Youtube to premiere This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous at Sundance
James R | On 18, Jan 2017
YouTube is expanding its presence at Sundance Film Festival this year, with the premiere of This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous leading the way.
A year ago, the video site took to the festival to promote its first slate of original films for subscription service YouTube Red. It also introduced two new industry strands for the festival: Creators Intensive, a workshop that starts at Sundance to help selected YouTube creators develop new series and shorts for potential first-look deals with YouTube Originals; and its New Voices Lab.
Both of those will return this year for the second time, with creators selected for the workshop including Thomas “TomSka” Ridgewell, T Pindell, Eric Ochoa, Brittany Furlan, Tre Melvin, Mikey Murphy, Natalie Tran, Meredith Foster, Jenn McAllister and Adrian Bliss.
YouTube is also sponsoring the Shorts Program for the fifth year in a row, hosting the opening reception for the shorts strand at its YouTube House on Main Street – the hub where YouTube will hold screenings, panels, music performances and demos of Google’s VR headset, Daydream. Panels will include “A Conversation with Dan Harmon”, “How to Make Your Indie Rise in the Age of Digital”, and “New Voices in Comedy”, featuring creators such as Liza Koshy, Eva Gutowski and Rhett & Link. Sundance will also host a presentation called “YouTube and Using Your Platform for Change”, featuring Gigi Gorgeous, Tyler Oakley and VICE Impact leader Katherine Keating.
YouTube will be just as prominent on the red carpet, though, with the premiere of This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous on 24th January.
The documentary, directed by Barbara Kopple, follows the journey of Gigi Lazzarato, who began life as Gregory Lazzarato. In 2008, Lazzarato – a nationally-ranked Canadian diver – became the fierce, outspoken Gregory Gorgeous. Coming out as a gay male, it was in 2013 that the vlogger published a video called “I Am Transgender”, taking on the new name Gigi Gorgeous.
The movie offers a “candid look at her transition, sharing its hallmarks online with her legion of fans as she embraces a new world of possibilities”.
“It’s an honour,” YouTube Chief Marketing Officer Danielle Tiedt told Mashable. “And shows how YouTube has evolved from being known only for short form videos to a platform where some of today’s most innovative and risk-taking storytellers live.”
“We’ve always felt aligned to the goals of the Sundance Film Festival because at its core – both the Festival and YouTube celebrate the independent creator,” Tiedt added. “By having a meaningful presence, we hope to show our support for these artists and for innovative storytelling. Through our various activations, we hope to shine a spotlight on the Festival’s amazing storytellers and highlight how YouTube is a tremendous resource for the independent creative community.”
The movie will also have a week-long cinema release in New York, reports Variety, before going on to premiere on YouTube Red on 8th February.
“The team poured their hearts into the creation of this timely and moving documentary, and we are thrilled to share This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous with the world,” commented Susanne Daniels, Global Head of Original Content for YouTube. “Gigi’s story explores one of today’s most relevant social issues, and through Barbara Kopple’s powerful vision, we will feature nuanced documentarian storytelling and a rare look at Gigi’s incredible life journey. This film represents acceptance and belonging, and reminds us all about the meaning of love and family.”
The 2017 Sundance Film Festival runs from 19th January to 29th January. With Netflix, Amazon and more all in town looking to buy the next Manchester by the Sea, keep up to date with the latest VOD acquisitions here.
Photo: YouTube / Sundance