KEEP THE LIGHTS ON wins the two top prizes at Outfest. The film, by Ira Sachs, received the Grand Jury Awards for Outstanding U.S. Dramatic Feature Film and Outstanding Screenwriting.
At the conclusion of Outfest, the nation’s leading LGBT festival, KEEP THE LIGHTS ON, directed by Ira Sachs, won the festival’s Grand Jury Award for Outstanding U.S. Dramatic Feature Film. “The film resonated with us for its confidence, complexity and emotional intelligence,” the jury stated.
The film also received the Outstanding Screenwriting prize for the film’s script, penned by Sachs and Mauricio Zacharis, “for masterfully constructing an emotionally honest portrait of a relationship that spans the better part of a decade and artfully weaving the mundane and the momentous.” The jury included Acquisitions and Co-Productions Consultant Matt Brodlie, AFI Fest Director Jacqueline Lyanga and Cinematographer Alison Kelly.
“It is a great honor to be given this Award, and to be recognized in this way by the Jury and Outfest,” said Sachs, “My hope is that this film, and now this recognition from Outfest, will encourage audiences to talk about what is -- and what is not -- working in our community, and in our lives. And that as individuals we strive to continue to walk out of the closets we construct for ourselves -- out of fear, and out of shame -- and to live our lives more honestly, more transparently, and with all the lights on.”
Also having won the prestigious Teddy Award at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, KEEP THE LIGHTS ON is an autobiographically inspired story of a passionate long-term relationship between two men driven apart by addiction and secrets. Documentary filmmaker Erik (acclaimed Danish actor Thure Lindhardt in his first leading role in a U.S. film) and closeted lawyer Paul (Zachary Booth, Damages) meet through a casual encounter, but soon find a deeper connection and become a couple. Individually and together, they are risk takers—compulsive, and fueled by drugs and sex. In an almost decade-long relationship defined by highs, lows, and dysfunctional patterns, Erik struggles to negotiate his own boundaries and dignity while being true to himself.
In the current issue of Cahiers du Cinema, Editor-in-Chief Stéphane Delorme states, “When they raised the lights after Ira Sachs's KEEP THE LIGHTS ON, we had the feeling that this was exactly what we had wanted to see in competition in Cannes this year,” going on to call it “what could possibly be the best American film of the year.”
KEEP THE LIGHTS ON releases theatrically on September 7th.