Susanne Bartsch: On Top

USA | 2017 | 84 minutes | Anthony&Alex

Meet the irrepressible driving force behind New York City’s nightlife scene for the past 30 years: event promoter and muse Susanne Bartsch, whose lavish, theatrical, trend-setting parties have embraced all walks of life and attracted a who’s-who of the fashion underground.

"Come for the campy costumes, stay for the hypnotic montage of Bartsch, New York, and inclusive fun."Jessica Fu, The Stranger


GAY-LA (JUNE 8)

Tickets
Film Only: $14 | $12 Members

Always a wild, colorful time, SIFF's Gay-La has become one of the Festival's most treasured events!

Film + Party: $25 | $23 Members
Includes admission to the film, entry to the post-film party, and two drink tickets.

FILM: SIFF Cinema Egyptian
PARTY: Baltic Room (21+)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

  • Purchased Tickets
  • Limited Availability
  • On Standby
  • Matinee

SIFF Cinema Egyptian

7:00 PM Date has passed Directors Anthony&Alex and Producer Taryn Gould scheduled to attend

Friday, June 9, 2017

  • Purchased Tickets
  • Limited Availability
  • On Standby
  • Matinee

SIFF Cinema Egyptian

4:30 PM Date has passed Directors Anthony&Alex and Producer Taryn Gould scheduled to attend

"Susanne Bartsch picked up where Warhol left off," says RuPaul. The doyenne of NYC nightlife for decades and still at it, she's stirred together the art, fashion, and gay dance-club worlds to create extravagant spectacles, planning her parties as theater-essentially, art exhibits for artists whose art is themselves. Her bland childhood gave her much to rebel against ("Maybe it's the Swiss background, where everything was clockwork," she explains), and she soaked up London's punk fashion innovations as a teenager before opening a New York boutique and becoming one of the people who made the '80s the '80s. Along the way she married (bodybuilder/gym mogul David Barton) and had a son (now a classics major at Brown, who seems to have turned out perfectly unscarred not despite but because of his upbringing at the bohemian Chelsea Hotel surrounded by drag queens). These flashes of nurturant normalcy never slowed Bartsch's mentoring of a generation or two of club kids or becoming a pioneering AIDS-research fundraiser (her 1989 "Love Ball" exposed Madonna to Harlem's voguing drag balls as well as raised $2.5 million). In a way, Anthony&Alex 's documentary presents Bartsch's life as an allegory of American gay history-from a suffocating youth and feelings of isolation to flamboyant liberation, darkened but unbowed by loss, and unfailingly fabulous.

Director Biography

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.

Sponsored by Greater Seattle Business Association, Three Dollar Bill Cinema, Baltic Room, Poquitos, The Stranger, The Art Institute of Seattle

  • Director: Anthony&Alex
  • Principal Cast: Susanne Bartsch
  • Premiere Status: U.S.
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 2017
  • Running Time: 84 minutes
  • Producer: Michael Beach Nichols, Christopher K. Walker
  • Screenplay: Anthony&Alex
  • Cinematographers: Michael Beach Nichols
  • Editors: Taryn Gould
  • Music: Liam Finn
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: English
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Cinetic Media
  • International Sales: Cinetic Media