SXSW Audience Award winner The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin, directed by Jennifer M. Kroot, premieres on Independent Lens January 1, 2018 on PBS.
Kroot’s documentary plumbs the life and work of one of the world’s most successful gay storytellers, following his evolution from a conservative son of the Old South into a gay rights pioneer whose novels have been called “an inspiration.” The film is said by turns to be “playful to poignant, and wildly funny.” Alongside longtime friends — including Neil Gaiman, Laura Linney, Olympia Dukakis, Sir Ian McKellen and Amy Tan — Maupin offers a frank look at the journey that took him from the jungles of Vietnam to the bathhouses of ’70s San Francisco to the frontlines of America’s ongoing culture wars.
Maupin was born in Washington, D.C., in 1944 but grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, he served as a naval officer in the Mediterranean and with the River Patrol Force in Vietnam. Maupin worked as a reporter for a newspaper in Charleston, South Carolina, before being assigned to the San Francisco bureau of the Associated Press in 1971. In 1976 he launched his groundbreaking “Tales of the City” serial in The San Francisco Chronicle.
He is also the author of nine novels, including the six-volume “Tales of the City” series, “Maybe the Moon,” “The Night Listener” and, most recently, “Michael Tolliver Lives.”
“Jennifer Kroot’s documentary — alternately warm, heartbreaking, and laugh-out-loud funny — reveals how Maupin became one of the first gay writers to attain crossover status,” said Lois Vossen, Independent Lens executive producer. “For those who know ‘Tales of the City’ – the books or television series – the documentary offers a frank look at Maupin’s unlikely personal trajectory. For those who don’t, it’s a fascinating introduction to an extraordinary man and a crash course in the evolution of left-right culture clash that continues to this day.”
Visit the Untold Tales page on Independent Lens, which features more information about the film. The film will be available for online viewing on the site beginning January 2.
Last modified: November 10, 2017