SATRANIC PANIC – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Alice Maio Mackay as a filmmaker brings so much fundamental joy to her movies. There’s an old school punk rock spirit here of finding joy in the bleak mess of it all, and perhaps nowhere else in her work is that joy more vivid than Satranic Panic – bright, eye-popping jewel colors explode on a screen further electrified by her meshing of the traditional horror film format with that of the musical. Mackay simply delights in Satranic Panic’s musical numbers – clearly as much as she does the more gruesome horror vignettes – and it is this sense of glee that render her films so effortlessly charming. A bright light in a dark world, Satranic Panic is another welcome addition to this astonishing young filmmaker’s growing oeuvre.

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MUTT – Review by Nadine Whitney

Writer and director Vuk Lungulov-Klotz’s chaotic Mutt crystalises the many aspects of trans experience into a twenty-four-hour period in the life of Feña (Lio Mehiel) who encounters many key people in his life he hasn’t seen since before he transitioned. While the set up might seem like a conceit, Vuk Lungulov-Klotz is using the small window of time to tell a story that for many trans people has a universal resonance. Feña is constantly misgendered, apologising for being trans and then becoming furious for having to apologise. He has one thing he really wants to do and that’s to pick up his Chilean father, Pablo (Alejandro Goic) who he hasn’t seen for several years from the airport. It might seem like a low stakes goal but as the day progresses and people disappoint Feña by flaking or reneging on promises, his end objective becomes as Herculean as his constant struggle to make people recognise who he is, and always was.

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LITTLE GIRL – Review by Leslie Combemale

If people who are less understanding of trans rights see this film, it has the potential to shift belief and possibly reverse a lot of outdated laws. That would be a gift and blessing to kids finding challenges now, but even more future kids who won’t have to struggle needlessly as they grow. Of course the film is subjective, as it aims to change a lot of hearts, and attempts to do so through experience rather than statistics, but if the definition of great art is that it elicits compassion and understanding, Little Girl qualifies.

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JULIA SCOTTI: FUNNY THAT WAY – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

A funny thing happened when Susan Sandler, the Golden Globe nominated screenwriter behind the 1988 film Crossing Delancey, went to a comedy club in 2015. She witnessed a set performed by a 60-something older trans-woman whose stand-up persona has been described as a cross between a shouty, profane Sam Kinison and huggable Mrs. Doubtfire. She and Scotti hit it off at the bar, so much so that Sandler was inspired to become a first-time director so she could share this ex-Jersey boy’s endearingly poignant journey that allowed this funny lady to embrace her own inner female self.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK February 12, 2021: COWBOYS

The consequences of denying your loved ones the right to live authentically plays out in dramatic fashion in Cowboys, writer/director Anna Kerrigan’s moving film about a family in crisis. Starring the talented Steve Zahn and Jillian Bell as Troy and Sally, the divorced parents of 10-year-old transgender boy Jo (Sasha Knight), the film ultimately shows the power of unconditional love and acceptance.

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MARKIE IN MILWAUKEE – Review by Diane Carson

Markie Ann Wenzel is a courageous and, for a significant period of time, conflicted individual for several reasons fully and frankly on display in director Matt Kliegman’s documentary Markie in Milwaukee. Beginning May 13, 2013, on Milwaukee’s South Side, Markie Ann faces a monumental decision. Born a man, will he continue his transition to becoming a woman.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 25, 2020: LINGUA FRANCA

In telling the story of undocumented transgender Filipina caregiver Olivia, writer/director/actress Isabel Sandoval’s quietly powerful drama Lingua Franca calls attention to an issue that too many people find easy to dismiss as not their concern. And it does so with empathy and humanity, hopefully opening hearts and minds before the credits roll.

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Isabel Sandoval on LINGUA FRANCA, Aesthetics and Political Acts – Leslie Combemale interviews

Isabel Sandoval has created a subtle, sensual story that goes beyond the trans narratives released by largely white, male, cis-gendered mainstream directors of today. Her film Lingua Franca is a relationship-based tale that follows trans Filipina Olivia in her struggle to find some joy and live her life authentically as a caregiver in Brighton Beach, while trying to secure a green card.

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