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  • Director

    Donna Deitch

  • Starring

    Helen Shaver, Patricia Charbonneau, Audra Lindley, Andra Akers, Gwen Welles

  • Certificate


  • Run Time

    96 mins

  • Release Year


  • Country of Origin


  • Language


  • Director of Photography: Robert Elswit

  • Editor: Robert Estrin

  • Produced by: Donna Deitch

  • Screenplay by: Natalie Cooper

  • Production Designer: Jeannine Oppewall

Director Bio

Donna Deitch

P&I - Director Bio

Donna Deitch is a filmmaker who has worked in television, narrative cinema and documentary. Her film Desert Hearts (1986) was a landmark lesbian love story and hit of the 1986 Sundance, Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals. Deitch has directed a number of films and episodic series, including Emmy-nominated The Women of Brewster Place (1989) and the award-winning documentary Angel on My Shoulder (1998).

Desert Hearts


Based on the ’60s novel Desert of the Heart by Jane Rule, Donna Deitch’s memorable debut feature is widely regarded as the first major American film to focus on a lesbian relationship. With fantastic performances from Helen Shaver and Patricia Charbonneau and a soundtrack full of artists such as Patsy Cline and Ella Fitzgerald, Deitch’s groundbreaking love story is an important landmark in American filmmaking. The film screened in competition at Sundance in 1986, where Deitch won the Special Jury Prize.

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