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Filmmaker Spotlight: ASH BARKER and MOLLY PEASE

Posted on October 30, 2019

Ash Barker and Molly Pease

Co-Director of “Eat Rich”
PROGRAM 4 Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 9pm

What inspired you to make Eat Rich?

Molly and I wanted to write something together that covered our interests in genre and provides queer representation that’s not often seen. Our friends and I were discussing all the tragic news of trans people who have died as a result of hate crimes, and we began to think about what it would look like if they had a chance to come back to life. What if they were given immortal power? What could our community achieve if the threat of violence was removed from the equation? This short only briefly touches on that idea, but we have plans to expand the story if given the opportunity. 

 

What was the greatest joy or happy surprise while making this film?

This was the first film both of us got the chance to make, so getting to work with a full cast and crew was a dream. There were challenges as well, but it’s always such a gift to have other super-intelligent, thoughtful artists add and build onto your idea. Specifically for Ash, getting to work with Evelyn Landow on music was a happy surprise in that it went super smoothly and in a very short amount of time! We’re all really proud of how the music came out for the film. 

 

What was the greatest challenge or fear while making this film?

Wow. So many. Making films is hard y’all! Crowdfunding was a big hurdle, especially compared to other things we’ve been involved with (music, podcasts, comics) a film by far has the most barriers financially so working within our budget was a constant fear. But through the support of community and friends, we were able to make it work! 

 

What are one or two of your favorite films? What makes those films great?

Sorry to Bother You was our favorite movie of 2018. The storytelling, visuals, and acting are all great. We love the ending, also. It was a really fun ride, and we definitely recommend it to anyone who steals their friend’s Hulu account.

Another one would be The Last Jedi (controversial!). Ash is a huge Star Wars fan, it was a lot of fun to see the film subvert the foundations of the franchise. But, even outside of its impact and horrible fandom, Ash just likes big genre blockbusters that are funny, imaginative, and messy. (Honorable mentions: The Goonies, Army of Darkness, Ex Machina.)



What is your ideal future for trans and non-binary representation in media?

We would like to see more visibly trans and nonbinary folks centered in stories. Media as a whole is still in that early phase of only thinking cis-passing trans folks can be on film. We also want to see them represented in a way that is not just about the trauma they endure. Trans people are well aware of the daily trauma they face, and neither us nor our trans friends particularly want to watch things that are trauma centered. That type of content always feels like it’s more to teach a cis audience. So we would love to see trans and non-binary representation that shows the daily joys and resilience of our community. 

 

What’s next for you as a filmmaker or as an artist?

Ash and I are working with friends in Chicago to create a queer horror anthology podcast called Lavender Scare. It’s basically the Twilight Zone, but really queer. Ash is also working on comics under Fake Gamer Girl Comics (or @fggcomic on most social media), and she’ll have some stuff printed soon! We like to stay pretty busy so please follow us on social media!

Eat Rich

Directed by
Ash Barker + Molly Pease

PROGRAM 4
Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 9pm
Roxie Theater

A comedy / horror film following a latinx trans woman, Rose, on her first day as a zombie when she must decide who to eat.

*To purchase tickets for this program, be sure to click on “Sat Nov 9 2019 9:00PM” from the drop down menu.


Filmmaker Spotlight: DARYEN RU

Posted on October 28, 2019

Daryen Ru

Co-Director of “Denim”
PROGRAM 2 Friday, November 8, 2019 at 8pm
🤟ASL/Captioned for Deaf/HH

What inspired you to make Denim?

I conceived the idea for the movie at the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency in 2016. I was (and still am) infuriated by the president’s  discrimination of the LGBTQIA+ community.

 

What was the greatest joy or happy surprise while making this film?

So many people donated their time to working on the film and it was incredibly heartwarming. People really care about the topic and were more than willing to put their energy into it.

 

What was the greatest challenge or fear while making this film?

Raising funds was incredibly difficult and was actually the hardest part of making the film. We had a lot of people on social media, including amazing talents such as Ilana Glazer and Ian McKellen, share about the project, but reaching our fundraising goal was still a struggle. With the support of many people, we finally got there.

 

What are one or two of your favorite films? What makes those films great?

It won’t do me well to share this, but Shrek and Harry Potter. They are self explanatory in their greatness I think.

 

What is your ideal future for trans and non-binary representation in media?

That trans & non-binary individuals are playing characters that are not dependent on how they represent but on what their talent allows.

 

What’s next for you as a filmmaker or as an artist?

I am working on some documentaries going forward about physical and mental health.

Denim

Directed by
Daryen Ru + Lucas McGowen

PROGRAM 2
Friday, November 8, 2019 at 8pm
🤟ASL/Captioned for Deaf/HH
Roxie Theater

On a regular day at school, Micayla is outed as transgender when a rival classmate vengefully takes a photo of her using the girl’s bathroom.

*To purchase tickets for this program, be sure to click on “Fri Nov 8 2019 8:00PM” from the drop down menu.


Filmmaker Spotlight: StormMiguel Florez

Posted on October 26, 2019

StormMiguel Florez

Director of “The Whistle”
PROGRAM 2 Friday, November 8, 2019 at 8pm
🤟ASL/Captioned for Deaf/HH

What inspired you to make The Whistle? 

I was actually talked into it by a friend of mine. I’m still very close with my high school girlfriend, Charlene Padilla Johnson – who is interviewed in the film. Oftentimes when we get together, we talk about our history and what it was like being out in high school in the 80s, the language and codes we used, all the people we dated, all the places we hung out. Her girlfriend, Erin Northern is from the Midwest and was in high school in the 90s and is always in awe of the queer community we had in Albuquerque growing up. She said she never knew anyone like her. This is something I hear from a lot of people my age and even younger when sharing coming out stories from around that time period. Erin told me a few times that there needs to be a documentary about Albuquerque lesbian youth culture in the 80s and that I should make it. I was hesitant because I didn’t really see myself as a film director – I like to edit. I said “nah, you make it” over and over again until my wyfe, Annalise Ophelian (director of MAJOR!) told me that it was a really good idea and that she would love to shoot it. I finally agreed and decided to center it, somewhat loosely around a secret whistle that young lesbians used to find each other back then. The rest is history, or herstory… or hxstory. 

 

What was the greatest joy or happy surprise while making this film?

The greatest joy and happy surprise while making this film was that this particular part of our culture extended beyond the 80s. The codes we used and the specific dyke culture we came out into had been going on since at least the early 70s in Albuquerque. I got to meet and interview people who knew everything I knew and much more about how and why my peers and I got to come out into such a strong and celebratory culture. 

 

What was the greatest challenge or fear while making this film? 

I LOVE everyone I interviewed. I couldn’t be happier with the amazing group of people who shared their stories so generously. I only wish I had had more access to older lesbians and specifically more Latinx lesbians who were out as youth in the 70s & 80s. I put out a big call early on for participants, and had a lot of people helping me reach out, but I just think that I was an unknown, especially since I looked like some random guy that wanted to make this film about them. I made it clear that I was a trans guy who was out as a lesbian back then, and that I would share my story as well. But a lot of people didn’t seem too interested in being on camera. It’s funny because after the film was pretty much complete and the official trailer came out, a lot of people came forward saying they wanted to tell their story. 

One thing I had fear around was being this trans guy making this film. I had to deadname myself a lot to remind people who I was as I was reaching out to potential participants. I didn’t know how people would respond, but as it turns out, Albuquerque is still queer as f*ck. Everyone was really really cool and excited for me to be who I am. A couple of older butches I met, who are in the film, Bern and Ro, were so excited for me to be trans and told me how good I look. Ro calls me “mijo,” which just melts my heart every time. 

 

What are one or two of your favorite films? What makes those films great?

 5 Broken Cameras is my favorite documentary. It is almost entirely told by a Palestinian West Bank village resident, Emad Burnat who bought a camera to film his newborn child. He ends up using the camera to film protests against Israeli settlers and the destruction of their village. Each of his cameras ends up being broken or shot by Israeli soldiers. He ends up finding ways to get another camera to continue filming his community and the protests. This film is a beautiful example of how powerful and effective people telling their own stories can be, as opposed to outsiders coming in to tell their stories for them. 

 

What is your ideal future for trans and non-binary representation in media?

Trans/nonbinary people making more films that aren’t only necessarily about being trans/nb. All trans/nb characters being played only by trans/nb actors – at least until a vast majority of trans/nb actors are also being cast as non-trans characters.

Way more trans/nb directors, trans/nb casting directors, trans/nb cinematographers and directors of photography, trans editors… you get the picture. Stories about trans/nb people being heroes, everyday people, artists, brujxs, teachers, activists – without their transness needing to be a central component to their story.

 

What’s next for you as a filmmaker or as an artist?

My partner, Annalise Ophelian and I are in early production on a documentary about trans choreographer, dancer, and activist Sean Dorsey. We are so excited to follow Sean and his company around as they develop their new show. He is doing such important work in the dance world and in the arts world for trans and nonbinary people. We are so excited for his story to be told on film.

The Whistle

Directed by StormMiguel Florez

PROGRAM 2
Friday, November 8, 2019 at 8pm
🤟ASL/Captioned for Deaf/HH
Roxie Theater

A feature documentary film about a special time and place in Southwest U.S. LGBT history, and the secret codes shared among young queers and lesbians in 1970s and 80s Albuquerque, New Mexico as a means of self-identification and finding community.

*To purchase tickets for this program, be sure to click on “Fri Nov 8 2019 8:00PM” from the drop down menu.


Filmmaker Spotlight: Annie Dean-Ganek

Posted on October 23, 2019

Annie Dean-Ganek

Director of “Carving Space”
PROGRAM 6 Sunday, November 10, 2019 at 6pm

What inspired you to make Carving Space?

I became inspired to make Carving Space because I felt that there was a huge lack of representation and coverage of queer skateboarders in the skateboarding community. I had graduated from film school and I worked in the film industry and I really wanted to film skateboarders but had no idea how to go about it since I also didn’t have a lot of skate friends in LA yet. I was getting really close to quitting my office job at a post-production house and I had been really inspired by the Unity Skateboarding meet-ups I had gone to and it kind of just clicked. I had never seen any “professional” media coverage about the queer skate community and the major coverage I was seeing on female skaters were being filmed by a lot of cis-white men working with major brands which bothered me a bit. It can feel very exploitive when a minority group is doing something really powerful and unique and the way it gets show to the world is through the lens of a cis-het white male. As a queer POC filmmaker and skateboarder who had been a part of the female and queer skate scene, I wanted Carving Space to have a grounded perspective from within.

 

What was the greatest challenge or fear while making this film?

The greatest challenge making this film was finding resources. I work as a freelance grip in the film industry and so I would spend all my free time working on the film and sometimes that meant turning down work to work. Money was also really difficult because films are expensive to make. I went into debt making this film but I was incredibly fortunate that people wanted to support this doc on Indiegogo and also that Leah Eckelberger from Nike SB discovered my Indiegogo and reached out to me about Nike sponsoring it. Another challenge was also making sure that queer skaters felt comfortable with being filmed and not exploited in anyway. I wanted skaters to feel like they could tell their truth and know that their voice wasn’t going to be used or manipulated. I also wanted to make sure queer skaters felt that they were being presented fairly and accurately and so I showed the film to queer skate friends and non-skate friends who are queer in order to hear feedback. The other biggest challenge was just making sure that the film came together and each piece flowed well. I didn’t focus on one individual which made telling a story a lot harder. Since it was my first time making a film like this there were a lot of lessons I learned and a lot of opinions and advice I asked for from friends and other filmmakers. I could not have done this film without everyone who supported the film and me and my friends who donated their time and equipment to this film (big shout out to: Genesis Henriquez, my creative partner, co-producer/co-editor, and emotional support, Jabari Canada my DP, and Darren Samuels my Camera Op).

 

What is your ideal future for trans and non-binary representation in media?
My ideal future for trans and non-binary representation in media is just that there is more of it. But also more diversity in general and more diverse filmmakers behind the lens who can help put diversity in front of the lens too. There’s still a lot of people out there who don’t understand what it means to be trans or non-binary and I think that having more representation in the media will help educate people and encourage more accepting attitudes and conversations.

Carving Space

Directed by Annie Dean-Ganek

PROGRAM 6 
Sunday, November 10, 2019 at 6pm
Roxie Theater

Follows the grassroots skateboarding organization, Unity and affiliated queer skate activists, including 2019 U.S.A. Olympic Skateboarding team member, Lacey Baker, as they provide spaces and voices to the often-overlooked queer community.

*To purchase tickets for this program, be sure to click on “Sun Nov 10 2019 6:00PM” from the drop down menu.


Filmmaker Spotlight: Elliott Feliciano

Posted on October 21, 2019

Elliott Feliciano

Director of “To Be With You”
PROGRAM 4 Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 9pm

What inspired you to make To Be With You?

I wrote and directed To Be With You because I hadn’t seen, at the time, a love story that involved queer Latinx characters and actors, especially with a trans lead. I thought, if I was feeling that way then I’m sure there are others out there feeling the same way. So I decided to do something about it. The only way to have our stories told, genuinely, is for us to create and make them ourselves.

 

What was the greatest challenge or fear while making this film?

We made this film on a shoestring budget. We didn’t get the funding we wanted, so we put our own money into. And our crew was just myself, my DP, and our assistant camera guy. Despite the obstacles, we knew that we had a great story that needed to be told. So we trekked on and made it work with what we had. And in the end, it became a beautiful little gem.

 

What are one or two of your favorite films? What makes those films great?

Two of my favorite films are Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing and Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love. To me, what makes these films great are the stories, the directing, and the cinematography.

 

What is your ideal future for trans and non-binary representation in media?

An ideal future of trans and non-binary representation would be seeing our stories normalized. We’re more than just coming out stories. We live normal lives like every other cis person. We’re proud of who we are. I want to see proper representation both in front of and behind the camera. We should be creating, making, and telling our own stories.

 

What’s next for you as a filmmaker or as an artist?

I’m creating a queer comedic web series to be filmed in Puerto Rico next year. I haven’t seen any queer tv/web series, yet, based in Puerto Rico that tell stories of the LGBTQ+ community there. I want to change that. As a queer/trans Puerto Rican from the diaspora, I want to tell our stories not only in the diaspora but, also, on the island.

To Be With You

Directed by Elliott Feliciano

PROGRAM 4 
Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 9pm
Roxie Theater

Alex is in Los Angeles for 24 hours to reclaim their father’s ashes. Along the way, Alex finds an old love, a beauty in the city, and a final connection to the past.

*To purchase tickets for this program, be sure to click on “Sat Nov 9 2019 9:00PM” from the drop down menu.


Filmmaker Spotlight: Daryl Jones

Posted on October 18, 2019

Daryl Jones

What is your ideal future for trans and non-binary representation in media?

I hope for a future in which the representation of black trans women is not limited in film and television to positions in front of the camera. I hope they have larger roles as directors and producers. While more black trans women are appearing in movies and on T.V. I hope to see them in more non-entertainment roles, such as announcers and news anchors.

 

What are one or two of your favorite films? What makes those films great?

I’m a sucker for westerns and The Magnificent 7 (1960) is at the top of my list. My second favorite right now is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018). Both are excellent examples of how to tell a simple story with universal themes but what makes them a delight for me is that they show us that anyone can be a hero. No matter if we are inexperienced, or reluctant, or small we can still achieve something great for the betterment of everyone. I think we really need to be reminded of that right now. 

 

What’s next for you as a filmmaker or as an artist?

I’m currently working on a documentary set in the Mississippi Delta town of Clarksdale. The New Roxy Theater explores the tensions of black film spectatorship during segregation through the stories of family and friends with close ties to a defunct movie house, the New Roxy.

Tender

Directed by Daryl Jones

PROGRAM 5 – Sun, Nov 10, 2019 at 4pm
Roxie Theater

Tender tells the story of three black trans women and their inextricable connections to San Francisco’s often maligned Tenderloin neighborhood and the tensions caused by San Francisco’s housing crisis.

*To purchase tickets for this program, be sure to click on “Sun Nov 10 2019 4:00PM” from the drop down menu.


Filmmaker Spotlight: Brit Fryer

Posted on October 14, 2019

Brit Fyer

Director of “Across, Beyond and Over”
PROGRAM 4 – Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 9:00 PM 

What inspired you to make Across, Beyond, and Over?

This film began as a DM to an old friend, was developed as an interrogation of representation, and became a story of memory and friendship. In constructing a film about the transgender gaze, I discovered the most important element was my first partner, Ryan. As a trans filmmaker toying the lines between reality and fiction, I thrive in blurring binaries and sometimes failing. This “queer art of failure”, coined by Jack Halberstam, “turns on the impossible…quietly loses, and in losing it imagines other goals for life, for art, for being.”

 

What was the greatest challenge or fear while making this film?

Being on-screen was a challenge. I had crafted such a personal project but realized quickly that I couldn’t do it alone. Having my co-director, Nona Schamus, alongside me was so critical in crafting this film, which was also a personal journey of forgiveness and memory. 

 

What’s next for you as a filmmaker or as an artist?

Currently, I am producing a short film by my co-director Nona Schamus and their partner Arno Mokros, called KIND OF. KIND OF is a trans dramedy about love when your partner knows you better than you know yourself. We are slated for principal photography in January 2020. 

Across, Beyond and Over

Directed by Brit Fryer

PROGRAM 4 – Sat, Nov 9, 2019 at 9pm
Roxie Theater

A hybrid documentary about two trans men who used to date in middle school reconnecting over a long weekend to develop a film about their past. 

*To purchase tickets for this program, be sure to click on “Sat Nov 9 2019 9:00PM” from the drop down menu.


Filmmaker Spotlight: Dani Chaparro

Posted on October 11, 2019

Dani Chaparro

Director of “Consonance”
PROGRAM 3 – Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 7pm  

What inspired you to make Consonance?

I wanted to make this project as encouragement and reminder to share our most intimate truths, especially our isolating feelings with others, whether that be in conversation or through media. Books and films have helped me discover things about my own mental health and provided me with language to describe my emotions. I wanted to make a film that was both an homage to those connections and a continuation of that process. I hope Consonance offers options for relief to those struggling to articulate how they are feeling, and to remind us that there are infinite opportunities for kindness and empathy in relationships and in media we consume.

 

What was the greatest joy or happy surprise while making this film?

How much love and care was put in by each person who helped support the project or lend their talents to the creation of it. Feeling like a team helped me attack those same isolating feelings I wrote about in the script. 

 

What was the greatest challenge or fear while making this film?

The greatest challenge was putting the actors in dark spaces, and finding a unique vocabulary to share these feelings with each performer in a way they connected to. Exploring whether we related on certain shared experiences, imagery, music, or moods was a challenge I had to accept during filmmaking. Hearing how others in different situations felt similarly also became the most fruitful part of this process.

 

What’s next for you as a filmmaker or as an artist?

Grad school, theater design, and more challenges that break me open!

Consonance

Directed by Dani Chaparro

PROGRAM 3 – Sat, Nov 9, 2019 at 7pm
Roxie Theater

A queer-directed, acted, and produced experimental film that meditates on a quote by James Baldwin.

*To purchase tickets for this program, be sure to click on “Sat Nov 9 2019 7:00PM” from the drop down menu.


Filmmaker Spotlight: Jeanette Sears + Nicole Solomon

Posted on November 6, 2018

Jeanette Sears + Nicole Solomon

Director of “Sanctuary”
PROGRAM 1 – Fri, Nov 9, 2018 at 8pm

What  was the inspiration for your film?

Jeanette – This film came from a place of wanting to see more queer history on screen. The few portrayals we currently have are often white washed, cis male stories, and I wanted to shed light on the fact that other people existed in times before us. Obviously there’s a strong influence from Leslie Feinberg’s work (a personal Queero of mine), but really the inspiration was hoping to tell a piece queer history that included people of color and examine the ideas of being outside the gender binary even in the 1960’s.

 

What is one thing you’ve learned from making your film?

Jeanette – I acted in the film for the first time, and I learned how important it is, as a director, writer, creator, to know your characters! Knowing what I wanted to say with the film truly helped in being able to act and help my co-star act as well.

Nicole – I loved co-directing with Jeanette. I hadn’t co-directed anything since a horror parody my sister and I made for fun back when I was in college and I didn’t know if the process would work for me. I worried about a too-many-cooks effect, but it wasn’t like that at all. Jeanette and I have worked together on a number of shorts and this felt like a natural extension of our ongoing collaboration. I think we communicated well and expectations were clear, including that, at the end of the day, this was Jeanette’s film and I was on set to help execute their vision. They did a great job laying out that vision to me and it was a pleasure to bring their excellent script to life.

 

What is the future of trans/gendernonconforming filmmaking?

Jeanette – I truly hope that there are more and more trans / gnc directors, writers, cinematographers, and creators behind the camera, not only in front of it. It’s so important for us to tell our own stories and share our world view. Being in front of the camera is vital, but we should have the power to tell the world about our lives and make the stories that we’re acting in.

Nicole – Hopefully more trans/gnc folks behind the camera as well as in front of it, telling their own stories. The world needs more films from trans/gnc filmmakers of all genres, on all subjects.

 

What is a highlight or a favorite memory from working on your film

Jeanette – This was a first for me, directing and acting as well. I very much enjoyed working with Nicole as the director on set, because I knew I could focus on acting and trust her instincts in terms of direction and working with our other frequent collaborator, DP Yessica Curiel Montoya. Knowing the two of them were taking care of the logistics / technical aspects was a godsend, and the film is everything I had hoped for.

Nicole – Watching Jeanette and Latresa play off each other was so rewarding, they make an amazing team. I also hit the art department jackpot and did a solid for my grandmother all in one when I asked if I could use some of the half-century old (really) items in her guest bathroom medicine cabinet for the film. She was delighted to get rid of it, and now I have authentic 1960s mouthwash, ace bandages and more! I’ll have to make another period piece.

 

Name 3 of your all-time favorite films.

Jeanette – Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Carol, Skyfall

Nicole – Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, American Psycho, Get Out

Sanctuary

Directed by Jeanette Sears + Nicole Solomon

PROGRAM 1 – Fri, Nov 9, 2018 at 8pm
Roxie Theater

*To purchase tickets for this program, be sure to click on “Fri Nov 9 2018 8:00PM” from the drop down menu.


Filmmaker Spotlight: Lorin Murphy

Posted on November 2, 2018

Lorin Murphy

Director of “Homosafe”
PROGRAM 2 – Sat, Nov 10, 2018 at 7pm

What  was the inspiration for your film?

The song Homosafe first of all and secondly a story one of the band members shared while we were in the script writing process. A night after one of the “alt-right” nazi rallies in Berkeley, a group of nazis tried to get in the door of 924 Gilman st. The club’s security and patrons and the bands chased the nazis to their car.

 

What is one thing you’ve learned from making your film?

When working with a large cast, its important to have a few background action directors and possibly a bull horn.

 

What is the future of trans/gendernonconforming filmmaking?

My hope for the future is that there will be better representation of trans and gender non conforming people in the media. I feel the way we will get there is to have more trans and gender non conforming people making film and television and more being cast in those roles.

 

What is a highlight or a favorite memory from working on your film

Working with my friends to make some art together and also smashing a car.

 

Name 3 of your all-time favorite films.

Thats a tough one, like really tough. The Dreamers by Bernardo Bertolucci, Tangerine by Sean Baker and I don’t know… the 5th Element, I could watch that movie over and over.   

Homosafe

Directed by Lorin Murphy

PROGRAM 2 – Sat, Nov 10, 2018 at 7pm
Roxie Theater

*To purchase tickets for this program, be sure to click on “Sat Nov 10 2018 7:00PM” from the drop down menu.