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MAKING TRANS CINEMA: A Roundtable Discussion with Felix Endara, Reina Gossett, Chase Joynt, Jess Mac and Madsen Minax

"Like somatechnics complicated the term ‘body modification,’ cinema broadens the ways in which we think and talk about films to include the world around the film – the technologies, power(s), relationships, disciplines, spaces, and techniques. In the roundtable below, Felix Endara, Reina Gossett, Chase Joynt, Madsen Minax, and Jess Mac discuss the various ways in which their embodied experiences influence and necessitate particular modes of production, reception, and theorization.."

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“As an American trans person who makes experimental documentaries, I view Out Run with a specific set of expectations and critiques, which emerge from the type of cross-cultural observational documentary form employed by the cisgender filmmakers. I do not believe that only trans people can make films about trans people or that only Filipinos can make films in the Philippines. However, when a film situates itself within a social justice framework, I do think it is important for the filmmakers to identify themselves so that viewers can understand the nuances of the power dynamics (which are always present between the filmmaker and the subject) at play.”

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Porous Cels

"I suggest that rather than making sense we aim to disrupt sense. We aim to tell stories that are unconcerned with mapping triumph and identity and instead reveal the twisted secret joys and miseries, connections and undoings, big and little deaths of which our lives and relationships are made. I suggest that we be willing to make nonsense. That we be willing to misunderstand and to be misunderstood. That we concern ourselves with the confusion of our hearts rather than with ordering our minds."

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The ties that bind

"There will always be something wrong with trans representations in the media. There is no such thing as a trans character or story that would not offend or misrepresent someone. Media-makers are not going to answer our prayers. Though I know, as a media-maker, I am always trying, and at least acknowledge that failure is inevitable and may be built into the system of representation itself."

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"As soon as you pick up a camera and point it at someone else, you have more power than they do. Your membership to the same communities does not erase the power dynamic, it merely helps define it. Acknowledging those power imbalances and the complex and messy histories of representation – and your place in it – is the first step towards a more  accurate and possibly more empowering portrayal of your subject(s)."

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