Boys State


Directed by
Amanda McBane & Jesse Moss
Edited by
Jeff Gilbert
Michael T. Vollmann

Cinema Eye Honors
WINNER-Best Editing
IDA Award
WINNER-Best Editing
Critics Choice Award
WINNER-Best Documentary
Primetime Emmy
WINNER-Best Documentary

BOYS STATE had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2020, where it won the U.S. Documentary Competition Grand Jury Prize. It was released on Apple TV+ on August 14, 2020, by A24 and Apple.

Boys State is a political coming-of-age story, examining the health of American democracy through an unusual experiment: a thousand 17-year-old boys from across the state of Texas gather together to build a representative government from the ground up. High-minded ideals collide with low-down dirty tricks as four boys of diverse backgrounds and political views navigate the challenges of organizing political parties, shaping consensus, and campaigning for the highest office at Texas Boys State—governor.

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 94% based on 144 reviews, with an average rating of 8.2/10. The website’s critics consensus reads: “Startling, upsetting, and overall absorbing, Boys State strikingly depicts American political divisions — and machinations — taking root in the next generation.” On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 84 out of 100, based on 32 critics, indicating “universal acclaim”. 

It’s obtained numerous accolades as BEST DOCUMENTARY by Critics’ Choice Award; Hollywood Critics Association; National Board of Review; and a Primetime Emmy.

It’s editing has been recognized by Cinema Eye Honors (OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN EDITING); IDA Awards (Best Editing); and Doc NYC (Editing Award).

This is an outstanding documentary… It has you wondering how much politics is like Lord of the Flies.

Amy Nicholson

The punchiest doc of the year focuses on an annual leadership conference in which teen boys prove they can run a government better than the old farts doing it now. This wake-up call promises a change in the air. And it’s exhilarating.

Peter Travers
Rolling Stone

a hugely entertaining and scarily edifying documentary.

Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal

I defy you not to be gripped by the raw group dynamics, the sheer slings and arrows, but the thrill of the film is forcing you to hold two things in mind at once.

Danny Leigh
Financial Times

State tells a story both heartbreaking and hopeful… and wholly unforgettable.

Leah Greenblatt
Entertainment Weekly

There are so many laughs, and so many telling and relatable moments, and so many fascinating, colorful characters here, Boys State is utterly mesmerizing.

Tasha Robins