Boys State – Apr. 9th


On Thursday, April 9th, 2020 at 7pm at the Emerson, the Bozeman Doc Series presents the Montana premiere of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winning documentary, Boys State.

The sensational winner of the Grand Jury Prize for documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival 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.

Boys State world premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival to widespread critical acclaim.

“Ultimately, “Boys State” works because the “characters” are so compelling…[the film] represents a revolution in vérité filmmaking, as McBaine and Moss (who collaborated on “The Overnighters”) distill a rowdy session of the summer program into a series of relatable adolescent dramas, offering an alternately encouraging and terrifying look at tomorrow’s politicians in the process.” Variety

“A compelling political campaign chronicle and an incisive allegory of American democracy, Boys State is also much more fun than you’d expect. In remarkably entertaining fashion, Boys State skillfully manages to walk a fine line between irreverent and unsettling; on one hand, it follows in the footsteps of so many endearing documentaries that follow teens competing for victory; and yet on the other, it’s a timely and provocative look at America’s current political set up, from the bitter divisiveness of party systems to the dirty tricks and nefarious Internet memes that continue to capitalise on those divisions.” Screen Daily

“As the documentary Boys State started to unfold, I wondered why I was watching a movie that’s a parable about national politics when I clearly consume too much of that in my media diet as it stands. And yet by the end, Jesse Moss & Amanda McBaine’s film had completely won me over as it’s able to cut through various issues and personalities to explore that the real conflict in our politics is not so much left-vs-right, but between people who see politics as a place for public service and governance and those who simply want to win. Through its four endearing lead figures, Boys State manages to be a hilarious and infuriating look at American politics.” Collider

Doors open at 6:30pm. Tickets are available at the door or before the show at Cactus Records and Movie Lovers. Tickets are also available online at, where you can also buy Season Passes and 7-film punch cards, learn more about the series, and view trailers for upcoming films. The series will continue every other Thursday through May 10th.