Henry Gamble's Birthday Party

DIRECTOR: Stephen Cone

West Coast Premiere

Expected to attend: Director Stephen Cone, Producer Shane Simmons

This tender and charming new feature from Stephen Cone (The Wise Kids, Frameline36) unfolds over a 24-hour period in the life of Henry Gamble, on the occasion of his 17th birthday. Henry is the likable son of a newly ordained pastor at a large evangelical church, and the lives of his family and friends are deeply embedded within a squeaky clean devotional world of faith. At Henry’s party, the Gambles’ well-appointed home welcomes a friendly gaggle of hormonal teenagers from both church and Henry’s non-denominational high school, as well as earnest young adult church counselors and congregational elders—all striving to define on their own terms an acceptable balance between reverence and frolicking. The restrained passions of this gathering unravel over the afternoon, as lithe, entangling young limbs stir the waters of the backyard pool and an advantageous box of wine loosens the spirits of the flock. The caprice of sexual explorations, metaphysical frustrations, and decidedly earthly fervors bubble up through fissures of the soul, as whispered secrets grow louder and undercurrents of pristinely constructed lives come to the surface. Director Cone’s eloquent framing and non-judgmental tone create an intimate, empathetic glimpse into the lives of pious people struggling against temporal temptations. Set to a soaring synth-pop soundtrack that spans the decades and featuring naturalistic performances from a winning cast of fresh faces, Henry Gamble’s 17th proves to be one unforgettable birthday party.

— Leah LoSchiavo

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: F114

Co-presented by:
Level Ground

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