Transgender awareness may be a new thing to mainstream media, but Seattle’s Transgender Film Festival, Translations, is in its eleventh year and counting. This year the festival runs from May 12-15 and takes place in venues around Seattle’s Capitol Hill, including the Northwest Film Forum, SIFF Cinema Egyptian and 12th Avenue Arts, with a special launch screening on May 8 at the Seattle Central Library downtown.
The big buzz film is MAJOR!, a documentary by Annalise Ophelian about miss Major Griffin-Gracy, the legendary 73-year-old black transgender woman who has been fighting for transgender rights since the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion in New York City. Her fascinating life story celebrates the resilience of a community that has faced decades of traumatic marginalization. Miss Major will be present at the screening of the film, which recently premiered to a sold out audience at the Castro Theatre in San Fransisco.
Another one I’d love to see is SUITED, a doc produced by Lena Dunham, fresh from its Sundance premiere, about Bindle & Keep, a Brooklyn tailoring company that makes custom suits for gender-nonconforming and transgender clients. Among the people on the gender spectrum sharing their stories are a trans boy preparing for his Bar Mitzvah, a New York City cab driver, a young Southern law student and a trans man preparing for his wedding. At its heart, the film is an intimate journey of coming into a new identity, accepting difference and living bravely in one’s own skin.
For fans of Amazon’s hit show Transparent, Translations is holding a discussion with some of the remarkable talent behind the show in a panel of guests that includes Alexandra Billings, the first openly trans woman to have played a transgender character on television in 2005, producer Rhys Ernst and director Silas Howard. The much-anticipated event will be moderated by director Sam Feder, and will feature inside scoop from the show, thoughts about the broader implications of the show’s success, and discussion about what it means to be transgender behind and in front of the camera.
The incredible calendar also includes the US premiere of A Womb of Their Own, a documentary about masculine-of-center people navigating the childbirth process, and a special screening of Deconstructing Zoe, an exploration of gender, race and sexuality seen through the life and times of Zoe, a transgender Chinese actor.
For a full calendar of events, and for tickets and passes on sale now, visit translationsfilmfest.org. Kudos to Translations in their eleventh year!