The Continental

(USA, Canada, 2013, 95 mins)


* VIFC Guest + Volunteer Passes are not valid for Best Of Hot Docs Series

In 1968, homosexuality was illegal in NYC. Gay bars were dark, dirty, dangerous and mostly controlled by the syndicate. But then along came Steve Ostrow, opera singer and entrepreneur, with a grand vision. From the minute Ostrow opened the elegant Continental Bath and Health Club in the legendary Ansonia Hotel, it was a beacon for the hip, the beautiful and the infamous. With a cabaret stage featuring red hot performers like Bette Midler and Labelle, straight high society, celebs and hunky men in towels jammed into the same room, bringing gays into the open and ultimately playing a critical role in overturning anti-gay laws. Director Malcolm Ingram deftly weaves Ostrow’s astonishingly frank stories with those of luminaries like author Edmund White, singer Sarah Dash from Labelle, Warhol superstar Holly Woodlawn, and house music inventor Frankie Knuckles into a smart, steamy and political history of the hypersexual culture in the era before AIDS. (Lynne Fernie)

"Documentary gold. 4 stars." Glenn Sumi, Now magazine

"Intimate and fascinating… a slice of social and pop history that demands to be consumed." David Voigt, Examiner

"It’s a great story made even greater by Malcolm Ingram’s first-rate feature." Greg Klymkiw.