Directed by Arthur J. Bressan, Jr. • Documentary • 1977 • 72 minutes
Beautifully restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive in collaboration with Frameline and Outfest, Gay USA is the first American feature-length documentary by and about LGBTQ+ people. Director Arthur J. Bressan, Jr. (best known for his 1985 gay drama Buddies) mobilized camera crews across the country to document the national Gay Freedom Day marches in June of 1977. Gay USA conveys the passion, anger, and defiant optimism of a community under attack. In addition to the magnificent cross-section of footage from the marches in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego, and Philadelphia, Gay USA also gives us a fantastic look at rare footage shot by Lilli Vincenz of the very first gay pride parade in New York City in 1970.
Gay USA offers a vibrant and beautiful snapshot of an incredible year in LGBTQ+ history and it conveys a powerful message of hope to contemporary viewers.
"When the Anita Bryant debacle happened I was hurled into making this political documentary. My naive dream was that if we all saw ourselves in our numbers we would never buy into the guilt trip again. Not from Anita Bryant or from [NYC] Mayor Koch or from Cardinal Cook. Not even from AIDS ..." —Director, Arthur J. Bressan, Jr.