December 2014 News From The Sontag Film Team

December 2, 2014Sontag









Season’s Greetings! After a fantastic 2014, the team here at the Sontag film thought we would say hello and send along a project update. We also wanted to let supporters know about our upcoming national broadcast premiere on December 8th, 2014 at 9/8 pm central on HBO, HBOGO, and HBO ON-DEMAND.


REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG has been having an amazing festival run, having now screened in 29 countries since April, when we premiered the film at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, wowing audiences and taking home a Special Jury Mention. We have had recent screenings at the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, the Hawaii International Film Festival, and IDFA (the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, the world’s largest documentary film festival), among others; please see our website for a complete list of festivals. IDFA director Ally Derks picked REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG as one of the three “must-see” films of the 2014 festival, out of 300 documentaries. We were the opening night film at the Doku.Arts festival in Berlin in September—when both screenings sold out, the festival scheduled two additional screenings. The film received a Jury Special Mention at MIX Copenhagen and an Honorable Mention at Frameline, the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival. Team Sontag is very much looking forward to HBO broadcast premiere, shortly after two preview screenings at MOMA in New York City on December 5th and 6th.

Sontag awards





There has been a wonderful response to the film in the media, where it has been described as “compelling,” “perceptive” (New York Times), “striking” (, “enthralling” (Yahoo!), and a “must-see” (

I feel a bit sheepish about this, but as a result of the film and its success, I was named to the OUT 100, OUT magazine’s list of the “100 most intriguing” LGBT Americans. They dressed me up as Gertrude Stein, with my friend and colleague Cheryl Furjanic as Alice. Under normal circumstances, neither of us would ever be seen in a dress!Nancy & Cheryl

Here are some of our favorite press quotes:

Susan Sontag was one of the most influential literary, feminist and political icons of her time… Nancy Kates’s documentary, REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG, gives a vast look at the life of the cultural critic, from her personal love life to her bold, brilliant writings on art and politics.”
—Erin Whitney, Huffington Post

“The most compelling of several [Tribeca] biographies is Nancy Kates’s perceptive film REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG, about that cultural critic and writer, who died in 2004 and belonged to a vanishing breed of literary celebrity.”
—Stephen Holden, The New York Times

“REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG—a fascinating, moving, and often gorgeous entry into the canon of works produced about Sontag since her death—doesn’t neglect the time and the social forces that shaped Sontag’s life, but, for the most part, the narrative that emerges is deeply personal. It’s a close portrait of a woman who was, in the words of her son, ‘interested in everything.’ ”
—Emily St. John Mandel, Humanities

Poignant, intimate, surprisingly entertaining documentary.”
—Christopher Frizzelle, The Stranger

“I won’t beat around the bush about REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG because I loved every minute of it. …This is a very fine film, made with great flair, economy and emotion. There is not a single wasted frame.”
—Richard Metzger, Dangerous Minds

By showing both sides—that is, Sontag the writer and thinker, and Sontag the complicated, troubled human being—the film triumphs and entertains, often at the same time.
—Hugh Lilly, 4:3


In preparation for our HBO premiere, we have created a Viewer’s Guide, containing background information about Susan Sontag, tips on how to host a screening, a discussion guide, additional resources and a list of important nonprofit partner organizations. Please check it out, downloadable on our website:


We are starting our work on outreach and distribution of the film, which includes plans to bring it to schools, colleges and universities, conferences, libraries and community groups. A number of key nonprofit partners have joined us, including the Ms. Foundation for Women and PEN, the international writers organization Sontag headed in the mid-1980s. We also have partial funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to use the film in teen writing workshops. The project signed a festival distribution agreement with The Film Collaborative of Los Angeles, which is doing a great job on the festival front, and an educational distribution agreement with Women Make Movies. Multiple educational and nonprofit screenings are planned for the spring of 2015, including personal appearances at universities and academic conferences.


This film has been a labor of love, after more than eight years of production; the results show the dedication, creativity and professionalism of a truly talented group of people. With forty minutes of archival footage, it has been an expensive endeavor: we are still in the process of trying to raise completion and launch funding. We are honored by our support from funders, partners and well-wishers, and would like to thank all of our supporters for believing in the project, which has made it possible to share the film with viewers around the world.

A list of funders can be found on our website: If so moved, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the Sontag film, at or directly on our website- HERE.Make a Secure Donation Now

If you have not yet done so, please connect with us on social media, and visit for the Viewer’s Guide and additional information!

Twitter @SontagFilm

And of course please check the HBO website for all airing dates and times:

Happy Holidays and all best wishes for 2015!

For the Sontag team,
Nancy Kates
Regarding Susan Sontag