On November 4th, the town of New Hope, Pennsylvania will play host to a celebration of queer stories that vividly capture the diversity and rich history of its deeply rooted LGBTQ+ community. "Queer Cuts: New Hope" marks the inaugural program of the Creative Hope Initiative, an incubator program established by the production company TRAVERSE32. This initiative offers five production grants along with mentorship to historically underrepresented LGBTQ+ filmmakers, empowering them to create short documentaries that highlight local queer narratives in towns across America.
This year's group of filmmakers, including Hansen Bursic, Joy Davenport, Natalie Jasmine Harris, Kase Peña, and Kristal Sotomayor, crafted five compelling documentaries that will have their premieres at The Bucks County Playhouse. This day-long event serves as an opportunity for audiences to uncover the untold stories of New Hope. For those who can't attend, all five short documentaries will be available during a free two-day event on the Advocate Channel App and AdvocateChannel.com, starting November 6th.
You can learn more about each of these documentaries and find out how to watch "Queer Cuts: New Hope" on the Advocate Channel below.
Viewers can watch ‘Queer Cuts: New Hope’ live from November 6-7 at 6pm ET/3pm PT
“Trans Heaven, Pennsylvania," Directed by Hansen Bursic
Still from "Trans Heaven, Pennsylvania"
Filmmaker Hansen Bursic came to New Hope hoping to find out more about the history of their iconic gay bar, The Raven. His short documentary, Trans Heaven, Pennsylvania, explores the untold story of legendary weekend-long parties that saw hundreds of transgender women and crossdressers take over the town, traveling from all over the country to meet other people like them at the gay safe haven.
Through both interviews and stunning animation sequences that utilize never-before-seen archival photography, audiences not only get a glimpse into the heyday of these events in the early 2010s but also of the iconic gay bar that became the unlikely cornerstone of those liberating weekends.
“Don’t Cry For Me All You Drag Queens," Directed by Kristal Sotomayor
Still from “Don’t Cry For Me All You Drag Queens"
Kristal Sotomayor’s short documentary Don’t Cry For Me All You Drag Queens pays homage to the legendary Mother Cavallucci by weaving together the past and present to provide a striking portrait of belonging and memory. Poetically merging archival photographs and present-day footage from a community drag show, the film sparks conversation about the modern-day issues Mother Cavallucci revolutionized.
Joseph “Josie” Cavallucci (aka Mother Cavallucci) was a legendary New Hope drag queen that would host annual wedding celebrations in the ‘70s and ‘80s that served as fundraisers and a community party. The present-day drag show, hosted by Phoebe Manntrappe and Miss Pumpkin, served as an intergenerational community forum to honor the joy and memories of Mother.
“Ben in Bloom," Directed by Natalie Jasmine Harris
Still from "Ben in Bloom"
In Ben In Bloom, Ben Busick, the subject of Natalie Jasmine Harris’ doc, who is a non-binary and queer teenager from the contentious Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is followed as they prepare to leave their hometown behind for college in California.
This short documentary nostalgically reflects on the moments that made Ben the confident queer teen advocate they are, but also the work left to be done to ensure safety for queer and trans teens to come.
“Prada P***y," Directed by Kase Peña
Still from "Prada P***y"
Kase Peña’s documentary, Prada P***y, focuses on her research and consideration of getting vaginoplasty. In this short doc, she travels to New Hope, Pennsylvania to research the possibility of having vulva vaginoplasty with Dr. Christine McGinn, one of the top surgeons in this field and a trans woman herself.
“New Hope Rondo," Directed by Joy Davenport
Still from "New Hope Rondo"
Rounding out the five filmmakers is Joy Davenport, whose documentary looks at the past of New Hope and how it informs the town's future. New Hope, PA, has a well-earned reputation for being a quirky bastion of acceptance, but recent real estate developments threaten to change the town's queer bohemian culture.
But New Hope is no stranger to cycles of displacement: the shift from industry to tourism in the early 20th Century transformed the town seemingly overnight; and the displacement of the Lenape people centuries earlier ended a 16,000 year period of indigenous stewardship. Weaving interviews together with centuries of archival materials, New Hope Rondo explores how gentrification has shaped this idyllic haven on the Delaware, for better and for worse.