Regarding Susan Sontag

Regarding Susan Sontag

Nancy D. Kates

desired! – film lust & queer

»She was the indispensable voice of moral responsibility, perceptual clarity, passionate advocacy for social justice. Sontag took it as a given that our duty as sentient beings is to rescue the world.«
– Gary Indiana

Susan Sontag (1933-2004) was an essayist and writer, activist and theorist as well as a pop culture celebrity. Controversial, intellectual, passionate, empathetic, combative, and always dedicated to her work. Her writing on photography and war reporting, cancer and AIDS, and not least film and cinema, is legendary. She went to university at 15, at 17 married her professor, gave birth to her son David Rieff at 19, and at 24 left him with his grandparents to go and study in Oxford and Paris. For many years until her death she was the partner of photographer Annie Leibovitz. Sontag wrote 17 books, engaged in public debates about the Vietnam War and 9/11, and took popular culture as seriously as high culture. Before her death, the latter seemed to her to be an endangered species.
In carefully selected archive footage and interviews with all of Sontag’s important friends, colleagues, and lovers, Regarding Susan Sontag traces the life of a literary, political and feminist icon of her generation. The film covers everything from her early love of books and her desire for serious debate to her first experiences in gay bars, her unhappy first marriage and her love relationships with her female partners. Nancy D. Kates presents Sontag in her guises of thinker, activist and lover. The result is a biopic infused with a dynamic spirit as well as a nostalgic look at a city and an era.

Awards for Regarding Susan Sontag
Grand Jury Award – Festival MIX Milano di Cinema Gaylesbico e Queer Culture 2015

Director / Production

Nancy D. Kates


Nancy D. Kates, John Hapta


Sophie Constantinou


John Haptas


Laura Karpman, Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum


HBO Documentary Films


The Film Collaborative

Nancy D. Kates

Won a student Oscar in 1995 for her graduation documentary film at Stanford University. Their Own Vietnam was also shown at the Sundance Film Festival and many other festivals. Her film Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin which Kates self-produced and directed won over 25 international awards, including the GLAAD Media Award of the US American organisation Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Kates occasionally writes for the San Francisco Chronicle and other publications.

Films by Nancy D. Kates (Selection)
P.O.V. (Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin) 2003 | Castro Cowboys 1998 | Their Own Vietnam 1995