OUTwatch Film Series Screens Experimental Trans History Framing Agnes

Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival Blog

OUTwatch Film Series Screens Experimental Trans History Framing Agnes

OUTwatch continues its Spring/Summer film series on Thursday, July 21 with a screening of experimental history Framing Agnes (Chase Joynt, 2022). The film tells the story of Agnes, the pioneering, pseudonymized, transgender woman who participated in Harold Garfinkel’s gender health research at UCLA in the 1960s, who has long stood as a figurehead of trans history. Using a blend of fiction and nonfiction, including meticulous vintage reenactments performed by a cast of trans actors, director Chase Joynt explores where and how Agnes’s platform has become a pigeonhole and attempts to widen the frame through which trans history is viewed—one that has remained too narrow to capture the multiplicity of experiences eclipsed by Agnes’s experience. Framing Agnes reenvisions the imposition of framing on the cultural memory of transness, and through its collaborative mode of production tears away the myth of isolation as a mode of existence for transgender history-makers.

Tucked away at UCLA in a rusted-shut filing cabinet, a treasure trove of transcripts of interviews with transgender people in the ‘50s and ‘60s was unearthed.  Director Chase Joynt (No Ordinary Man) and a star-studded team of trans filmmakers and actors including Zackary Drucker, Angelica Ross, Jen Richards, Max Wolf Valerio, and Silas Howard breathe new life into these transcripts in this thoughtfully crafted, deeply contemplative film. Through an astute hybrid of fiction and nonfiction—Framing Agnes blends staged scenes where the actors reenact the interviews with behind-the-scenes footage where the actors, as themselves, reflect on the material through a lens of our current culture and their own experiences.

The films show at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 21 at Rialto Cinemas® Sebastopol.

The OUTwatch series will be announcing new films in the series soon, check out their website for more info.

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