Film & Cinephilia

It is impossible to say all I want to say about film in 500 words. It has literally meant the world to me. I love music as well but have definitely relied on film even more to get me through the difficult stages in life. Film is a whole different world awaiting your discovery. It is like “Calgon, take me away” in its ability to transport you to a different time and place. I love that ability to virtually time travel and to escape into a complex world that is vastly different from mine own. Film is the ultimate in edutainment. It entertains and it simultaneously educates.

I enjoy teaching film and I even have had a few shots at making films. I have made three autobiographical documentaries with co-producer Peter Welch: A Transgender Path, TransAmazon: A Gender Queer Journey and Transilience. They all talk about different aspects of my life as a transgender person. It was really helpful to be on the other side of film, actively exploring film production rather than just spectatorship. I learned how difficult it is to make films, especially when you don’t have any money. Film is a very expensive medium and takes many people on staff to make a truly quality production. I think we could have used more money and technical expertise and yet I am still proud of the films we produced given the reality we had to contend with.

What are some of my favorite films? Paris is Burning. Mommie Dearest. Three Women. The Shining. Pariah. Moonlight. The Color Purple. Born in Flames. Ed Wood. And many more.

It is also true that film has some shining examples of cultural productions but also some of the most horribly made excuses for “art” that perhaps ever existed. There are a lot of really, really bad movies out there. I can’t imagine how many hours I have spent camped out in front of impossibly terrible films. And sadly I have the tendency to see it through to the end as I don’t like to watch a movie only halfway through!

It is interesting to me how much people these days like to binge watch long TV series. I rarely like to do so. I enjoy the economical nature of film. They can say what they say in generally 90 minutes to two hours. Just like books over 200 pages annoying me for their inability to get to the point of what they need to say, series seem to me as just franchises that are designed to make more money and suck up more of people’s time. I like film because you are in and out of a story in a flash. Despite it being short, it can make a lasting impression on a person and really pack an emotional wallop.

There is so much to say about film and I am sure it will pop up in future entries. For now, suffice it to say that I love films [most recent love: I, Tonya] and am so thankful for the important part they have played in my life. They have opened up new worlds for me, educated me, and sometimes just taken me out of my own life for a while to make me laugh and amuse me. Film can do it all and it was one of the most important inventions in the history of time. Just like literature, it has the power to transform lives and hearts, and that is no small feat.