Outfest 2022 Legacy Centerpiece screens ‘FAR FROM HEAVEN” for its 20th Anniversary with a grand red carpet and Q&A after with star Julianne Moore, Director Todd Haynes, and producer Christine Vachon

By Oliver Carnay

Q&A with Christine Vachon, Julianne Moore, and Todd Haynes

Academy award-nominated ‘Far From Heaven,” on its 20th anniversary, served this year’s Outfest Legacy Centerpiece Film with a grand red carpet and a special 35mm screening at the Directors Guild of America, with lead Julianne Moore, director Todd Haynes, and producer Christine Vachon in tow.  A Q&A was held after the screening with a rousing full crowd inside the theatre.

Set in the 50’s, “Far From Heaven” (2002) is the story of Cathy Whitaker (Moore) who finds herself falling in love with a black gardener (Dennis Haysbert) in the wake of discovering her husband’s hidden queerness.

In the 1950s, director Douglas Sirk achieved his greatest commercial and artistic triumphs with a series of brilliant, socially conscious melodramas. Films like All That Heaven AllowsWritten on the Wind, and Imitation of Life — sumptuously filmed, larger-than-life productions populated by Hollywood legends. They incisively explored issues of class, race, and inequality while delivering all the swooning romance and heightened drama audiences craved. Sirk’s distinct style has been cited by queer filmmaking legends as an influence, and in 2002, it provided inspiration for Todd Haynes’ masterpiece, Far From Heaven.

From the first frame, Haynes’ meticulous recreation of a Sirkian world envelops the senses, but this is not simply an homage to a great filmmaker, it’s a radical reimagining of what was possible in ‘50s era Hollywood filmmaking. Through the story of picture perfect housewife Cathy Whitaker finds herself falling for her handsome Black gardener in the wake of discovering her husband’s hidden queerness, Haynes frankly addresses issues that in actual 1950s films remained coded, while nimbly maintaining the attitudes and language of the era. 

This stunning film, which earned four Academy Award nominations, also represents perhaps the finest work in the ongoing filmmaking trio of Haynes, producer Christine Vachon (who has worked with Haynes since their breakout 1991 feature Poison), and star Julianne Moore (who joined the two for 1995’s Safe, and several more films after). Outfest is honored to welcome all three to this special 20th anniversary screening and discussed their undeniably iconic partnership.