The sensational winner of the Grand Jury Prize for documentary at this year's Sundance Film Festival, Boys State is a wildly entertaining and continually 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. Apple and A24 present Boys State, a Concordia Studio production.
The film is directed and produced by Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss through their Mile End Films. The film’s executive producers are Laurene Powell Jobs, Davis Guggenheim, Jonathan Silberberg and Nicole Stott. Shannon Dill serves as co-executive producer. The filmmaking team includes editor Jeff Gilbert, director of photography Thorsten Thielow and composer T. Griffin.