Film still depicting a Latino-, Indigenous-, and third-gender/nonbinary individual wearing a traditional headdress and makeup while staring off into the distance.

TRANSlations Film Fest Features Films By and About Trans and Nonbinary Communities

by Patheresa Wells

This year’s TRANSlations: Seattle Trans Film Fest will take place May 5–8. It is a hybrid event with virtual and in-person screenings. TRANSlations Mxxtape, the in-person event, will be held on Saturday, May 7, 2022, at Northwest Film Forum. 

Founded in 2006, TRANSlations is one of only nine film festivals globally that showcases films created by and starring trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people. 

The need for transgender representation on screen is vital right now. Throughout the United States, lawmakers are proposing legislation targeting the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community, with much of it explicitly aimed at restricting the rights of transgender, nonbinary, and gender-diverse people, especially trans youth

“This year, approximately 25 states in the U.S. face harmful legislation targeting trans people, with a large focus on trans athletes and trans youth,” said StormMiguel Florez, lead programmer of the festival. “This constant bombardment of legislating against our very existence is physically and mentally harmful, so I am thrilled that all of our TRANSlations shorts programs and most of our features are available to watch in all U.S. states and territories. It is integral that we see ourselves and those who share our joys and struggles reflected on screen and behind the camera. I hope our audiences feel emboldened and connected through the power of trans and nonbinary cinema.”

“CAER” (Caught) follows two trans Latina sex workers in Queens, New York, who fight transphobic violence and harassment by the police. (Photo: Nicola Mai)

The in-person event will include three feature film screenings, CAER, Finlandia, and Framing Agnes, and TRANSLATIONS MXXTAPE, a collection of shorts. The short films include everything, from surrealist, stop-motion animation, to an acid western featuring a vigilante cowgirl in “Ballad of Yuka,” to a “grim comedy” where a young, Black trans woman breaks down in “How Not To Date While Trans.” 

Framing Agnes, an official Sundance Film Festival selection, features a cast of transgender artists and performers who tell the story of Agnes, the transgender woman who participated in gender health research at UCLA in the 1960s. According to the Sundance synopsis, “Framing Agnes endeavors 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.” 

Angelica Ross is Georgia, a trans woman from the South, in “Framing Agnes.” (Photo: Stephanie Owens)

With 16 shorts and features to screen from May 5–8, The TRANSlations virtual program will be available to stream throughout the U.S. (except when otherwise noted), which makes watching and even gifting a ticket easy to do. The last day to purchase virtual access is May 8.

And the festival includes fun offerings streaming on Three Dollar Bill Cinema’s YouTube and Facebook pages. And multiple events, like Speed Friending, Filmmaker Networking, and a Game Night, are included with ticket purchase. In addition to films, these supplemental virtual events make TRANSlations Film Fest an accessible, immersive experience worth checking out.

Tickets and passes are on sale now. Passes range in price from $30 to $100 each, and single tickets are on a sliding scale from $5 to $30. All festival films are available for viewing until May 13. For the festival schedule, film descriptions, ticket and pass information, and more, visit the Three Dollar Bill Cinema website.

Patheresa Wells is a Queer poet, writer, and storyteller who lives in SeaTac, Washington. Born to a Black mother and Persian father, her experiences as a multicultural child shaped her desire to advocate for and amplify her community. She currently attends Highline College in Des Moines. Follow her on Twitter @PatheresaWells.

📸 Featured Image: “Finlandia” is part magical realism and part documentary storytelling. The film explores the experiences of a group of Muxes — third gender and nonbinary people — living outside Oaxaca, Mexico. Photo courtesy of TRANSlations Film Festival.

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