGBTQ-inclusive films each year. Inclusive films of the past include Gregg Araki’s road trip drama The Living End (1992); romantic drama Yossi and Jagger (2002); and documentary Mala Mala (2014), exploring the queer trans community in Puerto Rico. In 2020, Strand Releasing released Monsoon, a GLAAD Media Award nominee about a gay man returning to Vietnam after years away who falls in love with an artist he meets there. Strand also released Straight Up, a comedy following a gay man with OCD who strikes up a connection with a woman and questions his sexuality; and José, a Guatemalan drama following a young gay man who has to balance his commitments to his family and a new relationship.
Founded in 2012, Vertical Entertainment distributes independent film in theaters and on demand. In 2016, Vertical released Other People, a GLAAD Media Award-winning film that followed a gay comedy writer taking care of his mother who was diagnosed with cancer. In 2020, Vertical released the GLAAD Media Award nominated film The True Adventures of Wolfboy, a story about a teenage boy with wolf-like qualities who runs away from home and befriends a transgender girl who dreams of being a singer. Written by trans screenwriter Olivia Dufault, the film is the rare transition narrative from a transgender point of view. The studio also released Human Capital, a thriller that includes a teen boy coming out as gay.
Wolfe Releasing has been distributing films since 1985, making it the oldest North American studio to exclusively distribute LGBTQ film. Past releases from Wolfe include 2004’s Brother to Brother, a groundbreaking look at Black gay culture in the Harlem Renaissance; Tomboy (2011) which follows a French gender non-conforming child; and Naz and Maalik (2015), a coming-of-age story about two Black gay teenagers. In 2020, Wolfe released An Almost Ordinary Summer, which follows an older gay Italian couple who gather their families to tell them they are together. Wolfe also released Good Kisser, a film that follows a lesbian couple who seeks out a third person, only for problems to arise in their relationship.