PrideArts Festival of Three Queer Documentary Features

PrideArts announces festival of three queer documentary features streaming September 19-29
Lesbian filmmaking, pre-Stonewall drag queens, and transgender ministers are subjects of three recent feature-length documentary films to be streamed in September

CHICAGO – PrideArts today announced a festival of documentary films concerning facets of queer life in America that have been largely unexplored in mass media. The festival of films that will stream over 11 days will include the documentary feature DYKES, CAMERA, ACTION! – a history of Lesbian cinema from the women who made it happen, PS. BURN THIS LETTER, PLEASE – a profile of drag queens from the 1950s, when public cross dressing was illegal; and PROPER PRONOUNS – a look at some of the transgender Americans serving as ordained Church ministers. The former two will be available for viewing online for 11 days, from September 19 to 29.  PROPER PRONOUNS will stream for eight days, from September 20 to 27. The admission price for each film is $12.00 per film. The films can be purchased and viewed at https://www.goelevent.com/pridearts/e/Search

DYKES, CAMERA, ACTION! details the origins and history of Lesbian-themed filmmaking, noting that Lesbians didn’t always get to see themselves on screen. But between Stonewall, the feminist movement, and the experimental cinema of the 1970s, they built visibility and transformed the social imagination about queerness. Filmmakers Barbara Hammer, Su Friedrich, Rose Troche, Cheryl Dunye, and others share moving and often hilarious stories from their lives and discuss how they’ve expressed queer identity through film.

This feature-length documentary covers the history of queer cinema from the early days as  a marginalized sub-culture to the 1990s, which saw the rise of New Queer Cinema, up to the present. The film examines the ways that women directors have contributed to this genre and emphasizes the role that the media plays in representation of sexuality and gender, underscoring the power that film has to shape our perceptions of one another. Visually, this documentary comes to life on screen through compelling and intimate original interviews intercut with emotionally charged archival footage, photographs, ephemera, inspired music, and film clips.

PS BURN THIS LETTER PLEASE is a story of a group of drag queens from New York City in the 1950’s, a time before Stonewall when cross-dressing in public was illegal. A box of letters, held in secret for nearly 60 years, ignites a 5-year exploration into a part of LGBT history that has never been told. Using original interviews, never-before-seen archival footage and photographs and stylized recreations, P.S. BURN THIS LETTER PLEASE reconstructs this pre-Stonewall era as Lennie, Robbie, George, Michael, Jim, Henry, Claude, Tish and Terry—former drag queens now in their 80s and 90s—reveal how they survived and somehow flourished at a time when drag queens were both revered and reviled, even within the gay community. The government sought to destroy them, then history tried to erase them, now they get to tell their story for the first time.

From PS BURN THIS LETTER PLEASE. Click on image to access high res file.

The 2020 documentary PROPER PRONOUNS observes the lives of six North Carolinians who are among the 30 transgender ordained ministers in the United States. Filmmakers Meg Daniels and Manie Robinson shot the film over a two-year period, capturing in detail the journey of Dawn Flynn, who was identified at birth as male and lived as Duane Flynn. Duane was living a double life and practicing ministry when he was outed by a hairdresser. It cost him his pastoral license, his ministry, threatened his marriage to Pam, and made him wonder if life was still worth living. After therapy and deep self-reflection, Duane fought back, transitioned to Dawn and started her journey to reclaim her life. She finally found the courage to embrace her truth. And she found the calling to help others embrace theirs.

From PROPER PRONOUNS. Click on image to access high res file.

Access to each of the documentaries will be $12.00, which will grant viewing of  both purchased for a full week – allowing audiences greater flexibility in viewing the films at their leisure.  Tickets and more information are available shortly at www.pridearts.org.

PrideArts will also host a festival of short films from November 8 through December 5. The company is accepting submissions through September 8 and will announce selections shortly thereafter.

LISTING INFORMATION

PRIDEARTS DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL
The feature-length documentaries DYKES, CAMERA, ACTION!, PS BURN THIS LETTER PLEASE and PROPER PRONOUNS will be available to stream over 11 days.
September 19 – 29
Streaming Online
$12.00. Admission allows unlimited viewing through the end of the week of release for the feature film purchased.
More info and ticketing at www.pridearts.org

DYKES, CAMERA, ACTION!
(2018, USA, 58 minutes)
Directed by Caroline Berler
Streaming September 19 to 29
Access available at https://www.goelevent.com/pridearts/e/Search

This feature-length documentary covers the history of queer cinema from the early days as a marginalized sub-culture to the 1990s, which saw the rise of New Queer Cinema, up to the present. The film examines the ways that women directors have contributed to this genre and emphasizes the role that the media plays in representation of sexuality and gender, underscoring the power that film has to shape our perceptions of one another. Visually, this documentary comes to life on screen through compelling and intimate original interviews intercut with emotionally charged archival footage, photographs, ephemera, inspired music, and film clips.

PS, BURN THIS LETTER PLEASE
(2020, USA, 100 minutes)
Written and directed by Michael Seligman and Jennifer Tiexiera
Streaming September 19 to 29
Access available at https://www.goelevent.com/pridearts/e/Search

A documentary feature exploring the now-forgotten world of drag queens in the New York City of the 1950s, when penalties for “masquerading” as a woman were swift and severe. Using original interviews, never-before-seen archival footage and photographs and stylized recreations, P.S. BURN THIS LETTER PLEASE reconstructs this pre-Stonewall era as Lennie, Robbie, George, Michael, Jim, Henry, Claude, Tish and Terry—former drag queens now in their 80s and 90s—reveal how they survived and somehow flourished at a time when drag queens were both revered and reviled, even within the gay community.

PROPER PRONOUNS
(2020, USA, 65 minutes)
A film by Meg Daniels and Manie Robinson
Streaming September 20 to 27
$12.00 Access available on https://www.goelevent.com/pridearts/e/Search

An observational film following six of the 30 transgender, ordained ministers in the United States. In North Carolina, Dawn Flynn, Mykal Shannon, Liam Hooper, and Debra Hopkins are battling narrow-mindedness within the religious community, their families, and NC natives. In order to live their authentic selves, some have thrown their loved ones into personal identity crises. They are bravely preaching from a pulpit despite the danger they face not only as a transgender person living in the South but also as transgender ministers navigating their way through local, state, and national governing bodies who decide what it means to be a human being.

ABOUT PRIDEARTS

PrideArts tells queer stories on a variety of platforms, including both live and virtual performances. Since its founding in 2010, PrideArts has had several chapters, including operating as an itinerant theater for their first six seasons, and as the developer and primary tenant in the Pride Arts Center from 2016-21. Pre-COVID, the company produced full seasons of plays and musicals, as well as events including cabaret, film, and more.  The company will return to live performance in the 2021-22 season, with a full slate of five productions.
The company has earned 39 Jeff Awards and nominations, and six nominations in the most recent (2019) ALTA Awards from the Alliance of Latinx Theater Artists of Chicago. Programming has reflected the diversity of queer communities by including work made by and illuminating the experiences of women, gay men, transgender people, and BIPOC.

PrideArts is supported by The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at The Richard Driehaus Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago’s City Arts Fund, the Elliott Fredland Charitable Trust, The Pauls Foundation, The Heath Fund, The Service Club of Chicago, the AmazonSmile Foundation, Arts and Business Foundation, Tap Root Foundation, Arts and Business Council, and Alphawood Foundation.

PrideArts is a member of the Smart Growth Program of the Chicago Community Trust. PrideArts is a member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Northalsted Business Association, Lakeview East, Uptown United, and The League of Chicago Theatre.

For more information and to donate, visit www.pridearts.org.

By Melanie Nathan
African Human Rights Coalition
(nathan@africanHRC.org)
Executive Director
AfricanHRC.org
Speaker:Melnathan.com
Blog: Oblogdee.Blog
pronouns: she / her / hers


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