Contemplative and gorgeous, The Royal Road is an innovative, cinematic feature shot on 16mm film. Deceptively simple California urban landscapes become the framework for the film’s lyrically written voiceover: an expression of yearning butch lesbian desire and candid self-reflection interspersed with a stream-of-consciousness array of non-fiction tangents including an exploration of El Camino Real (the original road connecting California’s Missions during the era of Spanish and Mexican rule), a reflection on the life story of Casanova, a capsule history of the Mexican-American War and a defense of nostalgia. The film’s centerpiece is a brilliant five-minute lecture on nostalgia and socialism by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner.
This bold, innovative film from acclaimed San Francisco filmmaker Jenni Olson combines rigorous historical research with lyrically written personal monologue and relates these seemingly disparate stories from an intimate, colloquial perspective to tell a one-of-a-kind California tale.
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WOULD YOU LIKE TO MAKE A DONATION?
You can click through to Make a Tax-Deductible Online Donation to The Royal Road (a fiscally sponsored project at the San Francisco Film Society). You can also mail a donation check (with "Jenni Olson's The Royal Road" in the memo field) to:
San Francisco Film Society
39 Mesa Street, Suite 110
San Francisco, CA 94129-1025
For even more info about the project please check out our Kickstarter campaign page to see how we raised more than $20,000 in production funds!
Writer-Director-Producer Jenni Olson has been programming, researching, collecting, creating, and writing about lesbian, gay, bi and transgender (LGBT) film since 1986 and is one of the world's leading experts on LGBT cinema history. Her debut feature film, The Joy of Life is an experimental documentary that explores butch identity and the history of suicide and the Golden Gate Bridge. The film world premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and went on to play a pivotal role in renewing debate about the need for a suicide barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as garnering praise from critics and audiences around the globe for its unique storytelling style. As a film collector and archivist Jenni’s historical movie trailer programs have been shown at film festivals around the world, as have her many short films and videos — including her short cinematic elegy to Harvey Milk, 575 Castro St. which was commissioned by FilmInFocus.com for the release of Gus Van Sant’s Milk and premiered at Sundance and Berlin in 2009. The film can be seen in a permanent installation at the HRC Action Center & Store (at 575 Castro St. in San Francisco) as well as online at the official Milk website and on the Sundance YouTube Screening Room page. In addition to working on her own creative endeavors, she continues to serve as an advisor to many other filmmakers on a variety of projects as well as championing LGBT films and filmmakers on a daily basis in her job as VP of e-commerce and consumer marketing at Wolfe Video. Her personal blog can be found at Butch.org.
Our enormously talented production team also includes:
Producer: Julie Dorf
Additional Voiceover: Tony Kushner
Cinematographer: Sophie Constantinou
Editor: Marc Henrich
Sound Editor: Jim Lively
Second Cinematographers: Alison Kelly, Abigail Severance
Executive Producer: Tom Rielly
Associate Producer: Paul Lee
And dozens of other helpful and fabulous people.