Thursday, June 15, 2017

Transtastic (2017)

Transtastic” (shorts program)
Monday, June 19, 7:00 p.m., Roxie Theatre

Umbrella, dir. Rhys Ernst, 2017 USA, 15 min.: North American première 🏁
Umbrella
Frameline says, “Umbrella tells the story of four individuals across the United States who are fighting for trans rights and representation amidst a rapidly changing landscape.” The filmmaker, Rhys Ernst, is a producer for the Amazon Prime series Transparent. Unfortunately, Umbrellas was not available for advance screening, so that’s just about all I can tell you about it.

• IMDb page for Rhys Ernstofficial website*This short also appears in the “Up Close & Personal” shorts program (Friday, June 23, 1:30 p.m., Castro Theatre)

The Curse, dir. Danny Tayara, 2017 USA, 4 min.: World première 👍
The Curse
Jesse (pictured) is getting ready for a hot date, but it’s “that time of the month,” and everything else seems to be going wrong, too. Since I’m a gay cis-man, I basically have no firsthand experience to relate to the specific backdrop of the story, but anyone can relate to the feeling of “why can’t I catch just one break today?” Well done; recommended.
IMDb pageofficial website • Facebook TheCurseShortFilm • Instagram: TheCurseFilm

After the Date, dir. Iris Devins, 2017 USA, 15 min.: World première 👏
After the Date
Emma (Pooya Mohseni, pictured) meets Nate, a kindred spirit, while she’s out on a photography excursion; they become romantically involved, but they soon have to face a difficult situation together. I don’t usually pay much attention to trigger warnings, but the scenes of police misconduct in this short had me seething in rage; I had to take a few minutes of deep breathing to come back down. Of course, that is the intended reaction to a scene of what is rightfully a deeply disturbing incident, and a testament to the filmmaker’s skill in presenting it, but brace yourself for an emotional experience. I don’t want to give away too much, but I will say that things get at least somewhat better at the end of the film. Highly recommended.
IMDb pageofficial websitetrailer (vimeo) •

Walk for Me, dir. Elegance Bratton, 2016 USA, 12 min.: U.S. première* 👏
Walk for Me
Hannah Kendricks is a young drag queen, about to make her debut on the stage at New York’s Femme Queen competition, but family complications intervene. Will Hannah hew to her birth family or her drag family? Can she reconcile the two? This well-made short film presents a compelling watershed moment in the life of someone clearly destined for fabulousness. Well worth seeing. Highly recommended.
IMDb page*This short also appears in “Realness & Revelations

Dusk, dir. Jake Graf, 2017 UK, 15 min.: Bay Area première 👍
Dusk
A British senior citizen is looking out their window at some children playing across the street, wistfully reminiscing about their own childhood. School and parents brutally enforced rigid gender roles: they weren’t allowed to play with a toy truck because that was deemed inappropriate for a little girl, for example. We then see a sequence of vignettes moving forward through their life, in each case seeing two versions of the events. It seems that each pair is the real world versus the world we would wish for, particularly in a scene of serious homophobic violence, but we know they’re still standing after all of that. I thought the intercutting of the alternate versions was a bit confusing, making it difficult to construct a through line for the story, but it’s well done for what it aims to do. Recommended.

Get the Life, dir. Ozzy Villazón, 2016 USA, 12 min.: Bay Area première 👍
Get the Life
Alex (Devanny Torres, pictured) is a teenaged transman, dealing with the unsettling news that he is pregnant. We see him in the clinic finding out about his medical options (and of course dealing with, “Sir, your girlfriend needs to come in herself” and similar reactions), and we see him hashing it out with his boyfriend. Alex remains steadfast and true to himself throughout the ordeal; we don’t know what will happen next, but we’re pretty sure somehow Alex will pull through. Recommended.
IMDb page • Facebook: GetTheLifeFilm


Muxes, dir. Ivan Olita, 2016 USA, 10 min., in Spanish with English subtitles 👏
Muxes
In southern Mexico’s Oaxaca state, near the narrowest part of the mainland, there is a small city called Juchitán de Zaragoza, where indigenous Zapotec and Huave people make up the majority. In traditional Zapotec culture, alongside the conventional categories of man and woman, there is the muxe (pronounced “MOO-shay”), someone who was assigned male at birth but who lives much like a woman, but yet neither truly man nor woman. Their role in society is broadly accepted. This short documentary gives us a brief introduction to the muxes, leaving us wanting to know more. Highly recommended.

Also known as Define Gender: Muxes; not to be confused with the 2005 feature-length documentary on similar subject matter, Muxes: Autenticas, intrépidas y buscadoras de peligro (a.k.a. Muxes: Authentic, Intrepid Seekers of Danger) from IMCINE.

IMDb pageofficial website (watch the full short film) • *also plays in the “Up Close & Personal” shorts program


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