A collection of reviews of films from off the beaten path; a travel guide for those who love the cinematic world and want more than the mainstream releases.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
TransNation Film Festival Announces Lineup
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SECOND ANNUAL TRANSNATION
FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES LINEUP
Three-day festival features new works and rarely seen repertory gems
that reflect the trans experience.
Highlights include A Tribute to The Cockettes, RuPaul’s THE STARBOOTY TRILOGY, THE LIFE AND DEATH OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON, and STRONG ISLAND.
Los Angeles, CA (September 19, 2017) – The TransNation Film Festival, presented by St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, a community health center in Los Angeles that serves one of the largest populations of transgender patients in the country, announced today its 2017 lineup of narrative and documentary features, experimental films, and shorts for its second annual festival. The festival will run October 13-15at the Silent Movie Theater in West Hollywood (611 N. Fairfax). Tickets and more information are available at www.transnationfestival.org.
Hosted by Zackary Drucker (filmmaker, artist, and producer of Transparent), the TransNation Film Festival is a three-day event featuring an eclectic program of works by emerging and established filmmakers, as well as rare and underseen repertory gems and classics that reflect the trans experience.
“I can’t imagine a more dynamic, challenging, and crucial time for us to build community around art and storytelling,” said Drucker. “Working with a politic of love and unity, we programmed this year’s festival to highlight filmmakers and subjects that keep us critical, galvanized, and empowered. Moving through time and around the world, this year we’re featuring vintage and cult films, alongside subversive and groundbreaking narratives of today.”
Festival highlights include A Tribute to The Cockettes, the legendary San Francisco theatrical troupe, which will feature photographs, an art exhibition, and screenings of three rare Cockettes-made films: TRICIA’S WEDDING, ELEVATOR GIRLS IN BONDAGE, and PALACE. The screening of PALACE will be accompanied by a live score by Kristian Hoffman. This exhibition of original Cockettes costumes and photographs will be shown for the first time in Los Angeles, after touring museums around the country. Founding Cockette and photographer Fayette Hauser will be in attendance.
RuPaul Is Starbooty in The Starbooty Trilogy, a cult-classic from RuPaul’s early public access days, will screen with a midnight dress-up party. All those who dress up will be photographed on the red carpet and are invited to attend a pre-party outfit contest on the patio.
Two recent and acclaimed social justice documentaries that explore issues at the core of the mission of St. John’s Well Child and Family Center will screen: THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON andSTRONG ISLAND.
Academy Award-nominated filmmaker David France’s (HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE) THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON will open the festival and feature the film’s subject, trans activist for the Anti-Violence Project Victoria Cruz, in conversation with CEO of St John’s, Jim Mangia, who knew Marsha P. Johnson.
The Sundance 2017 Special Jury Award winner for Storytelling, STRONG ISLAND, will feature the film’s director and subject Yance Ford, who will attend for a post-screening Q&A.
The festival’s ground-breaking shorts program features world premieres and new works by emerging and acclaimed trans filmmakers as well as those working with trans themes, including Rhys Ernst, Luis De Filippis, Rosie Haber, Rain Valdez, Harriet Fleuriot, Sarah Cockings, Wes Hurley, and Nathan M. Mille.
The festival will also screen the West Coast premiere of TRANS YOUTH, a nuanced verité documentary following the lives of trans millennials in Austin, TX, as well as a sneak peek of the forthcoming HBO documentary short film 15: A QUINCEAÑERA STORY. The film will air in 2018 and follows transgender teen Zoe Luna getting ready for her quinceañera in Los Angeles. Luna and filmmaker Matthew O’Neill will be in attendance.
Filmmaker Michael Sarne’s 1970 gender-bending comedy MYRA BRECKINRIDGE, starring Raquel Welch, John Huston, Farrah Fawcett, Rex Reed, Tom Selleck, and Mae West, will have a special midnightscreening.
The special program, West African Spirit Worlds and the Non-binary Experience, will highlight two films that deal with African spirituality and gender fluidity. BIGHT OF THE TWIN features legendary industrial music pioneer and alt-culture iconGenesis Breyer P-Orridgein Benin exploring the Vodoun twin fetish tradition, while OYA: SOMETHING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO WEST AFRICA is directed by Queer Gender-Non-Conforming Nigerian media artistSeyi Adebanjo. Adebanjo will appear in person to present the film.
TransNation Film Festival is part of the TransNation Festival 2017, a week-long celebration of the trans community that also includes ELEGANZA, the official closing gala on Saturday, October 21, and numerous community events throughout the week.
Proceeds from the festival will benefit St. John’s Well Child and Family Center’s Transgender Health Program, which is an independent 501(c)3 community health center that serves one of the largest populations of transgender patients in the country with primary medical, dental, and behavioral health care, as well as support for the community’s unique socioeconomic, legal, and advocacy needs.
“St. John’s is honored to have built a transgender health program serving thousands of trans patients,” said St. John’s CEO Jim Mangia. “And we are extremely honored to sponsor a film festival that gives expression, support, and affirmation of the beauty of trans lives.”
St. John’s Well Child and Family Center is an independent 501(c)(3) federally qualified health center network of thirteen health centers and two mobile clinics spanning the breadth of Central and South L.A. and Compton. The organization began as a one-room volunteer pediatric clinic in 1964, one year before the Watts Riots, in response to the poverty and lack of access to health services for underserved South L.A. residents. Fifty-three years later, South L.A. remains a region of economic deprivation and social marginalization. In response to the disturbing health inequalities, St. John’s has expanded its outreach and programs over the years to meet the needs of its primarily immigrant Latino and indigent African-American community. Today, St. John’s is one of the most significant safety net providers in L.A. County, offering comprehensive healthcare as well as supportive services to address socio-economic, housing, mental health, and advocacy needs. In 2016, the St. John’s’ network provided more than 261,000 primary medical, dental and behavioral health visits, plus 5,199 supportive services case management visits, to more than 84,000 low-income children and adults—regardless of their ability to pay for services.
In 2013, in response to the alarming poverty, health risks, and marginalization of the transgender community in South L.A., St. John’s launched a comprehensive Transgender Health Program at its Warner Traynham Health Center. In a patient-centered medical home, the program addresses the deep disparities facing the transgender population through the provision of linguistically and culturally competent trans-specific services including primary and preventive care–medical, dental, and behavioral health, including no-barrier hormone therapy, individual counseling, family counseling and support groups; pharmacy; victim advocacy; case management; referrals to trans advocates, legal support and other services; health insurance enrollment assistance; assistance with legal name/gender change paperwork; workforce readiness; and referrals for gender affirming surgeries.
Through comprehensive services for children, families, and adults from all walks of life, St. John’s’ mission is to eliminate health disparities and foster community well-being by providing and promoting the highest-quality care in South L.A.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13
7:30 pm THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON
St. John’s CEO Jim Mangia in conversation with subject and activist Victoria Cruz
10:00 pm SHORTS PROGRAM
Rain Valdez and others in person
12:00 amRuPaul Is Starbooty in The Starbooty Trilogy! With a dress-up party!
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14
4:00 pm DRUNKTOWN’S FINEST
7:00 pm STRONG ISLAND
Director Yance Ford in person for Q&A
9:30 pm A TRIBUTE TO THE COCKETTES
Original Cockette Fayette Hauser in person and live score by Kristian Hoffman
12:00 am MYRA BRECKINRIDGE
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15
3:00 pm IN FULL BLOOM
Filmmaker Michael Brewer and cast members in person
5:00 pm Special FREE sneak preview of HBO short film 15: A QUINCEAÑERA STORY
Subject Zoe Luna in person
7:00 pm TRANS YOUTH – West Coast Premiere
Filmmaker Rebecca Adler and cast members in person
9:30 pm Special program: West African Spirit Worlds and the Non-binary Experience
featuring OYA: SOMETHING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO WEST AFRICA and
BIGHT OF THE TWIN
Filmmaker Seyi Adebanjo in person
Filmmaker Hazel Hill and special guests in person
THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON
Director: David France
Logline: THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON reexamines the death of a beloved icon of the trans world while celebrating the story of two landmark pioneers of the trans-rights movement, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.
Director: Sydney Freeland
Logline: Three Native Americans: a college-bound student, a father-to-be, and a promiscuous transsexual struggle to escape their Indian reservation.
IN FULL BLOOM
Director: Michael Brewer
Logline: The feature-length documentary follows the journey of thirteen transgender and two gay actors as they prepare for the world premiere of the stage play, “Lovely Bouquet of Flowers: An Exploration of Non-Traditional Gender Voices.”
US, Denmark/2017/107 min./DCP/English
Director: Yance Ford
Logline: The forces of family, grief and racial injustice converge in this powerful documentary exploring the murder of filmmaker Yance Ford's brother.
Venezuela, Uruguay, Peru/ 2016/110 min./DCP/Spanish w/ English Subtitles
Director: Elia K. Schneider
Logline: The film is based on the true story of Tamara Adrián, the first trans person elected to national office in Venezuela.
TRANS YOUTH – West Coast Premiere
Director: Rebecca Adler
Logline: This intimate documentary filmed over three years centers on seven trans young adults as they navigate growing older in the southern city of Austin, Texas. Trans Youth is a stirring tribute to the courage necessary to become oneself in a sometimes unloving world.
Special Program: A TRIBUTE TO THE COCKETTES
Tribute to the hugely influential 1960s-70s trans-collective performance troupe The Cockettes, with an introduction by special guest and original Cockette Fayette Hauser and a screening of three very rare films: TRICIA’S WEDDING, ELEVATOR GIRLS IN BONDAGE, and PALACE. The screening of PALACE will be accompanied by a live score by Kristian Hoffman.
US/1971/33 min./DCP restoration/English
Director: Milton Miron aka Sebastian
Logline: The Cockettes' hilarious, dazzling underground-film spoof of the wedding of
Tricia Nixon, daughter of President Richard Nixon, in the White House Rose Garden.
ELEVATOR GIRLS IN BONDAGE
US/1972/56 min./DCP restoration/English
Director: Michael Kalmen
Logline: The underpaid staff of a seedy hotel rise up in revolt when head Elevator Girl
Maxine (Rumi) starts a Marxist-Feminist secret association to liberate the girls, followed
by explicit and wildly unconventional sexual encounters.
PALACE (with live score by Kristian Hoffman)
Director: Syd Dutton
Logline: This very rare film, screened in 35mm, is the only recorded live performance of
the Cockettes, at the Palace Theater in San Francisco on Halloween, 1970.
Special Program: West African Spirit Worlds and the Nonbinary Experience featuring OYA: SOMETHING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO WEST AFRICA! And BIGHT OF THE TWIN
OYA: SOMETHING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO WEST AFRICA!
US, Nigeria/2015/30 min./DCP/English and West African dialect
Director: Seyi Adebanjo
Logline: Queer Gender-Non-Conforming Nigerian media artist Seyi Adebanjo tells a tale
not often heard about gender and indigenous Yorùbá spirituality as Seyi journeys to
Nigeria to connect with Òrìṣà tradition, or African God/dess tradition, and the powerful
legacy of the filmmaker's great grandmother, Chief Moloran Ìyá Ọlọ́ya.
BIGHT OF THE TWIN
US, Benin/2016/55 min./DCP/English, French, Fon w/ English Subtitles
Director: Hazel Hill McCarthy III
Logline: Takes viewers to Ouidah, Benin, the geographic heart of the Vodoun religion, where legendary musician, cultural engineer and self-proclaimed non-binary “Pandrogyne” Genesis Breyer P-Orridge immerses h/irself in the Vodoun fetish “twin culture” and explores the relationship between Vodoun and Western secular art and performance.
Director: Michael Sarne
Logline: Style, grace, sworn against the male race? Enter ultra-femme, sadistic she-devil Myra Breckinridge, the inaugural trans Bad Bitch, who – in her wicked pursuit of revenge – never fails to properly accessorize and outfit.
RUPAUL IS STARRBOOTY
Director: Jon Witherspoon
Logline: Long before Supermodel, an unknown RuPaul with gigantic ambition created the unstoppable secret-agent-spy-model Starbooty and made three epic Starbooty adventure movies for Atlanta public access television, treasured for decades by cult-film connoisseurs but rarely seen on the large screen.
15: A QUINCEAÑERA STORY – FREE sneak preview screening
US/2017/27 min. DCP/English
Director: Matthew O’Neill & Thalia Sodi
Logline: 15: A Quinceañera Story is about Zoey, a young Mexican-American celebrating her 15th birthday. Though Zoey was assigned male at birth, she identifies as female and this celebration has special significance for her trans madrinas (godmothers) who couldn't have Quinceañeras of their own.
Director: Rain Valdez
Logline: A woman is “kiss-hexed” by a homeless person and must find another person to kiss by midnightor she expires – an unlikely love story.
Director: Wes Hurley & Nathan M. Miller
Logline: Struggling to survive in the USSR during the turbulent years of Perestroika, Elena and her young gay son escape into the world of pirated American movies. But soon the movies are not enough and Elena decides to become a mail-order-bride and discover America for herself. Saving its most unexpected twist til the end, this is an inspiring and timely story of two immigrants’ take on the American Dream.
MY OWN WINGS
USA, Spain, Ukraine/2016/8 min./English, Spanish, Russian, French//English subtitles
Director: Katia Repina, Carla Moral
Logline: A documentary project that aims to explore the intersex identity thought stories of intersex people in USA, Spain, and Ukraine.
NEW DEEP SOUTH: HOUSE OF JXN
Director: Rosie Haber
Logline: This series explores the vibrant and multifaceted queer culture emerging in the American South. Playing against old stereotypes of Mississippi as a state of social conservatism and stagnation, we follow the lives of queer youth to explore the tangled and complex nature of sexual identity in the New Deep South.
FOR NONNA ANNA - U.S. Premiere
Canada/2017/13 minutes/English, Italian
Directed by Luis De Filippis
Log line: A trans girl cares for her Italian grandmother. She assumes that her Nonna disapproves of her – but instead discovers a tender bond in their shared vulnerability.
United Kingdom/2016/7 ½ min./DCP/English
Director: Sarah Cockings & Harriet Fleuriot
Logline: Objects and devices become bodily and manipulative. The magician is a
composed cartoon machine repeating tricks and equations. When products become
prosthetics does the accessory take some emotional control?
TIME MARCHES FORWARD & SO DO WE
Director: Kim Boekbinder & Jim Batt
Logline: Through a collaborative video from the ACLU, “Transparent” producer and artist Zackary Drucker, Emmy-nominated actress Laverne Cox, and the creative team of Molly Crabapple and Kim Boekbinder, we are telling the story of trans history and resistance.
Director: Rhys Ernst
Logline: In 2016, Rhys teamed up with Google to direct a series of three shorts on trans pioneers. That series, #Transvoices, premiered on Google’s home page.