MAPH Alum Simon Strikeback just premiered a new documentary at the Reeling Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.  Here, Simon tells us about the project!

On November 11th, the full-length documentary RIOT ACTS: Flaunting Gender Deviance in Music Performance premiered at Reeling Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in Chicago.  The film was directed by local filmmaker Madsen Minax and produced by MAPH alum Simon Strikeback (’09), working together under the name Actor Slash Model.  The film was shown at the Landmark Theater to a crowd of 200 friends, family, and film affectionados.

RIOT ACTS is a transfabulous rockumentary representing the whole lives of transgender and gender variant musicians, through a first-hand perspective of the intersections between gender performance and stage performance. This feature-length documentary highlights issues crucial to interviewees such as songwriting, voice presentation, presenting a body/bodies on stage, audiences, venues, the idea of the spectacle, media representation, performing gender and theories about “drag,” and the personal as political. The film culminates with the notion that identities and bodies are undeniably political, and that the trans experience isn’t always one of tragedy, but one of creativity and joy.

The individuals and bands featured in the film are celebrated as talented, inspiring, sexy, critical and fully three-dimensional in a manner that purposefully counters mainstream (straight and gay) media that portray trans people as either isolated lonely victims, or psychopathic perpetrators.  The film is created from an insider’s view – as transpeople ourselves, Actor Slash Model seeks to capture trans and gender variant identities as fully and complexly as they are embodied and performed, both on and off the stage.

Strikeback and Minax are set to travel with the film over the next year, beginning with screenings at UMass – Amherst, Harvard, University of Maryland, and Creative Alliance Baltimore.  The duo is looking for more university screening events, submitting the film to national and international film festivals, and dreams of two free tickets to New Zealand for the OutTakes film festival next spring.

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