The United States of Urvashi

An intimate portrait of the late activist and author Urvashi Vaid, examining her 40-year career as a queer
agitator and thinker. Vaid became internationally known as a queer activist, yet struggled with rejection by members of her family. The film also chronicles her decades-long partnership with comedian Kate Clinton.

  • Nancy Kates
    Regarding Susan Sontag, 2014; Brother Outsider: the Life of Bayard Rustin, 2003
  • Nancy Kates
    Regarding Susan Sontag, 2014; Brother Outsider: the Life of Bayard Rustin, 2003
  • Rajal Pitroda
    Down a Dark Stairwell, 2020; The Kindergarten Teacher, 2018
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 15 minutes
  • Production Budget:
    1,000,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    India, United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    4k video and archival elements
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Nancy Kates

Nancy Kates produced and directed the HBO documentary Regarding Susan Sontag, which premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, where it received a Special Jury Mention. It has since screened at over 130 film festivals in 35 countries, and received several honors, including a FOCAL International Award. Ms. Magazine named the film one of 2014’s top ten feminist films, while critics called it “compelling” and “perceptive.” Kates also produced and directed Brother Outsider: the Life of Bayard Rustin. The film premiered at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival and on the PBS series “POV," winning more than 25 awards worldwide. Critics described it as “a potent piece of historical rediscovery” (LA Times), and “beautifully crafted” (Boston Globe). Kates studied history and literature at Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, and documentary film and television at Stanford. Her master’s thesis film, Their Own Vietnam, received the 1995 Student Academy Award. In 2014, she was named to the OUT 100, the magazine’s annual list of intriguing LGBTQ Americans. Kates has held residencies at MacDowell, the Blue Mountain Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and elsewhere, as well as invitation-only screenwriting workshops at the Athena Film Festival, which awarded her an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, the Stowe Story Labs, and the Cine Qua Non retreat.

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