COLLEGE PARK (12/5/19) — “Queen of the Capital,” the first documentary by University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism faculty member Josh Davidsburg ’01, has been selected to appear in the 2020 Slamdance Film Festival.
Slamdance showcases “raw and innovative filmmaking that lives and bleeds by its mantra: By Filmmakers, For Filmmakers,” according to the event’s website.
The festival will be held from Jan. 24-30 in Park City, Utah, at the same time and in the same city as Sundance Film Festival.
“Queen of the Capital” was one of nine documentaries selected to Slamdance, which received a record 8,231 submissions this year, according to Deadline.
Alumni of the festival include filmmakers Rian Johnson, Ari Aster, Gina Prince-Bythewood, the Russo Brothers, Bong Joon Ho, Lena Dunham, Jon M. Chu, Lynn Shelton and Christopher Nolan.
Davidsburg and a team of Merrill College alumni followed Daniel Hays for more than a year as his drag queen persona, Muffy Blake Stephyns, ran for empress of the Imperial Court of Washington, D.C. The court raises money for local organizations that support the LGBT community, HIV/AIDS services organizations, social service organizations and youth enrichment programs.
The project was born from a class assignment: After Brandi Vincent ’15 interviewed Muffy at D.C. Pride, she suggested Davidsburg — who was seeking a documentary project — meet the drag queen.
Sold on Muffy’s dynamic personality, Davidsburg recruited Alexander Glass ’14 as director of photography and Alanna Delfino ’15 to join Vincent as a producer. Filming began in 2014, followed by more than four years of fundraising and post production.
The film explores the history of drag in Washington and lifts the curtain on an elegant group of performers who care deeply for their community.