Boys State: Exclusive Free Screening for Hot Docs Members This Sunday

The War Room Meets Lord of the Flies

Hot Docs is teaming up with Apple and A24 to present the international premiere of Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss’s brilliant documentary, Boys State.

Boys State, a Hot Docs 2020 official selection, will screen for Hot Docs members on Sunday, June 21, at 4:30PM, followed by a live Q&A with the film’s directors. The live streaming event will take place in the Apple TV+ Premieres Screening Room.

Boys State made its world premiere at Sundance this past January. The politically-minded doc centres on a Texas-based program that brings together a thousand high school seniors each year to take part in a mock campaign and create their own government.

Boys State won Sundance’s illustrious Grand Jury Prize, and having seen the film last January, I get why. This movie is riveting, even if you’re not into politics.


McBaine and Moss populate their doc with a fascinating cast of characters. Over several weeks, these well-meaning teenagers create a microcosm of America’s flawed political system. Their efforts are at once inspiring and frustrating, but always intriguing.

Think of the doc as Lord of the Flies meets The War Room. Yeah, it’s that damn good.

Boys State synopsis:

Boys State is a political coming-of-age story, examining the health of American democracy through an unusual experiment: a thousand 17-year-old boys from across Texas gather together to build a representative government from the ground up. High-minded ideals collide with low-down dirty tricks as four boys of diverse backgrounds and political views navigate the challenges of organizing political parties, shaping consensus, and campaigning for the highest office at Texas Boys State–governor.

Here is That Shelf’s Managing Editor Jason Gorber’s thoughts on the movie.

Boys State video review:

Free tickets are available to members on a first-come, first-served basis starting today at