Gender Reel, is the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) only film festival dedicated to enhancing the visibility of trans and gender diverse people, images and experiences in film and media.
Gender Reel accepts submissions from ANYONE who identifies as trans, gender diverse and/or queer. Films submitted by folks who ID in this way do not need to be about trans or gender diverse issues, although that is preferred. Considerations are also given on a case-by-case basis to folks who do not identify in this way, but only if the film is about a trans/gender diverse issue or topic and trans/gender diverse people played a key role in the creating the film or media project.
Gender Reel is unique for a number of reasons. Gender Reel screens films directed and produced by trans and gender diverse filmmakers about trans and gender diverse people. We also host panel discussions and present Q&A sessions with trans/gender diverse filmmakers from around the world. Additionally, Gender Reel works is committed to elevating the voices of the most marginalized parts of the trans community, dedicating over 50% or more of its programming to trans people of color stories, experiences and images. Lastly, Gender Reel keeps ticket prices affordable and offers scholarships to those who cannot afford to buy one. Accessibility is very important because of the statistical realization that trans people fall on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum. We also do not charge filmmakers to submit films because doing so, can again, be a financially impossible option for some.
2020 FILMS - This year, we will feature five new films.
Shear Avery: To Be Continued (2020) - A coming of age story of Shéár Avory (pronouns: they/them/theirs), a 17 year old trans* aspiring social justice advocate in Los Angeles who navigates housing instability and familial dependency on their journey to adulthood. A story of tender love yet hollow promise, Shéár depends closely on their mother for continued access to their medical transition, though struggling in her recovery from addiction, she is unable to always offer Shéár the support they need. An observational piece, the film aims to ask, what does coming into adulthood look like for a young Black trans* femme in today’s America? Filmmaker: Abram Cerda (TRT: 26 Min).
Mark (2019) - Who was Mark? We know Mark was a Husband, Father, Friend, Patient, and a Musician, despite limited scholarly writing about his life. Created through this absence, Mark is a cinematic, non-linear, historical fiction account of a Trans masculine musician who might have existed. If he existed, Mark, was a classically trained clarinetist born in 1920. Mark is composed as a symphony, compromising a chorus of voices depicting Mark simultaneously. Each character represents a movement. We never get to meet Mark, we never hear his point of view and by the time we gain access to his story he has passed away. Filmmaker: Sarah Hill (TRT: 50 min).
Kelet (2020) - This exquisitely filmed documentary follows the exceptional life of 20-year-old, Kelet, a Finnish Somali trans woman living in Helsinki who dreams of becoming a model in Vogue magazine. Winner of the Audience Award at the DocPoint Helsinki Documentary Film Festival, this story explores trans rights, racism, beauty standards and gendered norms in society. Filmmaker: Susani Mahadura. (TRT: 65 min).
Across, Beyond and Over (2019) - Brit and Ryan, two trans men who used to date in middle school, reunite to develop a movie about their past. Filmmaker: Brit Fryer (TRT: 12 min).
I-57 (2019) - A mother tries to support her son and his gender identity by inviting a new friend to dinner. Filmmaker: Brit Fryer (TRT: 13 min).
PREVIOUSLY SCREENED FILMS - Please join us as we look back at these previously screened films. All 10 of the films were screened at Gender Reel over the past 10 years.
Growing Old Gracefully: The Transgender Experience (2014) - This film explores the experiences of transgender elders and aging people. Filmmaker: Joe (Jodi) Ippolito (TRT: 37 min).
From Leonard to Leona (2013) - A documentary about the life and work of Leona Lo, a transgendered activist in Singapore. Filmmaker: Larry Tung. (TRT 36 min).
Crazy Hot (2014) - This short film takes a campy look at ups and downs of dating. It is a valentine to all those hopeless romantics that endure the lunatic antics of that special someone…if only for a song. Filmmaker: Stephanie Saint Sanchez. (TRT: 10 min).
Dating Sucks (2013) - A Transgender Misadventure (2013) - An animated documentary web-series about the successes, failures, and incredible confusion trying to date as a genderqueer/trans person. Filmmaker: Sam Berlinger. (TRT: 13 min).
Like A Riot (2016) - In this action-packed thriller, CampbellX and Sophie Mayer find and replace film posters promoting movies by white straight dudes about white straight dudes. The finger puppet protagonists gleefully complete their quest in the tube, on the streets of London, and in an original song by the QWOC punk band, Big Joanie. Filmmaker: Krissy Mahan. (TRT: 2 min).
A Place In the Middle (2015) - A the true story of a young girl in Hawaii, who dreams of leading the boys-only hula group at her school, and the teacher who empowers her through traditional culture. Filmmaker: Kumu Hina Wong-Kalu. (TRT: 25 min).
A Womb Of Their Own (2017) - When six diverse masculine-identified people get pregnant, they are challenged by binary gender constructs in mainstream culture and LGBTQ community. Follow their radical, joyful stories of establishing their own unique gender and sexuality, growing a baby in their bodies, and birthing, chest-feeding and parenting their children. Filmmaker: Cyn Lubow. (TRT: 85 min).
Kate Bornstein is a Queer & Pleasant Danger (2014) - For decades, performance artist and writer Kate Bornstein has been exploding binaries and deconstructing gender. Kate Bornstein Is a Queer and Pleasant Danger, joins her on her latest tour capturing rollicking public performances and painful personal revelations as it bears witness to Kate as a trailblazing artist, theorist and activist, who inhabits a space between male and female with wit, style, and astonishing candor. Filmmaker: Sam Feder. (TRT: 72 min).
OYA - Something Happened on The Way To West Africa (2015) - The documentary follows the journey of a Queer, Gender-Non Conforming, Nigerian returning home to connect with the Òrìsà (African God/dess) tradition and follow a trail back to the powerful legacy of their great grandmother, Chief Moloran Ìyá Olo'ya. Filmmaker: Oluseyi Adebanjo. (TRT: 30 min).
Coming Full Circle: The Story of a Transgender Korean Adoptee (2016) - What is it like to go "back" to a country you never knew? Pauline Park was born into a poor family in post-war Korea. Adopted by white American parents, she left Korea as a 7-month old baby boy and grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 54 years later, she embarked on a journey of discovery and connection to her past, where her birth name literally means "the second son." This film follows Pauline Park as she visited her native Korea for the first time 54 years after she left as a baby boy. Park, a transgender rights activist in New York City, also took the opportunity to share her decades of experience in activism with local LGBT communities first by giving the keynote speech in the Seoul pride festival and meeting with various LGBT groups. Although her search for birth parents was unsuccessful, Park felt the trip has brought her closer to her birth heritage. She is learning Korean now and hopes to return in the future. Filmmaker: Larry Tung. (TRT: 24 min).