Susanne Bartsch: On Top
(Narrative Feature, 1 hr 25 mins)
Synopsis: An intimate, impressionistic immersion into the world of nightlife and fashion icon Susanne Bartsch. Seamlessly mixing past and present, the film explores how Susanne has influenced NYC culture and trailblazed her own singular trajectory through motherhood and aging, while ultimately struggling to come to terms with her legacy. Hailing from the music video and art-film veterans Anthony&Alex, it’s a portrait of the legendary nightlife queen and fashion icon of the title, the Swiss-born promoter who has been a crucial figure on the queer scene for decades now, helping, among many other achievements, to create the Love Ball for AIDS fundraising. The film looks at her influence on NYC culture and her legacy, with contributions from figures including RuPaul, Michael Musto and more. Archival dance-floor footage blends into the present day, and it becomes apparent that her relevance is not just about ambition, but that the safe space she provides to explore sexuality and gender.
Directors: Anthony&Alex are not strangers to each other; they have been working together since 2011 with the short film Zoot Woman: More than Ever. They went on to make several other shorts together. Susanne Bartsch: On Top is their first feature-length documentary film collaboration.