Boys State: Politics, Masculinity, and Morality

It won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and now the acclaimed documentary “Boys State” is in theatres ahead of its global debut on Apple TV+ on Friday, August 14.

If you’re unfamiliar, “Boys State” is an annual, week-long program in which a thousand Texas high school seniors gather for an elaborate mock exercise: building their own state government. Filmmakers follow several of the teens and Risen sat down with four that definitely leave an impression: Ben Feinstein, a Reagan-loving, arch-conservative who brims with confidence despite personal setbacks; and Steven Garza, a progressive-minded child of Mexican immigrants who stands by his convictions amidst the sea of red; Robert MacDougall, an easy-going yet complexed and layered jokester who seems to instinctively play to the crowd; and Rene Otero, one of the few African-Americans at Boys State.

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