World Premiere: Tribeca Film Festival 2018 (In Competition / 2nd Place Audience Award)
Official Selection Provincetown Film Festival
Official Selection Frameline Film Festival
Official Selection Outfest
An intimate portrait of ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE, a controversial photographer whose work celebrated form in a range of
subjects, from flowers to S&M. He electrified the contemporary art world and immortalized a generation ravaged by AIDS.
At 18, Robert leaves his religious home in Floral park, Queens and moves into the city with the intention of pursuing a commercial art degree. He soon thereafter drops out of school, meets Patti Smith, and together - as best friends and lovers - they move into the Chelsea Hotel, a hotbed of late 60’s pop culture. Here, Robert discovers the camera as a powerful bridge into worlds he could never otherwise enter. Recognizing his attraction to men, Patti leaves Robert, who fervently plunges into New York’s underground gay scene pursuing his career alongside his burgeoning sexuality.
Robert’s photographs prove too controversial for everyone except Sam Wagstaff, a sophisticated collector who has an eye for both Robert and his work. In Sam, Robert finds both a father figure and the love of his life. Through their relationship and Sam’s patronage, his photography flourishes. Soon, no one can say they have “made it” without visiting Mapplethorpe’s studio for a portrait, but his penchant for sex and competitive nature lands him alone in the midst of his long-desired fame. AIDS ravages Robert’s NY world, taking his beloved Sam and so many others. In 1989, at only 42, Robert too is taken, but taking pictures until his last breath.
Recently acquired by Samuel Goldywn Films