The first trailer for Boys State earns our vote. This ferocious documentary was the talk of the town at this year’s Sundance Film Festival where it scooped the Grand Jury Prize for US documentary and scored a headline-making distribution deal. Apple TV+ unveiled the Boys State trailer ahead of its August 14 release. The film also opens theatrically in the States via A24.
Boys State showcases the art of cinema verité at its finest. Directors Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine observe the raucous week-long camp in which 1100+ aspiring politicians form a mock government. Through the eyes of four participants, the film captures the polarisation of contemporary US politics. However, the campers offer hope for the future, too, as progressive ideals endure bitter campaigns and Instagram takedowns.
Boys State is a wildly entertaining and revealing immersion into a week-long annual program in which a thousand Texas high school seniors gather for an elaborate mock exercise: building their own state government. Filmmakers Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine closely track the escalating tensions that arise within a particularly riveting gubernatorial race, training their cameras on unforgettable teenagers like Ben, a Reagan-loving arch-conservative who brims with confidence despite personal setbacks, and Steven, a progressive-minded child of Mexican immigrants who stands by his convictions amidst the sea of red. In the process, they have created a complex portrait of contemporary American masculinity, as well as a microcosm of our often dispiriting national political divisions that nevertheless manages to plant seeds of hope.
Boys State opens in select theaters on July 31 and debuts globally on Apple TV+ on August 14.