Monday, June 08, 2009

Frameline 33 (SF LGBT Film Festival, 2009) - Transtastic

Frameline33: San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, the world’s premiere showcase for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender cinema, runs June 18-28, 2009, with screenings in San Francisco at the historic Castro Theatre, Roxie Theater and the Victoria Theatre, and in Berkeley at Rialto Cinemas Elmwood. Tickets are available via the website 24 hours a day, via fax, or in person at the Frameline Festival Box Office Counter.

The films in this program of short subjects are about, by, for transexual men and women. It screens once: Thursday, June 25, 7:00 PM at the Victoria Theatre. The program is listed in order as presented via screener and subject to change and includes:

MICHELLE'S FIRST WEDDING IN A DRESS (dir. Ann von Hageman, USA, 2008, 5 min.) A sweet, short video of Michelle, who is getting married in San Francisco to her lesbian girlfriend. Apparently, she was married before, but she wasn't wearing the dress, then! Clever little bit of titling and concept, that...

BIG DEAL (dir. Hilary Goldberg, USA, 2008, 4 min.) Oh, I hate it when I get irksome! It attempts to recreate the shooting of Andy Warhol by writer Valerie Solanas, so what that has to do with being "transtastic" is beyond me, to begin with. This hip-hop video attempts to be an Andy Warhol homage, and it drove me nuts. Granted, the music by Katastrophe is not really to my taste, but I found it bearable. However, the video was shot on Super 8, which is probably the total low-tech, antithesis of how the music was produced. It just grated on me in style and execution.

BEING LISA (dirs. Gene Hosington , Becca Louisell, USA, 2007, 10 min.) This piece feels a bit thrown together. The script is underdeveloped and the performances are not all they could be. (A chicken or the egg quandry?) The production goes straight for the awkward moments, and it is a bit high on the melodrama. Using slow motion to punctuate a moment is risky under great circumstances, but considering the general slow pace of the acting here, it is not a good choice. The situation and relationships involved in a business dinner that turns romantic is complicated enough, but to toss in the transgender issue, and then adding on the influence of surrounding friends is just way too much for this ten minutes to handle!

LIFE (dir. Aarin Burch, USA, 2008, 4 min.) and TELL ME THE... (dir. Bobby Poirier, USA, 2008, 4 min.) These are quite simply, a pair of music videos for "Billboard charting transman," Joshua Klipp, and featuring the queer modern dance company, Sarah Bush Dance Project, and "catwalk pageant winner, Asia Vitale." I liked the songs, and visually, they're pretty standard, though.

BLINK (dir. Silas Howard, USA, 2009, 11 min.) Director Silas Howard, who was a member of the great ensemble of DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS has cast an equally talented ensemble, featuring Ben Foster (playing sort of a skin head brother), in this bleak and depressing story. I wasn't sure where the "transtastic" part was, as it appeared to be more lesbian oriented, since neither party expressed tranny tendencies, except for the visual of polishing a gun and beer bottle. Yes, a gun and a beer bottle, Dr. Freud. There is also an awkward kiss in the hall. The photography is dark and murky too, and... what's up with the sea cucumbers?

KADEN LATER (dir. Harriet Storm, USA, 2008, 9 min.) Animated sequences featuring an interview about the physiological transition from female-to-male, and the ambiguity of leaving behind the female, are interwoven with live action footage of his daily life. There is also a nice little bit that speaks to marriage equality. Frankly, I don't really remember much of this, now that I am reviewing my notes... Ah well...

TRANSPROOFED (dir. Andrea James, USA, 2009, 14 min.) Calpernia Adams (Transamerican Love Story) races to hide hints that she is transsexual before her unaware date arrives at her over-the-top apartment. Her best friend is played by Andrea James, who was a consultant on Transamerica. Calbpernia and Andrea show a great deal of cheistry and some comic flair. Ironically, it is Joel Lambert who is the weakest link in this small ensemble, though he has the most experience. The script is a bit overplayed for farce, but with a little brushing up, it could become a fun little feature.

AMONG COLORS AND RAZORS (Entre Cores e Navalhas) (dirs. Catarina Accioly, Ibere Carvalmo, Brazil, 2007, 15 min.) This is actually a joyful little bit about a male and female (yes, one does need to get specific about these gender things here) who meet everyday on a bus. He approaches his boyfriend about his transition, which the new girlfriend (sort of) embraces and the boyfriend does not. Sort of understandably, I guess. Anyway, I had a fun time watching it!

TRANZPLOITATION (dir. Rachel Matlow, Canada, 2008, 8 mins.) [Unavailable for preview] Frameline: "The story follows Kaleb as he fights discrimination, exploits his new trans-man identity (hello cheaper haircuts) and makes the personal decision to get the surgery he needs (Botox of course). Don’t miss the cameo by Amy Ray of Indigo Girls fame."

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