Illustration for the program "Origins and Echoes". Digital drawings against the photo of a Galaxy: lavender walls, sealing and floor are levitating along with different white+grey objects, symbolizing festival movies (bathtub, wig, loudspeaker, trans*flag, disco ball etc.). A pink jellyfish is leaving the walls` margins, heading to the open space.

Origins and echoes

Curators: Syaivo, geo; text: Syaivo
Program made in cooperation with Cinema Queer International Film Festival
Illustration: Double Cherry

All films in this program were available during 23–26 of September, 2021.

This program incorporates films which deal with the unity of feminist ideas as trans*feminist. Each of the films is evidence that trans*experiences, gender nonconformity and non-normativity have always been pivotal to the feminist agenda. Focusing on the problems caused by the binary gender system is of great importance, especially nowadays when trans-exclusionary radical feminism is on the rise in Ukraine and elsewhere.

Cinematography has never been sensitive enough to the various gender embodiments and experiences. In fact, more often than not, it channels cisnormative stereotypes that distress many people. Meanwhile, being outside of normativity is a constant reinvention of one’s life and one’s self and continuing political practice. The films in this programme suggest alternatives to normativity, which give us hope for a liberated and equitable future.

At first sight, these films are very different, in terms of genre (from documentaries to poetic cinema) and in the way they tell the stories of different generations across different continents. However, their ideas have a lot in common and resonate with each other, as all the films, in one way or another, resist both cisnormativity and transnormativity. “Indianara” (Marcelo Barbosa and Aude Chevalier-Beaumel) shows how the activism of such individuals as Indianara Siqueira can form communities and generate solidarity among different political groups. “Always Amber” (Lia Hietala and Hannah Reinikainen) and “Space Is Quite a Lot of Things” (August Joensalo) deal with the protagonists’ strategies for rethinking gender, as well as the topic of “inner”, personal trans*activism, which alters conventional visions of trans*experience. “Atlantic is a Sea of Bones” (Tourmaline) and “Indianara” remind us that “people must never forget their origins” and show that normativity has its roots in colonialism, racism and capitalism.

Non-binary identity issues, the rejection of medicalization, gender expression as artistic practice, and the eternal question what gender is and how it is perceived (maybe as a void, like in “Space Is Quite a Lot of Things” by August Joensalo?) are only a few of the questions that the protagonists explore and provide answers to. Whether through Amber’s Instagram posts or loud echo of Indianara’s speech at a rally, our program “Origins and echoes” provides an opportunity to listen to your voice amongst those of others.

Still from the film "Always Amber". Two shot. Clean white tiles, two young people with piercing and colorful hairstyles sit in a foamy bathtub, looking at each other with love.
Always Amber
Directors: Lia Hietala and Hannah Reinikainen
Sweden, 2020, 75 minutes, documentary
Amber belongs to a queer generation which no longer wants society to dictate their identity. The teenagers proudly inhabit a spectrum of fluid identities and master their first loves and losses.
Still from the film "Atlantic Is a Sea of Bones". Close-up shot. Shades of red. A person in the foreground holds a wine glass, confidently and calmly looks past the audience. Two blurred bald figures are standing in the background.
Atlantic Is a Sea of Bones
Director: Tourmaline
USA, 2017, 6 minutes, experimental
Atlantic is a Sea of Bones is a short film drawn from the Lucille Clifton poem of the same name that follows Egyptt LaBejia, an NYC-based performer through the 80s, 90s, and 2000's in NYC.
Still from the film "Indianara". Close-up shot. Outdoors, white wall, red flags. In the foreground a grey-haired woman wearing sunglasses shouts in the microphone. Fists are raised.
Directors: Aude Chevalier-Beaumel, Marcelo Barbosa
Brasil, 2019, 84 minutes, documentary
The revolutionary Indianara fights with her gang for the survival of transgender people in Brazil, striving to put into practice her ideals.
Still from the film "Space is Quite a Lot of Things". Medium close-up shot. Blue color scheme. Sky blue jellyfishes shine in midnight blue water.
Space is Quite a Lot of Things
Director: August Joensalo
Finland, 2021, 11 minutes, experimental
Curiosity about a world without gender sets a journey through a world of jellyfish and disco uncles.
Trans*voices, cinema and feminism

Cinema has long been an unfavorable environment for transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming people. Indulging in the moral panics of the twentieth century, the films often broadcasted offensive stereotypes, dangerous for trans*gender people, while trans*gender people in the film industry were exploited and abused. The modern, of course Western-centric, film industry all too often uses representations of marginalized communities as a PR move and a way to earn social capital. Doing so, it leaves unnoticed the living experiences of the oppressed groups. During the discussion devoted to the "Origins and Echoes" film program, we want to talk with the film directors and the protagonists about the commonalities and differences in the experiences of the transgender, non-binary and gender-nonconforming people in different countries. We will also talk about the role that media and artistic representations play in the social processes, activism and the life of these communities.

Date and time: 25 September, 17:00 (GMT+3)