9 LGBTQ+ films and series to stream this Pride month

Many members of our Pickle community turn to art as a way to celebrate their identities. While some Pride events for this year have been postponed until the fall or are continuing in a modified way, we have rounded up a streaming list to check out from home or on the go.

Below, you'll find films and series that our talented alumni helped to create. They feature prominent LGBTQ+ main characters and/or themes, in the hopes that members of our community can feel seen and represented through art.  

1. “Euphoria” - HBO Max

A series that explores what life can be like for the modern teenager, “Euphoria” has received rave reviews from critics for its cinematography, acting, production and handling of mature content. Series lead Zendaya who plays Rue Bennet is the youngest person to ever receive the Emmy award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama series. 

High school Visual Arts alumna Hunter Schafer stars as Jules Vaughn, a friend and love interest of main character Rue Bennet. Schafer also served as a writer for the special episode "F*** Anyone Who's Not a Sea Blob - Part Two: Jules,” released in January 2021. 

2. “Sense8” - Netflix

A science fiction drama, “Sense8” tells the story of eight strangers from around the world who are suddenly reborn as “sensate,” meaning they are connected psychically and can share knowledge, language and skills. Throughout the series, the group works to help each other overcome personal obstacles and evade abduction.

Drama alumnus Terrence Mann plays villain “Whispers,” who tries to capture members of the eight. 

3. “Master of None” - Netflix

While the first two seasons of “Master of None” primarily follow series creator and actor Aziz Ansari in his role as Dev Shah, the recently-released third season centers around Dev’s friend Denise, played by Lena Waithe, and Denise’s wife Alicia, played by Naomi Ackie. The season follows the couple as they deal with their relationship and struggles as they try to have a baby.

Filmmaking alumnus Cody Beke served as casting director for the series. 

4. “One Day at a Time” - Netflix

Immigration, racism, PTSD, sexual orientation and gender identity are just a few of the topics addressed in this reboot of a 1970s show of the same name. A comedy/drama series that follows a Cuban-American multigenerational family living in Los Angeles, “One Day at a Time” has been praised by critics for both its writing and ensemble.

Drama alumna Tiffany Little Canfield served as casting director for the series.  

Editor’s note: “One Day at a Time” was also recommended by Filmmaking faculty member Joy Goodwin in “15 shows created by women you need to know.”

5. “Indoor Boys” - series webpage

This comedy web series follows two homebody roommates figuring out the boundaries of their no-boundaries friendship. The third season of "Indoor Boys" won six 2020 Indie Series Awards, including Best Comedy Series and actress Veanne Cox received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination in the Best Supporting Actress in a Digital Series category for her work on the show.

Drama alumni featured in the series include Wesley Taylor as Luke, Issac Powell as Logan in six episodes, Erich Bergen as Rodney in one episode, Will Rives as Rocky in one episode and Ciera Payton as Alyssa in one episode. Wesley Taylor also serves as co-creator, producer and writer for the series. 

6. “Orange is the New Black” - Netflix

Showing life inside a women’s federal prison, “Orange is the New Black” is one of Netflix’s most watched original series. Based on a memoir of the same name, the fictionalized series is celebrated for its diverse casting and storytelling while following main character Piper Chapman through her time in prison. 

During the series, Filmmaking alumnus Michael Brake served as music editor, Drama alumnus Stephen Geiger served as lead scenic artist and Design and Production alumna Frances Smith served as a set dresser.

7. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” - Netflix

An adaptation of the August Wilson play of the same name, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is based on 1920s blues singer Ma Rainey, played by Viola Davis. Dubbed the “Mother of Blues,” Rainey is considered a black LGBTQ icon of the early 1900s. 

Dance alumna Camille A. Brown created the stylized choreography for this Academy Award-winning film, while producing alumna Gilana Lobel served as production supervisor. 

8. “Angels in America” - HBO Max

Based on Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name, “Angels in America'' is a miniseries about the intersecting lives of six New Yorkers in 1985 during the midst of the AIDS epidemic. It is one of only two series to ever receive a “full sweep” at the Primetime Emmy Awards, winning “Outstanding Limited Series,” all four primary acting awards and the major categories for writing, directing, art direction and casting.

Drama alumna Mary-Louise Parker plays agoraphobic Mormon housewife Harper Pitt, who often has drug-induced hallucinations. 

9. “Hearts Beat Loud” - Hulu

A feel-good story about a Brooklyn-based musician and record store owner Frank (Nick Offerman) and his studious daughter Sam (Kiersey Clemons), “Hearts Beat Loud” is set during the summer before Sam leaves for college in California. After a song they record for fun goes viral, Frank tries to convince Sam to start a band with him and create more music.

This film is packed with alumni connections, starting with film alumnus Brett Haley who served as writer and director. Drama alumni connections throughout the film include Linda Lee McBride as Callie, Alex Reznik as Professor Berg, Micheal Abbot, Jr. as Emcee, Quincy Dunn-Baker as Ryan and casting director Tiffany Little Canfield. Additional film alumni include Abraham Bengio as assistant to the producer, Dustin Bricker as script super and Zach Seivers as re-recording mixer, sound designer and supervising sound editor. 

Bonus: Ryan Murphy Productions - Netflix

Writer, director and producer Ryan Murphy is widely considered one of the most well known content creators of our time. A majority of his work has focused on telling stories surrounding people of marginalized identities. Below are a few of his most notable films and series, available to stream on Netflix, that have UNCSA alumni connections: 

  • “Pose” is set in the underground drag ballroom scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s and tells the story of Black and Latinx trans and gender non-conforming performers. The series is notable for having the most trans actors ever in a scripted television series. Design and Production stage management alumnus Tanase Popa has been with Ryan Murphy Productions since 2014 and served as a producer for “Pose.”
  • “Glee” is a musical comedy/drama that follows the story of a high school Glee Club that competes with other show choirs while also exploring a wide range of social issues. Tanase Popa served as assistant to the executive producers. 
  • “Hollywood” follows actors and filmmakers during the Golden Age of Hollywood. The mini-series explores different social and political aspects of the era while reimagining events that could have happened in a more accepting world. Tanase Popa served as a producer and Drama alumnus Joe Mantello plays Dick Samuels.
  • “The Boys in the Band” is a film adaptation of a 1968 play of the same name by Mart Crowley. The film takes place over the course of one night while nine friends attend a birthday party and share secrets. Tanase Popa served as a producer and Joe Mantello directed this film. 
  • “Ratched” is based on the life of Nurse Mildred Ratched from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” A suspenseful drama series, “Ratched” was praised in particular for its acting, costuming, production design and cinematography. Tansase Popa served as a producer, wig and makeup design alumnus Johan Teng worked on prosthetics and filmmaking production design alumna Lorr Volatier served as the art department production assistant.  
  • “The Prom” follows a group of washed up Broadway actors who rally to support a small town Indiana high school student who is barred from bringing her girlfriend to prom. Tanase Popa served as a producer.
  • “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” shows the events leading up to and after Andrew Cunanan murdered famous fashion designer Gianni Versace in 1997. Tanase Popa served as an executive producer. 
  • “Halston,” the newest series from Ryan Murphy Productions, is based on the life of fashion designer Halston who first gained notoriety for designing Jackie Kennedy’s pillbox hat. Tanase Popa served as co-executive producer. 

by Melissa Upton-Julio

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June 03, 2021