Who could have guessed how surreal things would actually become when I first put “As Surreal As It Gets” on my website 15 year ago? I could not have anticipated how bad the political landscape would become. But at the same time, I am glad that I have a body of work that stands in opposition to the status quo, and hopefully uses joy and goodwill to challenge mainstream complacency in the face of such deadly threats to vulnerable people.
Here’s a rundown of some of my activities this summer, and some festivals coming up in the fall. (In reverse order of things happening.)
I started Dykeumentary as a way to make a record of people, especially my queer friends, in their own words, and owned by them. Because I have the internet/techno privilege, if the subject of the video wants me to, I make the stories available on my youtube channel. Last week, I was able to catch my friend Saul in Philadelphia, and he let me record him and Veronica talking about Informe-SIDA. They tell the story of how their HIV/AIDS information service began — in Texas, where consensual gay male sex was illegal, and there were no health services in Spanish. That is just the kind of history that I try to make sure doesn’t get lost. I hope someone will make an even bigger/better record of their important and lifesaving work.
I am working on my first commissioned movie! Wotever DIY Film Festival, based in London, asked me to make a Faggotgirl short to play at their 2016 festival, happening the DIY Space For London September 3-4, 2016 — an accessible venue! I’m flattered and I am happy that I have made a movie that addresses the issue of bathrooms AND accessibility. Everyone has bathrooms on the brain because of the hateful North Carolina HB2 bill, and I figured while we are thinking about bodies in bathtrooms, why not use the political will of this moment to make sure truly ALL bodies enjoy the privacy and accessibility of public restrooms?
This weekend, “Faggotgirl Does(n’t) Do The MTA” showed at GAZE International LGBT Film Festival in Dublin, Ireland, as an example of Wotever DIY films. The WDIYFF has been doing an outstanding (and international) job of promoting DIY film, and I am very appreciative of their work. I’m happy that something I made showed in Ireland, because both sides of my family emigrated (unhappily) to America from Ireland in the 20th century, as Roman Catholics from the British-controlled northern counties. I hope they are all having a good laugh and a drink that their great/granddaughter is poking fun at oppressive abuses of power.
There was also this big lezbo camping fest, LFEST, that i absolutely MUST go to one day, and Theresa Heath curated the film tent. She showed “The Genesis of Butch and Femme” and reported that the audience laughed at all the appropriate places!! Triumph!
AND “Until Justice Rolls” was shown in Scotland as part of “Queers In The City” curated by SQIFF. “A selection of shorts looking at the relationship of LGBTQ+ people to cities. In depicting anonymous cruising, lamenting gentrification, showing cities as a backdrop to loneliness and personal pain, and creating comedy subversion of urban imagery, these films recognise the unique place of queers in the city space. Featuring work by both international and local artists plus a filmmaker Q&A”
“Until Justice Rolls” was an Honorable Mention at the Superhero Film Festival, but other than that, I’ve been rejected from 23 film festivals. Becky and Ellen laugh at me every time I am sad to be rejected, and now that its happened so many times, I understand what they were saying.
Honoring police as grand marshals defies spirit of 2016 Philadelphia parade (petition)
As members of Philadelphia’s queer and transgender communities, we are writing in response to the decision by Philly Pride Presents to host GOAL (the Gay Officer Action League) as one of the grand marshals for this year’s Pride Parade. We are deeply concerned about the message this decision sends about which LGBTQ lives matter and the impact this will have on accessibility and safety at the Pride event for the members of our community most harmed by police violence. We urge the staff and volunteers of Philly Pride Presents to rescind their decision to make GOAL one of the grand marshals this year.
We believe that the honoring of GOAL is antithetical to the spirit and history of Pride, which grew out of the commemoration of the Stonewall riot — a riot against police violence — started by black and brown trans women and drag queens, who were then and continue to be the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community.
This choice is not only grossly ironic. It also participates in a revision of history that erases queer and trans resistance to state violence as well as the ways in which the majority of queer and trans people have had to literally fight for survival in a system that has used every mechanism, including and particularly policing, to marginalize and harm us.
It is our understanding that GOAL grew out of a desire to recruit LGBTQ individuals to the police force. We are aware that institutionalized and interpersonal workplace transphobia, homophobia, and racism harm LGBTQ police officers. We support all queer and trans people in their struggle for freedom from violence and oppression. However, we refute the notion that LGBTQ cops’ ability to be out on the job is a measure of our movement’s progress, when the police, as an institution, continue to carry out racist and transphobic violence.
Just last month, the Boston Pride Parade revoked the invitation for an openly gay police officer to serve as a grand marshal after it was discovered that the officer had written racist messages online shaming poor residents of Boston. As civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer said, “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”
In the midst of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, which affirms the value of black life and fights anti-black racism and police violence, choosing GOAL as the grand marshals for 2016 is a move that is at best privileged and isolated, and at worst directly undermines this critical work. It indicates a disturbing lack of awareness for the existence of marginalized queer and trans people of color and ignores both the symbolic and practical consequences of such a decision.
The Pride festival at Penn’s Landing is already financially inaccessible to many due to its entrance fee, but to literally place the police (gay or not) at the front of the parade through the gayborhood into the Pride celebration creates an environment that is unwelcoming and even unsafe for many members of our community. Additionally, it creates yet another barrier to accessing the critical resources available at Pride, such as free condoms, HIV testing, case managers, and information on community organizations for those who need them the most — including LGBTQ youth.
So, as the theme of this year’s Pride celebration is, “Are You Connected?” we ask the organizers of Philly Pride Presents: What connections do you value? For at least the second year in a row, the marshals and friends of the parade have been chosen from the same pool of people, primarily centered in Center City and City Hall. Yet Philadelphia does not lack for inspiring leaders who are creating a new vision for the future. We are fortunate to have LGBTQ communities full of people and organizations doing transformative work to improve the lives of LGBTQ people, to create more space for marginalized voices, and to work towards a world with greater freedom from violence for us all.
It is for these reasons that we cannot condone Philly Pride Presents’ celebration of an institution that continually targets queer and trans people of color with deadly state violence. Instead, as stated above, we urge the staff and volunteers of Philly Pride Presents to rescind this decision, as well as listen to and engage with members of our communities who are working to dismantle the root causes of violence and create a new future for queer and trans liberation.
Dean Spade is an Associate Professor at Seattle University School of Law and the author of “Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law.”
This talk was organized by the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of California, Riverside. May 12, 2016
Hi everyone who reads this!
This spring I’ve joined up with Put People First, grassroots organizers in Philadelphia (who are Pennsylvania state-wide) and I’m happy to be chipping in with their Media and Communications team. I am working with them on a year-long project to document the work of PPF and to support the Healthcare For All campaign.
I’ve been working very hard on a remake of Todd Haynes’ film “Carol.” I hope it will premier in London this summer, and so I haven’t made it available yet.
I’m working on a couple new screenplays. I am moving on from Fisher/Price people and into puppets or marionettes, I think.
My movie “Until Justice Rolls” will be showing in Glasgow, Scotland soon. It will be in the curated program “Queers In The City.”
I was so glad to attend this event sponsored by The Leeway Foundation. I was so happy to hear from five accomplished filmmakers, especially since they are and are making films about Black, Asian, Trans, and Middle Eastern women! How great is that!?
Leeway Foundation and Scribe Video Center present Smaller Screen, Greater Impact: The How and Why of the Web Series. Over the past several years, web series have become a viable alternative for filmmakers to share their stories. As this format creates new ways for aspiring and established artists to reach new audiences and have increased control of their voice, what new hurdles do they create? Join us as we take a look at webisodes on a larger screen (some for the first time ever!) and hear from the creators about writing, shooting, fundraising, and what they’ve learned throughout the process.
The panel features Hye Yun Park creator and star of Hey Yun; Jen Richards, writer, producer, and star of Her Story; Sara Zia Ebrahimi (LTA ’14, ACG ’11, ’09) writer and director of Bailout, activist; Tayarisha Poe (ACG ‘15,’ 14) writer and director of Selah and the Spades: an Overture; And activist, Sharron Cooks will speak about the media representation of transgender women. Moderated by Laura Deutsch (ACG ’10), Director of Education & Production at PhillyCAM.
Hello all, and I hope you are enjoying this mild winter as much as I am.
Here’s Mom looking badass in 1955.(Click it and it rotates correctly, I don’t know why it is doing this.)
As some of you know, I’ve moved home to take care of my mother as she battles PSP – Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. According to the CDC, this disease is rare. However, in South Jersey, it is so common in older women that almost everyone I talk with has a grandmother or aunt who has/had it. Infuriating and expected, in a post-industrial wasteland poisoned by thorium, mercury, lead and asbestos. Camden will never gentrify because no white middle-class family would move here. It is neurologic birth defect ground zero (I was also born with a neurological abnormality in my brain stem.) Our sister-city-in-murder-rates, Flint, MI is a sorrowful example that poor, Black-majority cities are just allowed to die.
So it is difficult to focus on making movies during this time of intense eldercare. I have been writing screenplays and fiddling around with a remake of “Carol” when I have a few moments to myself. I also signed up for Film Freeway and so have been sending my videos to festivals for consideration. I am most excited for a project about my childhood, when we learned my best friend’s sister was a lesbian.
It has been exciting to see all the action figures of women in the news lately. I am glad that Faggotgirl has some Super Friends. I hope they have superpowers, and are not just to be looked at and dressed up. More later!
I’m very excited about the positive responses my movies have been receiving. It’s a compliment and it is an inspiration to make more. I have some new equipment and I’m so curious and excited about telling wacky stories with new tools.
Gender Reel 2015
I’ve screened movies at GenderReel every year it’s existed – that feels really cool especially since GenderReel has been growing, and gaining more recognition every year. My movie “1987, Summer” is part of this year’s traveling festival. The only screening left in 2015 is in Houston, Texas. I have a special place in my heart for the film community in Texas. At AGLIFF‘s “My Gay Movie” in 2004, “Faggotgirl Does Austin” won “The Weirdest Movie Jenn Garrison Had Ever Seen.” I treasure that award.
Scottish Queer Film Festival: Queer Women In Love
“This November and December, SQIFF is taking part in BFI Love with two programmes of films and events. Queer Women in Love is a diverse and exciting selection of films by and about lesbian, bisexual, and queer women with events across the UK. I Do? considers queerness and marriage marking the one year anniversary of changes to the marriage law in Scotland.”
BFI/Scottish Queer Film Festival’s Women in Love: The Virgin Machine
November 10, 2015
The Glad Cafe, Glasgow, Scotland
In this early film by director Monika Treut, wannabe writer and journalist Dorothee leaves Germany for San Francisco searching for her long-lost mother and some insights into the ailment known as love. Encounters with male impersonator Ramona, charming bohemian Dominique, and purveyor of lesbian erotica, Susie Sexpert, result in liberating adventures in sexual self-discovery. When Dorothee surfaces a little dazzled on the wilder shores of the city’s lesbian community, she has discovered her sexuality…and left her illusions of romance behind.
Screening with short films Fingers by Sandra Alland and 1987, Summer by Krissy Mahan. Fingers features a British Sign Language (BSL) poetry performance by Alison Smith about love, longing, and the sexiness of touch. 1987, Summer is about a a baby dyke who has landed in a gay resort town during the AIDS crisis. She plays softball, goes clubbing, sleeps with lots of women, and learns about who she is and what she wants.
Part of BFI Love, in partnership with Plusnet bfi.org.uk/love
It is such an honor, and so humbling, that my movie will be screening on World AIDS Day 2015, because it is about me and my friends trying to figure out the world as gay men were dying around us. We were kind of blaming ourselves AND feeling guilty AND trying to not get AIDS AND trying to figure out a political response AND trying to be young, gender-non-conforming people when we had no analysis of gender or trans issues or sexism generally. We did all of that badly, I am sad to say. But I want to talk about that, and see how far we all still have to go on those issues, including a comprehensive response to AIDS.
Max is a too-cool-for-school young lesbian woman stressing over the fact she hasn’t had sex for ten months. After first dismissing hippy, excessive drinker of tea Ely, Max goes on a date with her, leading to a long-term mutual infatuation and a ‘will they, won’t they’ romantic trajectory. A collaboration between Guinevere Turner (The Watermelon Woman, Itty Bitty Titty Committee) and Rose Troche, Go Fish features a supporting cast of lesbian waifs and strays, including Ely’s sex addict roommate Daria and Max’s roommate Kia, whose girlfriend Evy has been kicked out her home by her homophobic mum.
Screening with short films Dyketactics and Summer, 1987. Dyketactics by Barbara Hammer is a sensuous, bold look at women’s desire and sexuality from a seminal lesbian filmmaker. Summer, 1987 by Krissy Mahan is set in summer in the late 1980s when a baby dyke has landed in a gay resort town during the AIDS crisis. She plays softball, goes clubbing, sleeps with lots of women, and learns about who she is and what she wants.
Free. Donations will be taken for World AIDS Day.
Part of SQIFF presents: Queer Women in Love, a season of films by and about lesbian, bisexual, and queer women. Part of BFI LOVE, in partnership with Plusnet bfi.org.uk/love.
BFI/Scottish Queer Film Festival: Queer Women In Shorts
December 15, 2015
The Royal Vauxhall Taver, London, England
Scottish Queer International Film Festival (SQIFF) in collaboration with Wotever DIY Film Festival and Bar Wotever presents a selection of shorts from SQIFF’s Queer Women in Love season, featuring films by and about lesbian, bisexual, and queer women. The line-up includes a range of styles and ideas relating to the theme of love from Barbara Hammer’s innovative 1970s lesbian experiment Dyketactics to Ami Nashimoto’s vegan, gluten-free date nightmare-comedy Dinner For Two, via queer filmmaking legend Cheryl Dunye’s very first film, Janine, and activist Krissy Mahan’s 1980s-set gay beach town dramedy, 1987, Summer.
With an introduction from SQIFF’s Helen Wright.
This is how accessibility, and information about it, is done well!
Tyneside Cinema is accessible for wheelchairs. Each of the Tyneside’s Cinema’s screens have power assisted doors and dedicated spaces for wheelchair users. If you specifically require tickets for the wheelchair spaces available in our auditoria, you can contact Box Office on 0845 217 9909. There is high contrast signage throughout the building, complete with braille. Tyneside also uses the Phonic infrared headset system to provide amplified sound in their screens. Headsets are available for this service from the Box Office on the ground floor and Tyneside Bar on the third floor.
There is a lot of interest these days about “vanishing queer spaces.” In 2010 I was part of a team that was fighting for the survival of The Starlite Lounge, the only Black-owned, non-discriminating, gay-friendly bar in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. A documentary about this bar is making the festival circuit this year, and it will be playing in Scotland this month. I have questions about the filmmakers’ process in making it.
Why did they make this film? Who has been able to see it? Why isn’t this video widely available for free, immediately?
I used to go to this bar because it was fun and had really nice people there. Also, it reminded me of the bars I’m used to, because it functioned as a senior center during the afternoon, like the bars in Gloucester City do. My grandmother ran the Kit Kat Tap Room back in the day, and a person could find child care, a used car, or someone to do a favor for you at a tavern like that.
I heard about the Starlite losing their lease during one of the evenings I was there drinking. The Starlite Lounge owners, regulars and members of the Audre Lorde Project’s Safe Outside The System developed a response. The Starlite Lounge was a S.O.S. Safe Space– The S.O.S. Collective organizes and educates local businesses and community organizations on how to stop violence without relying on law enforcement.
During those days while some of us were fighting to keep the space open, the directors of “We Came To Sweat” were trying to get good shots for their film.
Wortzel and Kunath gathered the Starlite community’s stories, and are selling those compelling stories to festival audiences. The Starlite community is priced out of their own history, their own story isn’t available in their own neighborhood. I have been trying to watch their completed documentary (finished years after the fact) and can’t find it except for at festival screenings. The NYC screening was not held in Crown Heights. How can Crown Heights residents watch this film? Have the Starlite regulars been present at screenings to tell their history themselves, or have the white directors flown to festival screenings, and talked “for” the customers of this traditionally Black bar?
Brookyn had the highest percentage of enslaved people of African descent per capita in New York State. After slavery was ended, people of African descent were only legally allowed to live (not own any property) near the area that became Crown Heights. Through the years this area suffered unbelievable civic neglect. So when white filmmakers gentrify this particular neighborhood, it is eliminating the only place where Black people have ever been even allowed to subsist in Brooklyn. White filmmakers are NOT just the “the next wave of immigrants,” no matter how good their intentions are. What is the filmmakers relationship to this historical reality?
In this Vice article online, the (white) director stated that they had never heard about the Starlite Lounge until they wanted to move to an apartment in the historically black neighborhood, Crown Heights. The Starlite had already learned they would lose their lease. Was a reaction of the filmmakers “wow this would make a great documentary!”
What improvements have been made to the neighborhood, and to the state of filmmaking in the neighborhood, as a result of the film? Even if a project seems valuable, if white filmmakers are making documentaries in racist ways, white filmmakers are supporting white supremacy.
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This “Letter To The Editor” was the first I’d heard about an attempt to “tart up” the Camden incinerator, and there isn’t any other public record of thie plan. I thought it must be a joke, but indeed, I guess it is not. when that incinerator is burning trash, you can smell it and see the dust everywhere. It also creates a toxic plume in whichever way the wind is blowing, usually over poor, Black Camden.
This incinerator is located very near the site of the old Welsbach Gas Mantle Factory. You’ll remember Welsbach from their poisoning Camden and Gloucester City with radioactive thorium for years, and their attempts to avoid their ethical, legal, and financial responsibility for poisoning my town for the next few million years.
(New York, N.Y. – Feb. 2, 2015) Money from a historic settlement reached with Anadarko and Kerr-McGee has now been disbursed for cleanups across the country, including $438 million that will go toward paying for past and future cleanup work at two New Jersey Superfund sites. The settlement funds will be used at the Welsbach Superfund site in Camden and Gloucester City, New Jersey and reimburse the federal government for substantial cleanup costs at the Federal Creosote Superfund site in Manville, New Jersey.”
“The Welsbach Company and the General Gas Mantle Company used radioactive material thorium from the late 1890s to 1941 to make the gas lamps manufactured at the facilities glow brighter. It is believed that thorium-contaminated waste from the manufacturing process was used as fill in surrounding areas. As a result, the soil and buildings on the Welsbach and General Gas Mantle properties, as well as surrounding properties, were contaminated. Approximately $222 million will be paid to EPA for cleanup of thorium contamination at the Welsbach Superfund site in Gloucester City, New Jersey. Among ongoing efforts related to the site, EPA has removed more than 200,000 cubic yards of radiologically contaminated soil and building materials from more than 140 properties in the Gloucester City and Camden areas and has investigated more than 900 properties.”
September, 1, 2015
Shut down Camden Incinerator
To the Editor (of the Courier-Post, Camden, NJ);
The planned rooftop bird nests at the Covanta waste-to-energy plant in Camden City are nothing but “green cover” for a dirty incinerator.
The pollution from this incinerator is not healthy for the birds or the people. One of the largest sources of air pollution in Camden is emissions from this facility. This kind of incinerator is inefficient, and poses risks to residents’ health and overall air quality.
This plant releases greenhouse gases and toxic ash, and is a major source of pollution. Incinerators like these raise particulate levels, both from plant itself and from the trucks using it.
Most problematic for the birds nesting on Covanta’s roofs are that the metals and mercury released can bio-accumulate in their bodies. This incinerator provides anything but clean energy. To really “go green,” we must end incinerators’ operations, and protect residents’ lungs and the environment.
Instead of incineration, New Jersey must increase recycling efforts to 75 percent recovery. This will not only save us money, but decrease toxic pollution. We can reduce, reuse and repurpose, and eliminate the need for dirty incinerators.
New Jersey must require composting and implement a “bottle bill” to provide a minimum refundable deposit on containers.
Covanta’s incinerators undercut recycling because they need to get enough trash to keep these dinosaur plants running. That’s why we should force them to close. Building a bird nest on top of an incinerator is like putting toxic lipstick on a pig.
New Jersey Sierra Club”
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I had been looking forward to the program Sunday afternoon featuring Digital Desperados called “The Best of GLITCH” since I heard about their film festival in the spring 2015 and i was so happy that I would get to see some of the films. And because I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with Nosheen and Cloudberry the day before, I was even more excited to see the fruit of their labor. After the screening, Nosheen and Tara Brown led a discussion about the films and their work.
“Digital Desperados are a Glasgow-based charity which run free filmmaking courses for women (trans welcome) of colour and hold free film screenings of films by/about people of colour. Glitch was their first dedicated 10 day *QTIPoC film festival from the 19th – 28th March 2015 – the first of it’s kind in Europe!
All films were subtitled and all live events were BSL interpreted
*queer(& lgb)/trans /intersex people of colour”
Here is the program:
What I Love ABout Being Queer Dir. Vivek Shraya, Canada, 2012 | 18 mins 23
34 beautiful Queers. One big question.
Drone Dir. Sharlene Bamboat, Canada, 2012, 1:53 min
Drone: a remote controlled aerial vehicle or missile; a monotonous speech.
Drone: a reaction to the current United States government drone attacks in Northern Pakistan. Drone examines the shifting nature of the language of war in the redefinition of the terms “civilian” and “casualty.”
The Homecoming: A Short Film About Ajamu Dir. Topher Campbell, UK, 17 min
This film follows and interviews the warm and engaging photographer Ajamu. It highlights the important significance of his skilled photography and his nuanced representation of black, gay men.
Womb Child | Dirs Andra Simons, Joao Trinidade & Coralita Simons, UK & Bermuda, 2015, 3 mins 26
In The Ladies Lounge Dir. Fadia Abboud, Australia, 2007, 12 mins
Two contemporary Lebanese Australian dykes come across an old poster from Beirut in 1926 of two women dressed in suits… Some things may have changed, some things certainly haven’t. *contains brief nudity*
On the Road Again Dir. Azra K, UK, 2013, 9 min 37
A poetic look at movement, sex and the open road and how necessary it is in the filmmaker’s life.
Purging Dir. Nabeela Vega, USA, 2013, 1 min 32
Nabeela Vega uses a split screen to create tension between simultaneous actions as the artist adorns, effects and purges fluid from their body in a ritual of cleansing and sacrifice. The body is referenced and explored as a temple within Indo-islamic traditions.
1000 Cum Shots | Dir. Wayne Yung | Canada | 2003 | 1 min
A fast paced meditation on race and gay pornography.
Ashes | Dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul | Thailand | 2012 | 20mins
Ashes contemplates love, pleasure, and the destruction of memory. The surroundings of everyday life are shared with extreme intimacy. For Apichatpong, Thailand, while full of beauty, is slowly collapsing into darkness.
I recommend you watch “Purging” by Nabeela Vega – I keep seeing it in my mind. Also, that night I would have liked to attend the “Wot Sex II” program curated by Ingo I attended Wotever Sex last year and it was really hot.
Sunday evening, my fanciest video yet – “1987, Summer” screened. I am so proud of it, and I was happy to see it looking pretty good on the big screen (I used my phone to make it, and if I would have preferred to use a real camera, but wotever, I wanted to get it made.) I was also happy that the audience laughed at all the right places. I’m finding that humor is a subtle art, or rather, things I think are HILARIOUS aren’t always what makes people laugh. (See: “My Craxy Boxers“) I was happy that my fabulous hosts, Angie West and Jac Nunns of Looking At You Productions, also had a draft of their new, fun and smart film in this program. For both movies, we were directing people on locations and pushing our work to a more ambitious level of making films.
I was also excited to see the film “A Teenage Melodrama In Four Parts” by Olivia Sparrow. Olivia Sparrow had made the movie “The Very Last Plea From My Heart”, Olivia Sparrow, 2012, UK, 00:06:50 From the BFI screening program notes: “The term ‘Queer’ has enormous scope, encompassing not only LGBTQIA* relationships, but alternatively or non-normatively gendered bodies and different modes of eroticism. In this beautifully shot film, tenderness and longing meet Brutalist architecture as the director explores her love affair with Birmingham Library. Frank and frankly sexy, it fuses the urban space with queer desire and is one of the most compelling and beguiling films we’ve ever shown.”) This film is also one of the most compelling and beguiling films I’ve ever seen.
The last film in the program was set in Tel Aviv, Israel. It had very high production values. The end credits scrolled by so quickly and were so small, that I wasn’t able to read them. It certainly looked like it had some funding, although that might be unfair of me to say, because some films at the program had no funding and were gorgeous. Ok, so I don’t consider myself a Debbie Downer, I like to think of myself as a hopeful, fun and non-judgemental person who supports other artists. So it was with some hesitancy that during the post-screening Q & A that I brought up the cultural boycott of Israel. If i remember correctly, I think I said “I don’t know anything about who made that last film set in Tel Aviv, but I want to say here that I support the cultural boycott of the state of Israel.” The moderator, Stephanie Goldberg, graciously asked me if I would like to say more about that. I said (I think) something about how I reject Israels’ attempts at pinkwashing – the fact is that Israel murders Palestinians, so using the LGBTQIA+ film festivals to promote that Israel is a great/humane/welcoming place, is both creepy and plainly wrong. The festival programmers thanked me for addressing this important issue. I think the festival organizers honestly also don’t know the provenance of this film, and were glad to have the discussion about BDS at the festival.
In this photo (l-r) Helen Wright of SQIFF and Lock Up Your Daughters, Jac Nuns of Looking At You Productions, krissy mahan, Olivia Sparrow, and Stephanie Goldberg at the Q & A after this Intergen program, August 23, 2015, The Cinema Museum, London.
August 23, 2015 was the last day of the Wotever DIY Film Festival, and I was sad to see it go. I went with Faith Taylor and her ladyfriend to Shoreditch for dinner, then on to Dalston for drinks, and didn’t get home until 4am. (Here’s a video I made a video for her song “Foolish Age.”)
Saturday started with breakfast with (the Danish boi band) New Male Privilege so I knew it would be a good day. I traveled together with my gracious hosts Jac and Angie of Looking at You Productions to the filmmaker’s networking event that they sponsored. I met some great people and had a good lunch before heading downstairs to the smaller theatre at The Cinema Museum, where the program I was in was held.
The event description reads: “22nd August 13.30 Film and Q&A with filmmakers.
Space, Place, DIY: A Three-way Retrospective of Bev Zalcock and Sara Chambers, Val Phoenix and Krissy Mahan
Ideas of community and place have rarely been as pertinent as they are now as we witness the turbo-gentrification of urban areas and rapid loss of queer spaces. In this retrospective, some of our favourite, DIY, lesbian or queer-identified filmmakers explore connections to space, place and time and depict the complex relationship between female or queer bodies and the urban or pastoral environments. In particular, these films embody an ultra-DIY ethic and experimentalism which forms an inspiring example of what can be achieved on little or no budget.”
I was honored that my films got such attention, and preparing for the Q & A made me carefully consider what the heck I am doing with my movies. When I make them, they seem pretty immediate, and this was the first time I presented them as a “body of work” – the 4 films selected (by their programmers) were “Until Justice Rolls,” “The Genesis of Butch & Femme,” “Starlite Stays,” and “Memoir, My Dykeumentary.” I attended the screening dressed as Faggotgirl, and of course had her with me.
My favorite film of the program was Bev Zalcock and Sara Chambers are Barrelstout Productions (formerly Pitbull Productions)’s Dayglo (You Know You Know), shot on Super 8, UK, 2011, 03:00 “Made in memory of Poly Styrene singer & songwriter, once of the punk band X Ray Spex. Poly’s music has always inspired us for its spirit of feminism & liberation; we’re particularly fond of ‘Oh Bondage Up Yours!’ The film’s soundtrack features her biggest hit, and uses an abstract array of vivid colours, some of which are made by painting food dyes on to the film emulsion.” Beautiful and hilarious.
The discussion after the movies was interesting and fun. We filmmakers had great discussion and the audience asked us thoughtful questions. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, and i even enjoyed it.
After the program, we went outside and had some beers, and I had the chance to connect with Digital Desperados, who came to London for a screening of their “Best of Glitch” (more on that tomorrow). They are brilliant and friendly and we even went to dinner together before the evening program! I felt really cool.
That evening I attended the program “The Personal Is Political.”
22nd August 19.30 @ Cinema Museum
“The Personal is Political is a fact most queers live with every day, especially if facing intersecting oppressions such as race, gender or disability. These films are about a politics that is both individual and universal in how it isolates and unites us. It’s about queer people of all identities finding their own way in the world, whether it’s through dance (Private Dancer, He’s the Greatest Dancer), music (I’m Not Your Inspiration), sexual exploration (Push Me), telling your story (Bedding Andrew) and ultimately through each other; in friendship (MingMong – about coming of age and rejection), family (Guao) and loved ones. These films showcase queer people’s explorations within this.”
Faggotgirl made her World Premiere in “Faggotgirl In Winter,” and my favorite movie was “Private Dancer -Catwalk” dir. Henri H Hiltunen, Sweden. As soon as I saw it I wanted to watch it again. I also loved “A Rabbit’s Tale,” dir. Rachel Shenton, UK, 2015 4:04 WORLD PREMIERE – and that movie is going to friggin’ Cannes Short Film Festival! Respect. I met Rachel and Becky on Thursday night because their movie “Morgan” was part of the Wotever DIY Film Festival at The British Film Institute on Thursday. After that program, we all went upstairs to catch the performance of New Male Privilege and a group from I think Sweden but I can’t find the name just now.
Angie, Ingo and Naomi from Planet London and I all went out to dinner after the program and had a lovely time.
(In this photo you can see Tanya Wol, Nosheen and Cloudberry of Digital Desperados, the other filmmakers in this program Barrelstout Productions, Val Phoenix and many of the kind people who attended. Thank you!
And here’s a photo from Saturday night, with the discussion led by festival programmer Stephanie Goldberg.