A new tradition may be starting between the transgender film festival TransNation and the St. John's Well Child and Family Center in Los Angeles. For the second year in a row the two groups are collaborating to bring relevant trans stories to a collective stage. Stepping into a similar role as last year, filmmaker and producer Zackary Drucker (Transparent) has been given the official title of creative director this year.
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"I am so passionate about St. John's and the services they provide not only to the trans community, but to the community in south LA," Drucker said, praising the medical center for treating patients without state-issued identification. "As far as trans folks go, there's no other services in LA that provide healthcare if you're not a state resident."
This year, Drucker hopes to continue using TransNation as a platform to amplify the voices of trans media makers and storytellers. This year's lineup features not only the newest and best in trans-centric films, like the TIFF select For Nonna Anna, but also rare films by the Cockettes, and RuPaul's Starbooty, showcasing queer stories and characters from decades past.
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"In 2017 we have this range and context of a trans movement and in different countries and different times that's been understood differently," Drucker said. "Our vocabulary and the way we understand transness is very westernized and white, and we take all of these moments of gender diversity or as portraying gender differently like the Cockettes or Starbooty--and to situate that in the context of a trans film festival, I think that draws from all of our historical roots without laminating this monolithic 2017 version of transness."
Drucker thought back to doing her own research into trans representation in media when she was reaffirming how important it is to direct the visible narrative when possible. "I've always felt stronger in the world knowing where I come from as a trans person, and that's an adopted position," she said. "You have to locate that history, and in the history of film and television it's such a trouble narrative--it's really problematic and triggering. Grim. Nauseating."
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But Drucker recognizes the strides being made. "I think it's a crucial time, but we're winning," she said. "We have more allies than we've ever had before, but there are still forces that want to drag us back into the past. Unfortunately for them it's not possible to do that. For us, we're storming the gates." TransNation runs October 13-21--see this year's full TransNation lineup, here, and watch the trailer, below.