Now Serving: Experimental Shorts by Trans Filmmakers

Co-programmed by Mariales Diaz Batista, Malkah Manouel, Ruairí McCann & Maximilien Luc Proctor

We are proud to present 14 short films by trans filmmakers, streaming worldwide for free, from June 14 through June 28, 2024.

Paired with the films is an essay written by co-programmer Mariales Diaz Batista, which can be read below.

For the month of June, we will be donating 50% of all new Patreon sign ups to purchase eSIMs for Gaza. Those at the $7/month tier and above will get access to our Movie Club, a streaming series where we show an exclusively curated program of experimental films every month.

Many of the filmmakers in this program have selected other charities they want to highlight as well—please check them out below and consider donating if you have the means.

Now Serving

by Mariales Diaz Batista

When I think of my transness, images burst out in my mind, some crystallized and others abstract, seldom clear, leaving me to interpret them. It first arrived similar to hunger—it brewed slowly and in an instant made itself so prevalent that my whole body screamed. I can’t recall how it clicked—I saw someone’s haircut, the bulge of a man’s jeans, smelled a cologne, read a poem, saw the top surgery scars of a reality TV star—I only remember finally understanding who looked back at me in the mirror. 

It happened halfway through my undergraduate degree in film, but in a way I always knew, as did everyone else. My friends nodded at the new information: “my pronouns are they/them now,” I declared, as we gathered in my dorm room. They glared back at me, waiting for something else to come out of my mouth—sometimes the closet is crystal clear. It was all very anticlimactic. 

This discovery brought with it an insatiable yearning—one I had previously met as a thirteen year old on Putlocker, watching unsubbed foreign lesbian films in 240p. With Google readily available, I began my search for anything that could translate what I was seeing and feeling, what I was made of. Experimental film, with its freedoms and lawlessness, its demands to stand in many places at once, is the perfect home for this quest and has been an LGBTQIA+ ally through the decades.

Once—and in many ways still—the best medium in which HIV+ artists could depict their experiences throughout the AIDS epidemic, it has gifted us with Marlon Riggs’ Tongues Untied (1989), Kevin Wakefield Cristy’s An Individual Desires Solution (1986) and, a personal favorite, Phil Zwickler and David Wojnarowicz’s Fear of Disclosure (1989). 

Through these moments in history where the world tries to swallow us whole, experimental film gives us the space to immortalize ourselves, and convert the poetry we feel into moving images. We find ourselves again being pushed into a margin, our lives minimized into numbers, our beings sensationalized and weaponized to justify the violence inflicted upon us. We witness as we are used as scapegoats for the calcification of a fascist regime, yet we must create and we must live.

Trans people are a key, we unlock a glimpse into the magical, fragile fabric of human existence and force you to question and dream. I am reminded of this in Golden Voice by Mars Verrone, a film that introduces us to Noy Sitha, a trans man, survivor of the Khmer Rouge and a beautiful singer. He shepherds us through the land that was once occupied by tortuous labor camps, detailing his and his friends’ experiences through this unimaginably horrific time. Introducing us to other trans men he met, we watch as they laugh and hold each other, causing the world to crack open. We’re reminded that trans people exist in every page of history. We see the grass that has grown over these memories and we can imagine how, decades ago, it used to grace them too. 

Our transness informs our lenses, where our ears land, where we place a camera, how we shape the work we make. It creates its own language, as seen in Your Daughter Was Here by Sadhini Weerasekera. An intimate confrontation with a parent that leaves you haunted, a visual materialization of simultaneously existing and being invisible, washed over by the Sri Lanken rain. The film forces you to be still and meditate on the gray matter existing between the child and parent, the unsolvable puzzle, and the unanswered phone call. This is a vital anthropological work that must be displayed and protected.

We offer you this menu of films to feast on and invite you to unbutton your pants and take your shoes off. You can stay for as long as you’d like. Get comfortable with the ways in which we view the world, the sounds of our lives, and the worlds we’ve created. Being a trans person is a joyous, delightful experience often cut short by ignorance—more commonly when we are trans and Black, trans and Indigenous, trans and Brown. I pray that one day I can write about this experience without also having to implore to be heard and seen, that one day we can just be, without needing to highlight our existence. 

We hope you enjoy this delicious 14-course meal.

Full Lineup:

Suya Dokun (Touch the Water) — Yusuf Demirors
EW — Claire Maske & Tati Chavitage
Proof of Existence — Yaz Josiah
Titulo1 — saruxceci
So Many Love Stories — Camille Simon Baudry
Your Daughter Was Here — Sadhini Weerasekera
typhoon diary 风球日记 — Grace Zhang
Gut Feelings: Fragments of Truth — Kasra Jalilipour
Neither Here Nor There — Ley Comas
that I have broken into two Ellery Bryan
I Have Something To Get Off My Chest — Cedar O’Dowd
Golden Voice — Mars Verrone
Transistors — Frances Arpaia
Stunting Cunts — Gina Kamentsky

Suya Dokun (Touch the Water) (dir. Yusuf Demirors, 2023)

Director: Yusuf Demirors
Year: 2023
Country: USA
Runtime: 8 mins

Synopsis: A lost and amnesiac narrator explores the toxic and alien waterways of New York City in order to discover his relationship to this environment and what it means to be human.

Director’s Statement: “Some thoughts a year after filming Suya Dokun… I filmed this short mostly in superfund sites and other contaminated water bodies in New York. I biked around abandoned post-industrial spaces, or the forgotten infrastructure of water management, looking for ways to access the water. In a city surrounded by water, it is difficult to reach it as a pedestrian. I was attracted to these spaces and New York’s history of deindustrialization because I was curious about what could survive in these toxic, forgotten, and alien landscapes. For myself, I can never separate the experience of being transgender and the experience of immigration; both are a kind of detachment from home (as a body or as a space or a language), and they are also experiences of trying to create a new home. For both, what is at stake is the feeling of being human. Immigrants and trans people are not so different from the abandoned factories or the many species thriving in contaminated waters. Our experience of dehumanization has taught us important lessons about how to survive the storm of capitalism and the aftermath of its destruction.” —Yusuf Demirors

Yusuf’s Recommended Donation: Jeena’s Family Evacuation

Yusuf Demirors (he/him) is a multidisciplinary media artist currently based in Brooklyn, NY. He was born in Turkey and moved to NY in 2020 to create a safer space for practicing as a transgender artist and researcher.  He works with alternative mediums in film and photography and explores the interfaces between analog and digital technologies. He is currently working on multiple projects including a documentary following the tenant’s movement in NYC and developing a DIY synthesizer that translates across digital and analog signals. [Instagram] [PayPal]

EW (dir. Claire Maske & Tati Chavitage, 2023)

Director: Claire Maske & Tati Chavitage
Year: 2023
Country: USA
Runtime: 3 mins

Synopsis: A camera-roll film shot on Tri-X and hand processed, EW is a reflection on the construction of nonbinary identity through hair, interwoven with ideas about monstrosity.

Claire and Tati’s Recommendation Donation: Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund

Tati Chavitage (they/he/she) is a Boston, MA based artist working in the fields of nonfiction and experimental film. They look to the Latino anthropological notion of nepantla, in which one finds themselves ‘in the middle’ of multiple identities—to be Latine and queer, and either “not enough” or “too much” of these identities. Chavitage finds themselves positioned within a similar liminality, as a nonbinary person and the American child of a Nicaraguan immigrant. Their work is its own constantly revised and repositioned story of nepantla, of finding peace and conflict within the transitory space that exists at the border of white and Indigenous, masculine and feminine, colonizer and colonized, home and abroad, monstrous and beautiful. [Instagram]

Claire Maske (she/they) is an artist and filmmaker born in Silver Spring, MD and currently based in Boston. They create experimental and animated documentaries, often combining documentary audio with poetic and interpretive visuals. She received a BA in Documentary Studies with a minor in Studio Art from Skidmore College and an MFA in Film and Media Art at Emerson College. She was a 2021 Student Fellow at the MDOCS Storyteller’s Institute. Their work has screened at major festivals including DOC NYC, Hot Springs International Documentary Festival, and Brooklyn Film Festival. She was awarded the Periclean Honors Award at Skidmore College and the Audience Award for Emerging Filmmaker at Mimesis Documentary Festival. [Instagram]

Proof of Existence (dir. Yaz Josiah, 2023)

Director: Yaz Josiah
Year: 2023
Country: USA
Runtime: 1 min

Director’s Statement:Proof of Existence is a micro short super 8mm film. I spontaneously took my camera to a beloved queer and trans party series called Bodyhack during pride 2023. Spaces like BH are the core of what brings the community together, you’re with your friends, your ahk, your siblings alike. By shooting on film I wanted to convey that trans and queer lives are transcendent and that we will forever immortalized in this life and the next, stronger together and in solidarity always.” —Yaz Josiah

Yaz’s Recommended Donation: Goma Actif volunteers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Yaz Josiah (they/he) is a 28 yr old Brooklyn born, London raised, filmmaker. They shoot digitally and on film. Yaz’ work wields filmmaking as a tool to blend propaganda with perspective. Yaz continues to explore film as a multi-verse, multidimensional art form using it as a pathway to ourselves, the ends, the world and beyond. Yaz was born to Black American and Caribbean parents. His dad immigrated to the UK from Antigua while their mom is from Bedstuy. Yaz is currently living and working in Brooklyn, NY, from which they send their love and stand in solidarity always. [Instagram] [PayPal]

Titulo1 (dir. saruxceci, 2021)

Director: saruxceci
Year: 2021
Country: Spain
Runtime: 3 mins

Content Warning: Nudity

Directors’ Statement: “This film explores the relationship of our bodies with the space they inhabit through a Super8 camera. We explore the city of Cuenca looking for the white rectangles. Almost entirely filmed in single frame, we try to deform the space-time to generate new readings.” —saruxceci

The Saru x Ceci Con (they) collective focuses on artistic processes that are intertwined with everyday life and shared space, their work materializes between performative actions, frame by frame cinema and the conceptual possibilities of filming and projection in analog formats. [Instagram] [Instagram] [PayPal email:]

So Many Love Stories (dir. Camille Simon Baudry, 2023)

Director: Camille Simon Baudry
Year: 2023
Country: France
Runtime: 7 mins

Synopsis: A letter to our mother Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. A gesture of love and memory.

Director’s Statement: “Waves, and then silence, and the sound of your voice. The first words I ever read from Theresa Hak Kyung Cha were probably those quoted by Trinh T. Minh-ha in her book Woman, Native, Other. It was last spring. But my story with Cha might be older. We do not choose to bond, nor to be crossed by someone’s work. Maybe two years ago, when Yeongseo, who does the voice of this film, made me understand the importance of Cha Hak Kyung, there was already this “wind passing through our flesh”: the deep feeling, undoubtedly quite sororal, of solidarity, that something was happening. We do not choose our mothers. We experience them, we recognize them. The very little that I knew about Cha and her work already struck me with an acute intensity, not because it was a “shock” to meet her or to discover her work, but because it was a “shock” to see how the little I knew was enough to understand so many miles of common and private stories: all the times of writing, of wakefulness, by the light of a lamp, the evenings of pain, the determination… In Minor Feelings, Cathy Park Hong clearly evokes the truth or the authentic and direct character of Cha’s writing, her way of grasping languages, to circumvent their modalities, deconstruct the fantasy of perfect English and construct her own mythology. She also spoke about the circumstances of Cha’s death, which violence, unqualified, unrecognized, still constitutes today an open wound in the imaginary of Asian-American women, and daughters. I wanted to make a film that allows this heritage to breathe, a mouth-to-mouth, like the one made by Cha while reciting the Korean vowels in her video poem Mouth to Mouth, from among the mists of television’s static, before the sound of water emerges. In one of the extracts from Woman, Native, Other that we chose to introduce Murmures de diseuses, these words from Trinh T. Minh-ha precede an extract from Dictée, the iconic Cha Hak Kyung book: “To listen carefully is to preserve. But to preserve is to burn, for understanding means creating.” To show someone that we’ve listened to them, that we’ve understood them, we have to respond, and to respond, we have to say something else, something that is intimately impacted by our exchange: the expression, undoubtedly peripheral but eminently vivid, of the sensitive world that we share. This is how I conceived this film.” —Camille Simon Baudry

Camille’s Recommended Donation: eSIMS for Gaza

For several years, Camille Simon Baudry (she/them) has been developing a cinema sensitive to places, vegetal lives, water, in dialogue with thoughts of decolonial ecology. Film pieces, music and research texts thus come together to establish new or renewed representations: a “cosmo-symbiotic cinema”, the cinema of a world of linked living beings. Empathy and love, more than ever requested by the climate crisis and the sixth mass extinction, then pass through the evaporation of the boundaries between our body and the rest, through the intermingling of sentiments and elements. The necessary healing of the violence more generally committed by our way of life may slowly take place through the development of a new relation to the world, of another way to be to the world, a new or renewed relationship to our existences in the Earth’s fabric. [Instagram]

Your Daughter Was Here (dir. Sadhini Weerasekera, 2022)

Director: Sadhini Weerasekera
Year: 2022
Country: Sri Lanka
Runtime: 18 mins

Synopsis: On a rainy afternoon, an estranged daughter attempts to reach out to her mother.

Sadhini’s Recommended Donation: Care4Gaza

Sadhini Weerasekera (she/her) is a Sri Lankan filmmaker based in Melbourne, Australia. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Film, Television and Animation at Deakin University. Her second film, Girls Hangout!, is currently in production. [Twitter] [PayPal]

typhoon diary 风球日记 (dir. Grace Zhang, 2024)

Director: Grace Zhang
Year: 2024
Country: USA
Runtime: 6 mins

Synopsis: typhoon diary 风球日记 travels through various dream-states to explore the narrator’s personal connection to rain as a dissociative and liberating force.

Director’s Statement: “Last weekend at a Buddhist retreat, a monastic encouraged us to make friends with our breath. He shared the phrase “wherever you go, there you are”, then giggled as if telling an inside joke, and something in me was jolted awake. 

The feeling of running away is like second nature to me. Even when I’m physically planted in one spot, I find myself running — burying myself in work, doomscrolling the internet, through substances, an endless stream of I can’t I’m just too busy that restarts every morning when I wake up and am surprised to still be in my body. 

There I am, again. 

Between 2022 and 2023 storms followed me everywhere. New York, Hong Kong, New Orleans (I wondered if I was just that depressing to be around). 

I didn’t mind. I love the rain. The smell of humidity, windows rattling, hiding in the obscurity that comes with darkening skies. There was something satifying about the outside world aligning with how I felt inside all the time. A lifetime spent sleepwalking while every strike of lightning screamed at me to WAKE UP and look deeper. Something finally shifted once I started connecting these feelings of dissociation to transness. At the same time, the slow two-year process of footage-collecting and collaging for this film was naturally coming to an end once I decided I needed to make my body a home that feels like mine. 

Transness is transcendence and the ultimate act of self-love: to break out of the confines of one’s physical form, to create one’s own definition of self and space and time, and to be brave in choosing to feel and to be here, even if it’s terrifying, instead of running away. 

Rain falls so new seeds can grow.” —Grace Zhang

Grace’s Recommended Donation: eSIMs for Gaza

Grace Zhang (they/them) is a filmmaker from New York. By interweaving slice-of-life scenes with dream sequences, memories, and the digital realm, their work depicts the ebbs and flows of queer existence as taking place in multiple realities. Their short films DOG STORY and SNAKESKIN have screened internationally, including at Queer East in the UK, the San Diego Asian Film Festival, NOWNESS China, and CINEMQ Shanghai. Most of their work revolves around and wouldn’t exist without the help of their queer and trans friends and family around the world. [Instagram] [Paypal]

Gut Feelings: Fragments of Truth (dir. Kasra Jalilipour, 2021)

Director: Kasra Jalilipour
Year: 2021
Country: UK
Runtime: 12 mins

Synopsis: Gut Feelings: Fragments of Truth asks how fragments of historical truth might help us to reimagine queerness in pre-westernized Iran. At its centre is Tāj al-Saltaneh (1884-1936), a member of the Qajar dynasty and feminist activist who in the age of the internet is frequently misrepresented and has become the subject of cruel memes. Fragments of Truth offers a queer and intersectional viewpoint of what has been documented of Tāj’s life and the Qajar era.

Kasra’s Recommended Donation: SAD Mutual Aid Fund for queer and trans Palestinians and front line organizers

Kasra Jalilipour (they/he) is an Iranian multidisciplinary artist, writer and educator, based in the UK. Through humour, provocation and storytelling, their practice uses the body as the subject to discuss race, gender identity and sexuality. They often use methods of speculative fiction to retell historical stories through a queer lens. [Instagram] [PayPal]

Ni Aquí/Ni Allá (Neither Here Nor There) (dir. Ley Comas, 2021)

Director: Ley Comas
Year: 2021
Country: USA
Runtime: 15 mins

Content Warning: Transphobic Language

Synopsis: Ni Aquí/Ni Allá is a personal documentary that centers a conversation between filmmaker Ley Comas and their mother about their gender identity. As the middle child of christian pastors, Ley never imagined that transitioning was possible. Growing up, in the Dominican Republic, Ley only witnessed trans people portrayed as evil char-acters, punchlines in movies and TV shows, or outcasts and victims. At home, anything that went against God´s word was an abomination. This documentary follows Ley´s physical and psychological journey to become themself, while struggling to find a middle ground with their family.

Director’s Statement: “I became a storyteller to learn how to tell my own story, to create a world where I can exist and thrive. Looking back at my films, I see the stories I wish I had seen growing up. Sometimes it’s hard to watch them, especially as I still struggle to find a space within my blood family. But as a filmmaker, my ultimate goal is to transport viewers into these intimate spaces and challenge their preconceived notions of gender and sexuality.

My storytelling aims to foster understanding and empathy, to create cinematic spaces where we can see life from our perspectives—stories told by us, for us. Ni Aqui/Ni Alla was a journey within a journey. Despite my mother’s beliefs and her opposition to recognizing me as I am, I see her love and care. I also see her fear of what people might say—a reflection of a society that has failed to deconstruct negative perceptions of the LGBTQ+ community, especially trans folks. I made this film because I believe that to change these views, we need to engage in honest and sometimes painful conversations. She believes my identity is a choice, not understanding that the person I was before was not my choice, but the result of circumstances imposed on me. Working on this film allowed me to see my mother more as her own individual person, while also creating space to show me as the individual I am now. Through this process, I changed, and our relationship changed and continues to evolve. This film is a portrait of the complexity of family dynamics, queerness, and a challenge to conventional narratives of the trans community. I want no other Black trans kid to grow up feeling like they are the only one in this world. My existence has become political, and I make films as a form of resistance.” —Ley Comas

Ley Comas (they/them) is a Black filmmaker of Latinx Descent, sound mixer and educator of trans experience. They migrated to The Bronx in 2013 to pursue a film education and career. Ley focuses their studies on Cinema, Gender, Sexuality and Race, exploring how these intersections interact and affect historically marginalized communities. Ley works as a production sound mixer, contributing to documentaries and episodic content that has showcased in major film festivals and streaming platforms. They serve as an Adjunct Professor at Temple University since fall 2022. As a filmmaker of trans experience, Ley collaborates to empower historically marginalized narratives. Their latest film, “Ni Aqui / Ni Alla,” screened in over 25 festivals globally, earning four awards and receiving funding from the Danielle and Larry Nyman Family Project and The Ostrovsky Family Fund Award in honor of Chantal Akerman. Ley is part of the inaugural class of the Fatales Forward: Trans Stories Fellowship. They enjoy biking, cooking and spending quality time with their loved ones. [Instagram] [PayPal]

that I have broken into two (dir. Ellery Bryan, 2022)

Director: Ellery Bryan
Year: 2022
Country: USA
Runtime: 3 mins

Synopsis: that I have broken into two is a hand-processed 16mm silent film created two months after Leland’s death. A double-exposed performance takes place through improvised interactions attempting at meeting across opposite sides of the frame, separated by a half-processing method using a tape resist which renders half of the film strip as a negative, and half as a positive. Part act of faith and part love letter, it attempts to reckon with an unreachable and uncertain other side.

Director’s Statement: A written & visual introduction to the film by Ellery Bryan

Ellery’s Recommended Donation: Help Myassar Family Escape Gaza

Ellery Bryan (they/them) is an artist, filmmaker, and educator living and working in Baltimore, Maryland and central New York. The focus of their practice is analog film, favored for its flexibility, openness to chance, and physical editing and interaction. The purpose of their work is to attempt to maintain connections to others who are no longer embodied by performing on a disembodied plane. It is about desire, communication and ritual. They are currently program manager for the film department at the Baltimore School for the Arts. [Instagram] [PayPal email:]

I Have Something To Get Off My Chest (dir. Cedar O’Dowd, 2024)

Director: Cedar O’Dowd
Year: 2024
Country: USA
Runtime: 8 mins

Director’s Statement: “I made this film to try to communicate an emotional reality I was having trouble finding words to express. Besides being a pun about top surgery, the title “I Have Something To Get Off My Chest” is very much a reference to that feeling of emotional congestion. We shot the live action stuff over one day in August 2022 with a six-person crew — a sound guy, a boom op, a cinematographer, two actors and me. Then I spent all of 2023 trying to figure out how to turn cyanotype into animation. Cyanotype is a photo printing process where one paints a chemical mix onto paper that develops blue in UV light. Cyanotype was famously innovated by early photographer Anna Atkins to document botanical specimens. I was interested in documenting objects from my experience with medical transition that might be considered “unnatural” and breathing life into them with animation. I collaged these objects with photo transparencies and pressed flowers from my neighborhood.” —Cedar O’Dowd

Cedar’s Recommended Donation: Support GOLD-UE on Strike

Cedar O’Dowd (they/them) is a filmmaker and animator based in Vermont. When Cedar isn’t filming, they like to spend time in nature with friends, play roller derby, and occasionally perform with their Rocky Horror Picture Show shadow cast, “The Creature Feature Club.” “I Have Something To Get Off My Chest” is their first foray into cyanotype (sun print) animation. [Instagram] [Venmo]

Golden Voice (dir. Mars Verrone, 2023)

Director: Mars Verrone
Year: 2023
Country: USA
Runtime: 18 mins

Synopsis: Forty years after the Cambodian genocide, trans activist and singer Noy Sitha returns to the village where he not only survived but miraculously found a queer and transgender community, including the love of his life.

Director’s Statement: “Golden Voice provides an overwhelmingly rare vision of Cambodian LGBTQ+ experiences as well as a means to reflect on the Khmer Rouge four decades after its end. In a country where trans-masculine people are discriminated against and largely unrecognized, this film centers a highly marginalized group of people under some of the most extreme circumstances faced by any human being in the last fifty years. Their resilience shows us that even under the most repressive circumstances, queer communities can exist and keep on. Sitha and his friends’ stories fly in the face of the widespread myth in Cambodia that being LGBTQ+ is a Western invention. Because LGBTQ+ locals have only recently gained attention in the Kingdom’s media, many Cambodians assume that the existence of LGBTQ+ identities in their country is a relatively new phenomenon. The lives of these men stand as incredible exceptions to common narratives of forced marriage, rejection and discrimination.” —Mars Verrone

Mars’s Recommended Donation: Help Noy Sitha Purchase a Home

Mars Verrone (any pronouns) is a filmmaker and musician from Los Angeles, CA, now based in Brooklyn, NY. Mars produced feature documentary UNION, (dir. Stephen Maing, Brett Story) which premiered at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Documentary Competition and won a special jury prize for “The Art of Change.” They are currently producing their second feature documentary about UPS workers and the Teamsters labor union. They have fellowships with Sundance Institute, NBC, the Producers Guild of America, and Brown Girls Doc Mafia Sustainable Artist Fellow. Their work has been supported by Sundance Institute, Ford Foundation, Field of Vision, and the International Documentary Association, among others. [Instagram] [PayPal]

Transistors (dir. Frances Arpaia, 2019)

Director: Frances Arpaia
Year: 2019
Country: USA
Runtime: 12 mins

Content Warning: Sex & Nudity

Synopsis: An augmented erotica that expresses a stark, visual sensuality contrasted by disassociative music.

Director’s Statement: “Transistors was conceived as a response to Carolee Schneemann’s Fuses. Inspired by her mix of intimate, diaristic imagery and the way she challenges the audiences gaze by deliberately obscuring much of it through direct manipulation of the film, I decided to revisit Tubes, a kitschy erotic short I had made in 2015 for a t4t group-chat. Tubes was shot on 35mm film and edited digitally. I was curious if, like in Fuses, I could create a similar augmented layer of experience on top of Tubes, only one that conveys what it means to struggle with disassociation during intimacy. To start, I “unmade” Tubes, reducing each individual shot to a repeating loop. These were then fed into an analog video synthesizer where I was able to add various effects in the form of generative patterns, textures, and colors that were reacting to a soundtrack of distorted guitar riffs. The resulting footage was finally layered as a sequence of superimposed phasing loops that fade in and out as they repeat. What emerged was an erotic collage where these moments of intimacy, and our lover’s presence in them, exist outside of normal perceptions of time.

Looking back on Transistors one of the key elements that emerged from it is my fascination with loops as moments of filmic time that aren’t subject to a fixed duration. There is a lot of great theory on this, but for me, it allows for time within a film to function more akin to memory where events neither begin nor end they just are. This was the thesis behind Two Trans Girls Kissing for Ten Hours, a series of durational video art about loss, longing, and the desire to lose oneself in a single moment. (There was also a ten hour, tantric edition of Transistors called, Transsssssisssssstorssssss, where all the loops happen simultaneously to create a shifting, tangled mass of bodies) I would also revisit some of the same techniques I used in Transistors for DIODEs, the second film in what I’m calling my “Components” series (new installment coming soon). DIODEs is composed of six short loops filmed during a BDSM scene and uses a mix of phased noise and strobing editing to explore another type of t4t intimacy. Loops are also the main foundation of To My Dearest X, a new feature film I’m currently finishing. Described as an “epistolary queer romance,” the film focuses on a trans woman reading old love letters and trying to make sense the person she was. As she reads each letter, her memories repeat as loops, flowing in and out of each other in different ways, slowly degrading over the course of the film.

One last thing comes to mind after rewatching Transistors is that even though it’s a film about struggling with disassociation and presence, I still feel this is a sex positive work in that it embodies how erotic art and pornography, particularly when unbound from the demands of a commercial gaze, can function as means to explore and express difficult feelings about our bodies and allow us be vulnerable in ways that are affirming. Thank you for including Transistors in this program and allowing me the space to reflect on it.” —Frances Arpaia

Frances’ Recommended Donation: eSIMS for Gaza

Frances Arpaia (she/her) is a queer trans woman who lives in Brooklyn and makes weird films They explore everything from queer life in Brooklyn and the struggles of community and connection, to longform experimental works including feature length performance pieces and video-art shitposts. [Instagram]

Stunting Cunts (dir. Gina Kamentsky, 2020)

Director: Gina Kamentsky
Year: 2020
Country: USA
Runtime: 3 mins

Director’s Statement: “The film is mostly about turning 60 and feeling grounded, wanting to do physical things.” —Gina Kamentsky

Gina Kamentsky (she/her) is an animator, kinetic sculptor, sound artist and educator based in Providence Rhode Island. Her anxious and joyful short films blast out at twenty-four frames per second searing eyeballs and sending waves of buzz and crackle into the ether. Over her three decade career she’s progressed through numerous forms including painting, drawing and collaging on film, Rotoscope, Musique concrète, sound collage, stop motion and Pixilation. Kamentsky’s films have screened at festivals nationally and worldwide including Ottawa International Animation Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Animator Festival in Poznań Poland. [Instagram]

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