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Boys State poster.

Bill Lancaster, Principal Lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies, had the opportunity to sit down with the producers who shot the newly released Boys State, the winner of the Grand Jury Prize for documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The film immerses its audiences into a week-long annual program in which a thousand Texas high school seniors gather for an elaborate mock exercise: building their own state government.

In Boys State, Jesse Moss (Director/Producer/Cinematographer) and Amanda McBaine (Director/Producer) closely track the escalating tensions that arise within a particularly riveting gubernatorial race, training their cameras on unforgettable teenagers like Ben, a Reagan-loving arch-conservative who brims with confidence despite personal setbacks, and Steven, a progressive-minded child of Mexican immigrants who stands by his convictions amidst the sea of red. In the process, they have created a complex portrait of contemporary American masculinity, as well as a microcosm of our often dispiriting national political divisions that nevertheless manages to plant seeds of hope. Boys State is an Apple Original Film and A24 release.

Professor Lancaster interviewed Moss and McBaine on October 6, which is followed by a film screening to Northeastern students on October 26. Students who want to see the film should contact Sophie Weaver ([email protected]) by 8 p.m. Thursday, October 22. The film will be distributed to students via their individual email addresses.

More About Jesse Moss & Amanda McBaine

Jesse Moss is an acclaimed documentary filmmaker. His films include The Overnighters (Sundance Special Jury Prize for Intuitive Filmmaking), recognized by many critics as the top documentary of 2014; The Bandit; Full Battle Rattle (SXSW Special Jury Prize); Speedo: A Demolition Derby Love Story; and Con Man. His recent work includes, in collaboration with Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions, the “Payday” episode of the Netflix series “Dirty Money,” and “The Family,” a five-part series, also for Netflix, about an enigmatic and influential Christian organization, based on Jeff Sharlet’s bestselling book. His recent short film “La Boca Del Lobo” for the New York Times Op Doc series, about the impact of immigration-related arrests on the Hispanic community in Atlanta, marked his first collaboration with Concordia Studio. As a producer, his films include Gay Chorus Deep South (2019 Tribeca Audience Award) and William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe (Sundance 2010). He frequently works with his wife and co-conspirator Amanda McBaine.

Amanda McBaine is a Sundance Award-winning producer making her feature directing debut with Boys State. As a producer, her films include The Overnighters, The Bandit, Speedo and Ghosts of Attica. Along with her husband and creative partner Jesse Moss, she is a partner in Mile End Films, a San Francisco-based production company.