Jump to content

Wes Hurley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wes Hurley
Vasili Naumenko

Occupation(s)Film director, film producer
Years active2005-present

Wes Hurley is a Russian-American writer and filmmaker. He has collaborated with many theater, drag, and cabaret performers in Seattle and raised awareness of human rights violations in Russia.

Early life and education[edit]

Born and raised in Vladivostok, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union (present-day Vladivostok, Russia), Hurley moved to Seattle in the 1990s at the age of 16 with his mother when she married an American.[1][2]


Hurley's films, many with gay themes, include Waxie Moon, Waxie Moon in Fallen Jewel,[1][3] Zolushka,[4] Rusalka,[5] and the web and later TV series Capitol Hill, which premiered in 2014.[5][6][7]

He has also collaborated with theater, cabaret, and drag performers including Waxie Moon, Sarah Rudinoff, Jinkx Monsoon, BenDeLaCreme, and Jackie Hell, and raised awareness of human rights violations in Russia.[8]

In 2020, Hurley filmed Potato Dreams of America - a dark autobiographical comedy starring Dan Lauria, Lea DeLaria, Jonathan Bennett, Sera Barbieri, Tyler Bocock, Marya Sea Kaminsky, Hersh Powers, Lady Rizo, Sophia Mitry Schloss and Lauren Tewes.[9] The film premiered at SXSW on March 16, 2021.[10]

Hurley has been a regular contributor to Huffington Post.[11]

Private life[edit]

Hurley realized he was gay before leaving Russia;[8] he came out to his mother when he was 16. His autobiographical film Little Potato, co-directed by Nathan Miller, tells the story of their migration, his adolescence, and his mother's relationship with her spouse, who ultimately came out as transgender.[2]


In 2013 Hurley was chosen as one of the Artists of the Year by City Arts magazine, along with Megan Griffiths, Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, and Jinkx Monsoon.[12] He was chosen as a Person to Watch in 2015 by The Advocate.[5] In 2019 he won a Creative Capital grant.[7] Little Potato won over two dozen awards from around the world including Jury Awards at South by Southwest, Oslo Fusion, Sarasota Film Festival, Annapolis Film Festival, USA Film Festival and Audience Awards at Outfest, Ashland Independent Film Festival and Mardi Gras Film Festival. Little Potato had its online premiere on Topic and was later picked up by The Atlantic.[7] The short is also a Vimeo Staff pick, was short-listed by The Wrap and nominated for Best Short by Cinema Eye Honors. The companion VR piece Potato Dreams premiered at American Film Institute Film Festival and International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.


  1. ^ a b Leah Baltus, "Pivotal Scene"[usurped], City Arts, April 25, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Natasha Lipman, "'I hated my homophobic stepdad, then he came out'", BBC News, February 21, 2020.
  3. ^ Jason Miller, "Everybody’s talking about Waxie Moon In Fallen Jewel!", Central Cinema, April 18, 2013, archived on December 15, 2013.
  4. ^ "CineKink: Best of 2015", The Clinton Street Theater (Portland, Oregon), retrieved February 24, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c Matt Baume, "People to Watch in 2015", The Advocate, January 2, 2015.
  6. ^ Leah Baltus, "Seattle Soap"[usurped], City Arts, March 24, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Brangien Davies, "After growing up gay in Russia, a Seattle filmmaker wins big", Crosscut, January 18, 2019.
  8. ^ a b Wes Hurley, "Growing Up Gay in Russia", Huffington Post, February 2, 2016.
  9. ^ "Potato Dreams of America". March 16, 2021 – via IMDb.
  10. ^ "SXSW Film Review: Potato Dreams of America". SLUG Magazine. March 16, 2021.
  11. ^ Wes Hurley
  12. ^ "Shine On: 2013 Artists of the Year"[usurped], City Arts, November 25, 2013.

External links[edit]