Written and directed by Mitchell (who previously starred in and directed the film adaptation of his international stage hit, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch"), "Shortbus" explores the lives of several characters living in present-day New York as they navigate the comic and tragic intersections between love and sex. Male and female, straight and gay, the characters find one and other – and eventually find themselves – when they all converge at a weekly underground salon called "Shortbus," a mad nexus of art, music, politics, and polysexual carnality. Mitchell developed the film's story along with his ensemble cast, all of whom are making their feature film debuts, and who were selected after submitting videotaped interviews/auditions in response to a well-publicized open casting call posted on a website. Over a half million people visited the website and nearly 500 people sent in tapes before the final seven leading performers/characters were selected to workshop the storyline with Mitchell.
The resulting film, one of the true sensations of this year's Cannes Film Festival, presents sex and sexuality as never before seen in mainstream entertainment, and promises to be one of the most talked-about films for months – and years – to come.