Paris is Burning (1991) depicts a New York fashion subculture. Shot in the late 1980s, the film examines how a community of Black and Latino gay and transgender New Yorkers build sustenance, creativity, and family. Exploring ballroom culture – and defining and re-defining words like “house,” “mother,” “shade” “voguing” and “Realness” – Paris is Burning draws a series of incisive character portraits. The movie writes a complex essay on class, race, identity, and the transformative powers of dance and performance. 

The Criterion Collection/Janus Films is the film's new North American distributor. To arrange a screening in the US or Canada, please email:
For rights elsewhere:

Paris is Burning is streaming on the Criterion Channel and available on DVD and BluRay from the Criterion Collection.


This 2K restoration is accompanied by extras including two hours of never-before-seen outtakes; a roundtable with Sol Pendavis and Freddie Pendavis (AKA Dr Sol Williams and Skylar King), and Jennie Livingston, moderated by filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris; essay by filmmaker Michelle Parkerson; reprint of essay with poet Essex Hemphill; interview with house mother Gisele Xtravaganza; interview with filmmaker/film critic Jenni Olson, and more.

Watch the trailer below...

Awards, Accolades, and Screenings

In 2016 Paris is Burning was one of 25 films to be inducted in the Film Registry at the

Library of Congress, and was the Sundance Film Festival's 2015 Sundance Collection

screening. In 1991, Paris is Burning won a Sundance Grand Jury Prize, a Berlinale Teddy

Bear, and was on 10-Best- Film-of- the-Year lists of The Washington Post, The LA Times,

Time Magazine, and NPR. It had hugely successful theatrical releases in the US,

Australia, Austria, Germany, Holland, Japan, the UK, and elsewhere. 25 years after its

release, its influence can be felt in film, music, theater, cultural studies, and politics.

Paris is Burning added to National Film Registry of The Library of Congress

On June 26th 2015, there was a Screening of Paris is Burning in Prospect Park, Brooklyn as part of BRIC's Celebrate Brooklyn!

24 years after its Sundance premiere, Paris is Burning played at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in January, as a Sundance Collection screening, with a brand new digital print.

Lucas Hilderbrand’s book on Paris is Burning 2014

On The Cinema Eye Honors list The Influencers 2014

On New York Magazine’s 40th anniversary               Approval Matrix next to Annie Hall, Do the Right

Right Thing, and Pauline Kael.