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Reader's Poll: The 25 Most Important LGBT Filmmakers

By /bent | /Bent June 9, 2014 at 3:24PM

In the second of 10 lists announcing the results of our first annual Reader's Poll, we count down the 25 most important LGBT filmmakers since Stonewall, according to you.
19
Gus Van Sant

June is Pride Month, commemorating the 1969 Stonewall riots and asking all of us to remember how we got where we are today. So we thought it might be fun to start up an annual Pride Month poll here at /bent, asking our readers to tell us the films, television shows, songs and people (both fictional and real) that have been important to them in the past 45 years. 

READ MORE: Reader's Poll: The 25 Most Important LGBT Films

Seventy-two people responded, and we'll be sharing the results over the next few weeks, with the second poll up today: The most important LGBT filmmakers of the last 45 years. 

Now, before we get to the results: We do realize doing this kind of thing is highly subjective, which is why we're going with "most important" and not "best." We hoped that what resulted was eclectic mix of filmmakers that have helped shape the queer cultural landscape. And we think it really is. But here are some interesting things to note before you go through the list: 

  • The "points" listed next to each film refers to the way we tabulated things. People voted in top 10 lists, so if the film was #1, it got 10 points, #2 got 9 points, etc. 
  • The top two choices were somewhat obvious (and scored miles ahead of their competitors), and had quite a heated showdown between them. In the end only 16 points separated #1 and #2, but there were over 100 points between #2 and #3.
  • The most fascinating thing as far as we're concerned? So many of these filmmakers did not have films on our top 25 "most important" LGBT films from a few days back. In fact, 7 of the top 10 did not and over half the list overall didn't.
  • As expected, queer men made up for the vast majority with 21 (of 26 -- one listed were a male team).  Though in those polled's defence: Its not your fault that the vast majority of filmmakers you have to pick from are queer men. 
  • Four women made the list (including one trans woman), but only one in the top 10.
  • Ten of the filmmakers on the list are not American-born.
  • Ten of the filmmakers were born in the 1960s, the most represented decade in that regard by double. Five came out of the 1950s, and 4 each came out of the 1940s and 1970s. Two were born in the 1920s, and one -- by far the youngest filmmaker on this list (guess who!) -- was born in 1989.
  • Filmmakers that emerged out of the late 1980s/early 1990s "new queer cinema" were all over this list, making up half the top 10.
  • Only three filmmakers on this list have directed films that have grossed over $100 million, and they are oddly enough tied for 24th place, with the other sitting atop the list at #1.
  • Only three of them have seen their films nominated for a best picture Oscar, while another (all different) three have won at least one Oscar.
  • And in case you're curious, the 10 runner-ups, in order of votes, were: Kenneth Anger, Ira Sachs, Tom Kalin, Donna Dietch, John Schlesinger, John Greyson, Cheryl Dunye, Patricia Rozema, Roland Emmerich and Bill Condon. 

So without further adieu, we present the 25 most important LGBT filmmakers, according to you. Definitely use the comments section to discuss your thoughts and/or your own choices, but remember - these were your picks - do don't blame us if your offended about their quality or lack of diversity through the LGBT spectrum.

24 (tie). Bryan Singer - 26 points
Born: 1965 in New York, New York
Debut Film: "The Usual Suspects" (1995)

Most Important LGBT Film (According To You):  Singer hasn't really made any explicitly LGBT films, though 2 points went to "X2: X-Men United" (2003) anyway, which has very much been read as an allegory for gay rights.


24 (tie). Lana Wachowski - 26
Born: 1965 in Chicago, Illinois
Debut Film: "Bound" (1996)

Most Important LGBT Film (According To You):  "Bound" (1996)


23. Isaac Julien - 30
Born: 1960 in London, England
Debut Film: "Who Killed Colin Roach?" (1993)

Most Important LGBT Film (According To You):  "Young Soul Rebels" (1991)


22. Rose Troche - 31
Born: 1964 in Chicago, Illinois
Debut Film: "Go Fish" (1994)

Most Important LGBT Film (According To You):  "Go Fish" (1994)


21. Kimberly Peirce - 34
Born: 1967 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Debut Film: "Boys Don't Cry" (1999)

Most Important LGBT Film (According To You):  "Boys Don't Cry" (1999)