Fairyland: Plot, Cast, Release Date, and Everything Else We Know – MovieWeb

Based on the memoir Fairyland by Alysia Abbott, this film promises a moving look at the AIDS crisis and growing up with a gay father.
Fairyland is an upcoming film from first-time director Andrew Durham, based on the memoir of the same name by Alysia Abbott. While the memoir was published in 2013 and the story within it dates back to the '70s, the film is only now being made — and it feels quite timely as more LGBTQ+ films are breaking new frontiers recently. Fairyland is set to be a coming-of-age tale about a girl and her gay father in San Francisco during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1970s and '80s.
With a star-studded cast and an important story to tell, Fairyland is set for a big premiere this week. Some of the talent involved includes Adam Lambert, Geena Davis, Bella Murphy, Scoot McNairy, Emilia Jones, and Cody Fern — and that’s just scratching the surface of the talent behind this film. While Fairyland maybe Andrew Durham’s first film as director, he has managed to bring in a great cast and adapt an important memoir for the screen. We’re excited to see how Fairyland turns out, and how well it does when it premieres at Sundance.
Fairyland has already seen its fair share of success, beginning with a first screening at Sundance’s 2023 festival. The Sundance website provides a summary of the film that is poignant and intriguing, showing how the film has adapted its source material skillfully.
“Following the sudden and tragic death of her mother, young Alysia is uprooted by her father Steve in hopes of restarting his life. They move to 1970s San Francisco where Steve develops his poetic and personal writing and begins to openly date men. Steve’s bohemian lifestyle clashes with the expectations of parenthood from both the outside world and Alysia herself, who occasionally wishes for less of the independence her father gives her. As Alysia grows into a young woman on the cusp of adulthood, their bonds and duty to each other are tested in painful and sudden ways.”
Related: Some of the Greatest Gay Love Stories in Movies
Staying true to the memoir, Fairyland will follow Alysia’s story, but also take a closer look at her father Steve, and the intricacies of LGBTQ+ life in San Francisco at the time. Reviews have praised the film for its accuracy in depicting 1970s San Francisco and its handling of heavy topics.
While at its heart Fairyland is a coming-of-age story about Alysia, it also appears to strike a balance between her story and her father’s. Sundance has this to say about the film’s background and topics.
“Based on Alysia Abbott’s 2013 memoir and elegantly told by writer-director Andrew Durham in his debut feature, Fairyland is a film about a family unique for its time but instantly recognizable. Actors Scoot McNairy and Emilia Jones beautifully capture the complex mix of fealty, embarrassment, and pride that are part of any father-daughter relationship, but especially one set in 1970s and ’80s San Francisco with its indelible legacy of loss and love.”
When an institution like Sundance has such wonderful things to say about a film, we can expect it to live up to its high expectations. Fairyland seems like a film to watch out for when it finally screens for the general public.
Not only is Fairyland boasting an incredibly talented cast, but the crew behind the film is just as talented.
To start, Fairyland stars Emilia Jones as Alysia Abbott, the lead character and author of the memoir the film is based on. Emilia Jones is best known for her multi-award-winning performance in CODA as Ruby Rossi. Scoot McNairy, known for roles in ARGO and Halt and Catch Fire will play Alysia’s father, Steve Abbott. Young Alysia Abbott will be played by Nessa Dougherty, which is the child actress’ first major role. The beloved Geena Davis of ‘80s and ‘90s fame will play a leading role, as will singer Adam Lambert. Other stars include Cody Fern (American Crime Story), Bella Murphy (Coming 2 America), and Maria Bakalova (Bodies Bodies Bodies, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm).
Related: Why 2023 Is the Year For LGBTQ+ Cinema
In addition to this phenomenal cast, the crew is likewise star-studded. While Fairyland is Andrew Durham’s first film as director and writer, he has been working behind the scenes in Hollywood for decades. What makes Fairyland stand out is its production, done by none other than Sofia Coppola. While Coppola is perhaps better known for her work as a director and writer, her skills as a producer are just as sharply honed. Alongside Sofia Coppola are many other producers and executive producers, including Alysia Abbott herself, Andrew Durham, Roman Coppola, Siena Oberman, and Greg Lauritano. Greta Zozula will be the director of photography, coming from successes like The Half of It and Materna. Editing will be done by Peter CabadaHagan (A League of Their Own (2022)) and Lawrence Klein (Transformers, The Killing Season).
With a crew as talented as the cast, we’re sure that Fairyland will live up to the high expectations Sundance has set for it. With its premiere just around the corner, let’s take a look at when the general public might get to watch this incredible film.
While Fairyland may be coming to Sundance for its premiere on January 20, there are no announcements for its release to the public yet. Whether it continues on in the festival circuit or secures a distributor for feature or streaming release in the future, Fairyland is currently unavailable to watch. For fans of LGBTQ+ cinema, this is a film you won’t want to miss, so keep an eye out for announcements about Fairyland’s future release date.
Aiden Siobhan is a Screenwriter and Animator based out of NC. They love to write almost as much as they love good movies.

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