2017 FILM FESTIVAL 2017-10-13T17:37:15+00:00

TransNation Film Festival

Hosted by Zackary Drucker
October 13-15, 2017
At The Silent Movie Theatre, West Hollywood
611 N. Fairfax Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036
Valet parking available


10/13/17 – 7:30 pm   

(6:00 pm – VIP pre-reception on patio)
*St. John’s CEO Jim Mangia in conversation with subject and activist Victoria Cruz
**The programmers of TransNation Film Festival are aware of and concerned about Reina Gossett’s allegations about the film The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, but unfortunately they surfaced days before our film festival. We acknowledge her research and support her claims. We are a low-budget, grassroots fundraiser for St. John’s Trans Health Program, so to pull this film over the current controversy would be unfair to our guest Victoria Cruz, to our audience, and to the charity.
We invited Victoria Cruz to appear to honor her lifetime of service to the trans community and for investigating the death of Marsha P. Johnson, which is the centerpiece of The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson. We’d be doing a disservice to Ms. Cruz, and our entire community of trans elders, by not remaining true to our mission to honor her.
We approached Reina Gossett and Sasha Wortzel to program Happy Birthday, Marsha! early on, but they weren’t ready to show it; we support their work and sincerely hope to show Happy Birthday, Marsha! next year. Tonight we honor the activism and legacy of Marsha P. Johnson as well as Sylvia Rivera and Victoria Cruz, Marsha’s friends and tireless advocates for justice and trans liberation.
This new documentary centers on self-described “street queen” Marsha P. Johnson, legendary fixture in New York City’s gay ghetto, who along with fellow trans icon Sylvia Rivera, founded Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries (S.T.A.R.), a trans activist group based in the heart of NYC’s Greenwich Village. Mysteriously, Marsha was found floating in the Hudson River in 1992. At the time, the NYPD pegged her death as a suicide, a claim that Marsha’s comrades have always firmly rejected. Structured as a whodunit, with activist Victoria Cruz cast as detective and audience surrogate, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson celebrates the lasting political legacy of Marsha P. Johnson, while seeking to finally solve the mystery of her unexplained death.—Loren Hammonds (Tribeca)
“I met Marsha P. Johnson after coming out when I was 20. Marsha taught me how to be gay, and she was the kindest person I’ve ever known. Marsha P. Johnson’s story, as well as Sylvia Rivera’s and the other pioneers of Stonewall, must be told, over and over again. St. John’s acknowledges and values the importance of perspective and centering the voices of trans women of color. We honor and celebrate Victoria Cruz’ lifetime of service to the trans community through New York City’s Anti-violence project and her investigation into the death of our movement’s pioneer, Marsha P. Johnson.” —Jim Mangia, CEO, St. John’s Well Child and Family Center
Dir. David France, 2017, 105 mins. DCP
9:30 pm – Opening night VIP reception


10/13/17 – 10:00 pm    

A program of new, exceptional works in trans-themed and trans-made cinema.
*Filmmaker Rain Valdez and others in person!
    • Time Marches on and So Do We (Narr. by Laverne Cox. 2017 4 min. digital)
    • For Nonna Anna (Dir. Luis De Filippis, 13 min. DCP) (US PREMIERE)
    • Umbrella (Dir. Rhys Ernst, 2017, 16 min. DCP)
      he story of four transgender individuals who are fighting for their rights and to be recognized. 
    • New Deep South: House of  JXN (Dir. Rosie Haber, 2017, 9 min., digital)
    • Plasma Vista (Dir. Harriet Fleuriot, Sarah Cockings, 2016, 8 min.)
    • Little Potato (Dir. Wes Hurley, Nathan M. Miller, 2017, 14 min. digital)
    • My Own Wings (Dirs. Katia Repina, Carla Moral, 2016, 8 min./English, Spanish, Russian, French/English subtitles (WORLD PREMIERE)
    • The Real Thing (Dir. Brandon Kelly, 2017, 7 mins.)
    • Hexed (Dir. Rain Valdez, 2017, 10 mins, digital presentation)

Ru Paul’s STARBOOTY! trilogy

10/13/17 – 12:00 am

Hosted by James St. James!
*For this special, ultra-rarely screened celebration of a burgeoning, public access-fueled Ru Paul, it’s time to pull out your secret agent pumps and platforms, don the trashiest & most glamorous of your gowns, and strut to make Ru Paul’s Starbooty herself proud! Join us for a night of dress-up-party as we celebrate the savior of North America & the enemy of hatred: Ru Paul is STARBOOTY! Outfit contest on the patio starting 11 pm!
An unknown, underground punk diva only years later to become RuPaul blew up Atlanta’s TV tubes with this zero-budget, “genderfucked,” public-access masterpiece play-in-three-acts. Ru Paul’s Starbooty! is utterly drag at its core: an outrageously & fabulously hammy, DIY celebration of wild patriotism, queer-excellence-bar-none, and campy sophistication. As the titular government spy, Starbooty uses her heart, her AK, her glamour, and a few well-placed karate chops to bring peace to her beloved USA — facing armed girl groups and dismantling drug deals, all whilst finding romance and doling out beaucoup hope and life lessons to misfit streetwalkers who cross her path.
Dir.  John Witherspoon 1987, 60 mins., digital presentation 

TransNation Film Festival Teaser



10/14/17 – 4:00 pm

*With Director Sydney Freeland in person!
Drunktown’s Finest is filmmaker Sydney Freeland’s response to a news story that characterized her hometown of Gallup, New Mexico, as “Drunktown, USA.” Nizhoni was adopted and raised as a Christian by a white family, transsexual Felixxia dreams of becoming a model, and Sickboy is headed to basic training so he can take care of his soon-to-be-born child. Shot against a mesmerizing New Mexico landscape, we observe the Navajo Nation from the inside out through the eyes of these three unlikely characters. At first our preconceptions are reinforced, but slowly, as each of their lives unfolds, we start to wonder whether the outside world these characters crave is truly the answer.
Dir. Sydney Freeland, 2015, 95 mins. DCP


10/14/17 – 7:15 pm    

*Skype Q&A with Director Yance Ford, hosted by Sam Feder!
Strong Island is slang for Long Island, where filmmaker Yance Ford and his family grew up. Having fled the racism of the Jim Crow South during the 1960s, his parents hoped they would be freer from institutionalized injustice in their new neighborhood. But two weeks before the Rodney King riots, Yance’s 24-year-old-brother, William, was murdered by a white 19-year-old car mechanic. The killer, Mark Reilly, didn’t just get away with the crime; his fabrication—he claimed self-defense, though William was unarmed—allowed the grand jury to label him a victim and Yance’s brother the perpetrator of his own death. The Ford family retreated from this baffling miscarriage of justice into a prolonged period of silent grief and simmering anger—until now.
Strong Island, so devastatingly clear-eyed in its formal and emotional directness, finds filmmaker Yance Ford in front of his own camera, piecing together the wreckage brought about by that fateful night in 1992. The investigation gives way to stirring anecdotes regarding race and gender, through interviews with the surviving Ford family members and, most potently, through Yance himself, a transmasculine artist whom his brother knew only as a younger sister. Executive-produced by Danny Glover and Laura Poitras (CitizenFour) and winner of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival’s Special Jury Award for Storytelling, Strong Island is a piercing work of self-reflection.
— HARRY VAUGHN (Frameline)
Dir. Yance Ford, 2017, 107 mins. DCP

9:15 pm – VIP reception


10/14/17 – 9:30 pm    

*With special guest original Cockette Fayette Hauser in person! Featuring TRICIA’S WEDDING and ELEVATOR GIRLS and PALACE, with a live score by Kristian Hoffman
This groundbreaking, acid-drenched drag performance troupe, from its birth amidst San Francisco’s hippie commune scene in 1969 to its dizzying heights and eventual implosion, the Cockettes combined a transcendental vision of sexuality with political parody, LSD, elaborate costumes and makeup, and a transgressive bohemian grandeur that has influenced countless artists and provocateurs. Tonight’s special program includes an introduction by original Cockette Fayette Hauser and screenings of three rare Cockettes films: TRICIA’S WEDDING, which spoofs the wedding of President Nixon’s daughter, Tricia (high jinks start when Eartha Kitt adds LSD to the punch bowl);  ELEVATOR GIRLS IN BONDAGE, where the underpaid staff of a seedy hotel rise up in revolt when head Elevator Girl Maxine (Rumi) starts a Marxist-Feminist secret association to liberate the girls; and the extremely rare film PALACE (1973), which documents the only filmed live performance by The Cockettes at the Palace Theater, San Francisco, on Halloween, 1973.
*NOTE: these films contains sexually explicit scenes – for mature audiences only*
TRICIA’S WEDDING (Dir. Milton Miron, 1971, 20 mins., digital presentation)
ELEVATOR GIRLS IN BONDAGE* (Dir. Michal Kalmen, 1972, 57 minutes, digital presentation)
PALACE (Dirs. Syd Dutton and Scott Runyon, 1973, 21 mins. 35mm)


10/14/17 – 12:00 am  

Style, grace, sworn revenge against the male race? Enter ultra-femme, sadistic she-devil Myra Breckenridge, the inaugural trans Bad Bitch, who — in her wicked pursuit of revenge — never fails to properly accessorize an outfit.  Based on Gore Vidal’s best selling novel and starring Raquel Welch, with screen-stealing performances by legendary Mae West and freaky contributions by John Huston, Rex Reed, and Farrah Fawcett. A groovy, fuzzy spectacle that drips with Old Hollywood homages and lush ‘70s production, Myra Breckenridge serves life — and femme power — from end to end.
Dir. by Mike Sarne, 1970, 94 mins., 35mm, Rated X



10/15/17 – 3:00 pm   

*Director Michael Brewer, Jazzmun Crayton, and other cast members in person for Q&A!
The feature-length documentary follows the journey of thirteen transgender and two gay actors as they prepare for the world premiere of the stage play, “Lovely Bouquet of Flowers: An Exploration of Non-Traditional Gender Voices.” Behind-the-scenes, rehearsal and performance footage are interwoven with personal interviews from the cast, dealing with family, inner conflicts, discrimination, coming out, surgery, hormones and the complexities of sexual identity and orientation. Sharing their own journeys, the actors speak to issues related to relationships, careers and spirituality, challenging the viewer to move past stereotypes and see the commonalities we all share as human beings.
Dir. Michael Brewer, 2015, 90 mins, BluRay

*Special FREE sneak preview of  HBO short film “15: A Quinceañera Story”  Hosted by Maria Roman with Zoey Luna + filmmaker Matthew O’Neill in-person!

10/15/17 – 5:30 pm  

*Note: this is a FREE preview of a film to be released in 2018 via HBO.
No tickets necessary but RSVP recommended.
“15: A Quinceañera Story” is about Zoey, a young Mexican-American celebrating her 15th birthday. Though Zoey was assigned male at birth, she identifies as female and this celebration has special significance for her trans madrinas (godmothers) who couldn’t have Quinceañeras of their own.”
Dirs. Matthew O’Neill and Thalia Sodi, est. release 2018, 30 mins. DCP


10/15/17 – 7:00 pm    

*West Coast Premiere! With filmmaker Rebecca Adler and cast members in person!
Filmed over three years, this nuanced documentary is an interwoven coming-of-age story of seven trans young adults in Austin, Texas. The filmmaker follows her subjects as they navigate family judgment and relationships, find their voices in DIY punk bands, fall in love, navigate the unknowns of hormone therapy, move through the transitions of top surgery, and do this all with courage, self-awareness and humor, speaking honestly and directly about their lives. Articulate, self-aware and unafraid to voice provocative beliefs, they present a deeply compelling view into the lives of today’s trans millennials.
Dir. Rebecca Adler, 2017, 90 mins. Digital presentation

Special program: Out in Africa – featuring

10/15/17 – 9:30 pm

*Guest-hosted by Jazzmun Crayton featuring filmmaker Seyi Adebanjo in person!
In this documentary, Queer Gender-Non-Conforming Nigerian media artist Seyi Adebanjo tells a tale not often heard about gender and indigenous Yorùbá spirituality. ỌYA follows Seyi’s journey to Nigeria to connect with the Òrìṣà tradition, or African God/dess tradition, and the powerful legacy of the filmmaker’s great grandmother, Chief Moloran Ìyá Ọlọ́ya. This personal and political story vibrantly investigates the heritage of command, mythology, gender fluidity, womyn’s power and the hidden truth behind indigenous Yorùbá spirituality. This lyrical documentary illuminates the lives of Òrìṣà Ọya (Warrior Goddess), Chief Moloran Ìyá Ọlọ́ya and Seyi Adebanjo while interweaving Yorùbá mythology, poetry, performance, and expert interviews.
Dir. Seyi Adebanjo, 2017, 30 mins., digital presentation
Pearl of Africa
From her warm demeanour and disarming smile, you wouldn’t know how dangerous life is for Cleopatra Kambugu, a young transwoman living in Uganda. After being outed on the front page of the biggest tabloid in Kampala, in a country with some of the world’s most bigoted anti-LGBT laws (including a notorious bill threatening life imprisonment for homosexuality), her relationship with long-term boyfriend Nelson is tested. Forced to flee to Kenya to escape reprisals, Cleo begins the process of navigating a difficult bureaucracy to reconcile with her partner. Along the way, she seeks to undergo gender confirmation surgery, which she hopes may be a final step in her journey towards being married in her home country. A moving and universal love story, told in the face of extreme circumstances, this documentary reveals often unsaid and inexpressible facets of the human heart. Eli Horwatt/Hot Docs
Dir. Jonny von Wallström, 2016, 90 mins., digital presentation



The TransNation Film Festival’s mission is to honor our history and nurture emerging voices while celebrating and showcasing trans culture’s cinematic achievements and social impact throughout the world.


The second annual TransNation Film Festival is a three-day event featuring an eclectic program of works by emerging and established filmmakers, and rare and underseen repertory gems and classics that reflect the trans experience. Filmmakers, actors, and special guests present an eclectic curation of new and repertory works as well as special tributes, receptions, and industry panels. Hosted at West Hollywood’s cutting-edge independent theater The Silent Movie Theatre, the festival is attended by industry executives, creatives, and cultural influencers from the greater Los Angeles area.

Submissions for the 2017 Film Festival are now closed.

TransNation Film Festival is part of the St. John’s TransNation Festival weekend held in Los Angeles in October, 2017. Proceeds from this festival benefit the St. John’s Well Child and Family Center’s non-profit Transgender Health Program, which provides comprehensive transgender health services in a safe and welcoming environment to people in Los Angeles, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, or presentation.


TransNation Film Festival is produced by St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, Los Angeles


We don’t discriminate: we accept shorts and features of all genres, lengths, formats. The only prerequisite is that if this screening is not a premiere, you must inform us of all previous film festival and theatrical screenings.


By submitting your film, you are agreeing to have it shown at The TransNation Film Festival, West Hollywood, on October 13, 14, and 15, 2017.