Image + Nation celebrates and reflects as it turns 20.

0 Posted by - November 14, 2007 - Blog

Image + Nation, the week-long queer/glbt film fest in Montréal is celebrating 20 years of providing queers with something to get excited about as the days get shorter, colder. 20 Years: that's a long time… and opportunity to reflect back… to think ahead.

This Friday, Activist-Academics, Trish Salah and Marc Lafrance will facilitate a workshop/conference panel “Gender/Transgender Dynamics: Then and Now”. Featuring Julianne Pidduck (Canada), Kam Wai Kui (Netherlands), Chris Straayer (USA), and Paul Vek Lewis (Autralia). the panel will discuss issues of community, cinematic representations, and notions of performativity.

Proving to be an interesting panel, i+n combines workshop and film to engage activists, filmmakers, queers, artists and filmgoers in a conversation about the community's evolution over the last two decades.

In its “Gender Trouble” programming, i+n will feature the following films: Black Men and Me by Michéle Clarke, Dedicated to Rebelsexuals by Anita Schoepp, Gender Trouble by Tom de Pekin, Lucy and Those Eyes by Margo St-Amour, Trannymal by Dylan Vade & Chrys Curtis-Fawley, The Perfect Man by Maria Akesson, The Boyschoir of Lesbos in New Shoes by Moynan King and, the controversial, The Gendercator by Catherine Crouch.

Crouch's Gendercator has been subject to much criticism by the trans community in San Francisco, and was actually the first film to ever be pulled from the San Francisco Frameline Festival.

The film's transphobic premise will undoubtedly conjure up some resistance among queer and trans folks attending the screening.

I+N's 20th anniversary is indeed a time to revisit the mandate and to explore these issues further.

In response to the hype surrounding the short film, Anna Pully from Dramanonymous writes:

“A strictly textual reading of the film, not of the filmmaker’s politics, presents an innocuous, somewhat clichéd, B-rated film that is garnering much more attention than it deserves. And advocating for it to be barred from future festivals is, in a way, giving the film greater sway when it would’ve most likely dropped off into obscurity a few months after its festival runs. As Feder says, “Honestly what I think needs to be addressed is WHY people are reacting so strongly – the ISSUES need to be addressed not the film itself” (emphasis hers). I couldn’t agree more, especially when a majority of the arguments surrounding the film begin, “Well, I haven’t seen it but…””

Those lucky enough to be in Montréal for the weeklong Festival will have a chance to see what the hype is all about (…or skip off and see something else).

Dykes on Mykes Radio has dedicated an entire show to this debate, schedule for December 10th.

But enough about the Gendercator already!

This blogger's pick are:

“Red Without Blue” by Brooke Sebold, Benita Sills, Todd Sills

and

Gwen Haworth 's She's a Boy I Knew

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Red Without Blue
Brooke Sebold, Benita Sills, Todd Sills | U.S.A. | 2006 | video | 77 min | english

Red Without Blue is a resolutely honest portrait of identical twins Mark and Alexander Farley as they come out gay and transsexual respectively. As their parents Jennie and Scott reminisce about happier, more innocent times, the Farleys’ picket-fenced idyll is soon overtaken by divorce, drug use, Mark and Alexander’s gender/sexual orientation issues, sexual abuse – and joint attempted suicides. Reunited after two years, Mark and Alexander are further rocked by Alexander’s desire to become Clair. Jennie’s ambivalence about Clair’s transition is contrasted with Scott’s unwavering support. Mark and Clair rely upon the enduring power of twins as they begin their journeys towards adulthood. Directors Brooke Sebold, Benita and Todd Sills craft an exquisite, multi-layered narrative from Polaroid snaps, Super-8 home movies, and footage shot by Mark and Clair themselves. Filmed over three years, Red Without Blue has garnered seven awards for documentary filmmaking at both mainstream and LGBT festivals. A haunting soundtrack featuring Indie stars Anthony and the Johnsons, Cocorosie and The Magnetic Fields guides this incisive and intimate account of a family’s death – and, ultimately, its rebirth. – BP

Gwen Haworth, a filmmaker who makes her home in Vancouver, turns her camera at herself for this simple, down-to-earth documentary that follows her transition from male to female over the course of several years. This thoughtful film is less a detailing of surgeries and more a meditation on family ties – a mapping of the transitions that take place within Gwen’s blood relationships, friendships and love over a time of great personal transformation. Through one-on-one interviews as well as photographs, letters and phone messages, she gives plenty of space for her mother, father, sisters, wife and best friend to tell their stories and share their reactions to the ongoing process of her transition. Their words are at times painful to hear, but the sheer honesty of Gwen’s family in recounting their fear, anger, understanding and support provides an exceptional snapshot of one family’s journey in coping with change and learning to love Gwen as she is – much as she learns to do the same. – AZ

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