Compare & Despair no more, oh deary! Luckily, Queer Films are here to stay.

First Off, HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!!! I love being a woman and I love loving women.  Yayeeeee!

Secondly, I’m trying to snap out of my sullen funk.  Sulking in the drab anguish of “I suck” feels nicht gut.

My Mission: To cease & desist Operation Compare & Despair.

Compare & Despair: To compare myself — as a whole or in separate parts — to another in order to pinpoint the specific ways they fit the mold of my version of “perfect” more completely than I do.  They are the perfect beauty, perfect filmmaker, perfect strategist, perfect body, perfect lover, perfect lesbian … and well I am … not.

Immediately following this brutal self-flogging, I sink into the tar pits of nihilistic hopelessness, and despair for numerous heart-wrenching hours.

Until I say, “Ya basta!”  Let’s breast stroke up through the thick gunk toward the surface again …

In my opinion, “Perfect” is an objective concept interpreted by a subjective human mind that can’t help but capture only a variation of it.  In other words, every individual’s idea of perfect proves innately biased and therefore imperfect. Consequently and contrary to popular belief, perfection isn’t limited to one version of itself, but branches out into countless versions.

What I’m trying to say is that I know feeling simultaneously “not good enough” and “too much” is a futile masochistic act with no basis in reality that hurts, like a brick slammed against my forehead, and makes me want to sleep all day.

So, let us refocus!

I’m striving to expand this experience:


I
is the total black, being spoken
from the earth’s inside.

– A. Lorde

Into this one:

I
is the total black, being spoken
from the earth’s inside.
There are many kinds of open
how a diamond comes into a knot of flame
how sound comes into a words, coloured
by who pays what for speaking.

Some words are open like a diamond
on glass windows
singing out within the crash of sun
Then there are words like stapled wagers
in a perforated book – buy and sign and tear apart –
and come whatever will all chances
the stub remains
an ill-pulled tooth with a ragged edge.
Some words live in my throat
breeding like adders. Other know sun
seeking like gypsies over my tongue
to explode through my lips
like young sparrows bursting from shell.
Some words
bedevil me

Love is word, another kind of open.
As the diamond comes into a knot of flame
I am Black because I come from the earth’s inside
Now take my word for jewel in the open light.

– A. Lorde

— I believe this the best opportunity to discuss the fabulous films I saw at Fusion: The LGBT People of Color Film Festival this past weekend.

On Saturday, I picked up my little sister and we drove over to the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood to catch Pariah: The Making Of Q & A, which proved informative and inspirational. Director Dee Reese and producer Nekisa Cooper gave a priceless discussion on making their first feature film Pariah — based on my favorite short film EVER by the same name.

Afterwards, we saw the Fusion Short Films Program, which ROCKED-my-socks-off-onto-everyone’s FACES because it twas’ sooooo good.

I’ll recount my favorite shorts in the order they screened:

STOP IT – ALMA


Dir: Mike Rose
A spoof on intervention reality shows that features a woman, who compulsively cooks to the dismay of her family who just wants her to Stop It!

— All around HEELAREEOUS.  What a blast!

REVOLUTION


Dir: Abdi Nazemian
A coming-of-age story about Jack, a 16-year old Iranian boy growing up in 1989 Los Angeles.

Fascinating and educational.  I didn’t know much about the Iranian queer experience before this film, which has piqued my interest in it.  Additionally, I enjoy films that explore the interpersonal dynamics of families exiled from their homelands after a revolution.

Ah yes, and the Iranian mom was super hawt!  Gorgeous woman.

REMEMBER ME IN RED


Dir: Hector Ceballos
Fidelia must find a way to honor what would have been her friend’s wishes before it is too late.

— Amazing.  Almodovar-esque.  When a transgender woman dies her birth family, a traditional Mexican family, attempts to have her buried in men’s clothing.  All the while her adopted queer family of trans women — namely her best friend Fidelia — struggle with how to honor who she really was i.e. appropriate their impulse to bury her in her beloved diamond-encrusted pageant outfit.

Favorite quote in the movie: At the funeral, a trans friend looks into the casket and sees the deceased dressed in a man’s grey suit .  She rushes over to Fidelia and whispers in her ear something along the lines of, “They dressed her like a lesbian! She’d be pissed.”

LOL! Amazedawg.

THE QUEEN


Dir: Christina Choe
Bobby, a Korean-American teenage outcast, is working at his parents’ dry cleaners on prom weekend. When the prom queen and her boyfriend, stop by with their dress and tuxedo, Bobby has his own prom to remember.

Memorable, Endearing, & Comedically Sharp.  The overall execution was Grade A tight: concept, script, directing, lighting, cinematography, acting, etc.  You’ll LOL out loud throughout it.  Would be a great short flick to show high schoolers to help promote GLBTQ awareness and acceptance in the classroom. 

CHANGE


Dir: Melissa Osborne & Jeff McCutcheon
A gay African-American teenager grapples with his young identity on the night Obama was elected president and Proposition 8 passed.

LOVED. loved. LOVED.  Wow.  Emotional & Monumental.  From beginning credits to end credits, mind salivated while heart palpitated.  A moving reflection on the profoundly complex dynamics of African-American identity — on both individual and group levels — and the poignant role that played in the black community’s 2008 votes.

On Sunday, I went with Baby Dewds to see The Legacy Project restoration of three Queer Cinema antiques. The Legacy Project is my favorite Outfest arm because it focuses on restoring, preserving, and showcasing rare GLBTQ films of the past. In my opinion, the films are usually masterpieces due to their brilliant insight, artistry, and/or exposition of the ancestral GBLTQ community.  Most times all of the above.

My faves were:

QUEENS AT HEART


Dir. Unknown, 1967, USA, 22 min.
An extraordinary bit of ephemera, this proto-scientific documentary, verging on exploitation, presents four male-to-female transsexuals in candid discussions about their private lives and identities. The four subjects gamely respond to probing questions providing an intriguing portrait of Americans on the fringes of gender identity just before the Stonewall Rebellion two years later.

Fascinating and heartbreaking.  Borderline funny at times due to the campy style of the documentation.

CHOOSING CHILDREN


Dir. Debra Chasnoff and Kim Klausner, 1984, USA, 45 min.
Debra Chasnoff and Kim Klausner’s groundbreaking documentary presents with grace and towering authority, portraits of several lesbian mothers who were among the first to make the historic choice to become parents. Free from didacticism, the film exerts a powerful emotional undertow as it frames the lives of these families as arenas of love, commitment and work.

Well-executed:  Intelligent investigation of lesbian families, which still prove pertinent today.  Great film to show people who voted “Yes” on Prop 8.  Humanizing. Straight baby-making masses can relate to our trials and tribulations.  GLBTQ families also deserve the legitimacy, protection, and rights that marriage contracts afford!

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About vanessalibertadgarcia

Vanessa Libertad Garcia is a Cuban – American writer & filmmaker who grew up between the burbs’ and hoods of Los Angeles. A graduate of Loyola Marymount University, she’s completed a myriad of successful projects that tackle both the film and literary worlds. Ms. Garcia has worked in various capacities as writer, director, and producer on fiction films such as the HSF/McNamara Arts Grant recipient “A Two Woman One Act” and documentaries such as “Maid in America,” which debuted on PBS’ Independent Lens. Two films out of the many, which have screened at top festivals such as The Los Angeles Film Fest, The Habana Film Fest, Cinequest, and Outfest to name a few. Ms. Garcia has had writings published by venerated literary staple Lambda Literary and the up-and-coming Amor Fati. Her first book “The Voting Booth After Dark: Despicable, Embarrassing, Repulsive” is drawing laudable reviews. It’s available for purchase at amazon.com, barnes&noble.com, and many other sites. She presently has a feature film titled “Dear Dios” based on the books’ characters and a second book — the collection of poetry “Bloody Fucking Hell” — in development. View all posts by vanessalibertadgarcia

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