watch Pageant trailer


USA, 2008, 100 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Documentary, Drag, Gay
Program: Documentary
Language: English

DIRECTORS: Ron Davis, Stewart Halpern

What do a flight attendant, a landscape architect and a devoted father all have in common? In the fun and fascinating world of Pageant, it’s an unbridled fervor for performing, a commitment to entertainment excellence and a passion for evening gowns.
Taking us behind the glitz and glamour of the 34th annual Miss Gay America, filmmakers Ron Davis and Stewart Halpern focus on five female impersonators as they descend on Memphis, Tennessee to strut their stuff and compete against 45 other contestants. The amazing physical transformation of these men into glamorous women is a wonder to behold. No hormones or body enhancements are allowed, which means these au natural drag queens become beautiful the old-fashioned way: with duct tape and lots of makeup.
But it’s the film’s focus on the people under the mascara that makes Pageant truly resonate. Interviews with the contestants and their supportive friends and family provide moving insights and intriguing details about what motivates them. Soon the real-life drama of the competition takes over as we watch extravagant performances and frantic costume changes, wondering who will walk away with the coveted crown. More than an immensely engaging story about men in women’s clothing, Pageant is an inspirational story about the power of chasing your dreams and the beauty of being yourself. — BRENDAN PETERSON


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