In many cultures, queer, trans and gender expansive people have held the roles of steward, healer, and sage. Such roles have allowed us to develop unique and significant relationships with our homelands and homewaters. As people living through today’s dire conditions, when the matrix of creation seems to balance barely on a precipice, how do we draw on place-based knowledge to save our one and only home? What connection does queerness still have to the Earth, and why does that connection matter?
The films in this program speak to the entanglements between care for the environment and care for queer kin. Much more than a film program on the horrors of the climate crisis, this program presents audiences with global cultural practices — many of which are Indigenous — that offer brighter, queerer futures. These possible futures become rallying points for environmental stewardship and climate protection. Through the beating hearts, spirited rituals, and fantastical visions these films offer, we may begin making sense of queerness’ gift: an acute atunement to all that is sacred.
April 3, 4 PM EST
Steadily narrated by the director’s grandmother, The Fourfold imbues an Indigenous worldview and wisdom based on the ancient shamanic rituals and animistic beliefs in Mongolia and Siberia. Expressively textured, hand-painted animations take audiences on a journey through the many seasons and accompanying practices of the artist’s ancestry. This film pays homage to the profound beauty of terrestrial existence, insofar as it is bound to the lives of spirits and creation itself.
Alisi Telengut is a Canadian artist of Mongolian origin. Her hand-crafted, frame by frame animations generate movement and painterly visuals for her films. Her work has received multiple international awards and nominations, including the Best Short Film at Stockholm Film Festival (Sweden), Best Animated Film at Mammoth Lakes Film Festival (USA) and the Jury Award at the Aspen Shortsfest (USA), and her fils have been exhibited internationally at galleries and festivals, such as at Sundance (USA), TIFF (Canada) and the Canadian Cultural Centre at the Embassy of Canada (France).
Dunvegan, Skye, 2019
Niko Wearden & Annabel Wicker
Niko is a performance artist who spent a summer working close to some seals on the Isle of Skye, a Scottish island surrounded by seaweed. Seaweed has had important uses throughout Scottish history, and may save the future of humanity. Through poetry, letter writing, performance art, outdoor swimming and landscape cinematography, this film explores the relationship between the island, seaweed, and Niko’s relation to gender.
Annabel Wicker is a London based visual artist who works with the fluid motions found in the natural world. From the wind rippling the water’s surface to the iridescent caustics that this throws out into the environment, work that holds tension caused by mystery found in the wild.
Niko Wearden is a British performance artist whose work is concerned with queer intimacy and the nature of transition. They work with the body, often collaboratively – in and through spaces with others – including the more-than-human. Niko has shown work internationally including at the Royal College of Art in London.
Berda Helena Larsen
Tukummeq and Luna are facing a turning point in their relationship. An opportunity arises for them to finally present themselves as a couple to Luna’s mother, but Luna hesitates. In search of a decision, Tukummeq tells Luna the myth of the loon and the raven: how the loon was gifted its beautiful patterns, and how she, in an act of love, accidentally ruined the raven’s. Which path will Luna decide for herself and Tukummeq?
Berda Larsen, mainly known as Birdie, is an emerging Inuk filmmaker from Kalaalilit Nuunaat (Greenland), born and raised in Sisimiut. She is currently based in Nuuk where she is taking her Bachelors in Culture, History, and Society at Ilisimatusarfik, University of Greenland. Her visual work focuses on aspects that are relevant for Kalaallit Nunaat, such as mental well-being, 2SLGBTQ+ rights, mythology, and Indigenous knowledge.
Based on text messages from their kokum, this film is a love letter to trans, non-binary and 2 Spirit ancestors past, present, and future. Likening trans becoming to the growth of a plant from seed to bloom, the filmmaker imagines planting hopeful seeds for future generations.
Kay Chan (they/he/she) is a Two-Spirit/non-binary, Tkaronto-based artist. With a mixed Métis/Chinese heritage, Kay transforms their experiences, passions, and identities into art through traditional and digital mediums.
Adrian Garcia Gomez
A frenetic experimental animation that documents the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests as they intersect in springtime Brooklyn. Shot during isolation on a phone, the video explores the effects of imposed distance on touch and intimacy, the proximity of an invisible virus and invisible deaths and the revolt against the racist, corrupt systems that commodify, exploit and render their most vulnerable citizens disposable. The video also parallels the current uprisings with the queer liberation movement which began as a riot at Stonewall and was led in large part by trans people of color who still experience violence at disproportionate rates.
Adrian Garcia Gomez is an interdisciplinary artist working in film/video, photography and illustration. His artwork, which is largely autobiographical and often performative, explores the intersections of race, immigration, gender, spirituality and sexuality. His short experimental films, photographs and drawings have exhibited around the world. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn.
Sugar Oil Pine Water
A group of queers in northern Sweden are summoned to perform the ritual of the lesbian odyssey. What unites them are queer experiences, dreams, and their relationship to the north.
Tove Pils works with themes revolving around power, sexuality, gender and the crossing of boundaries. They work with both documentary and fiction, and have directed three short films. Take My Sex Away (together with Anna Eborn and Lovisa Elwerdotter 2007), To not explode (2008) PUSH ME (2014) and Sugar Oil Pine Water (2021). At the moment they are working on their first feature, a documentary film project depicting queer sex workers in San Francisco. For Tove, the notion of queer is important not only as content of their films, but also throughout the creative process.
This animated short depicts the symbiotic relationship humans have with earth, and a mother’s journey to seek justice for her child. The big foot tramples on a baby flower before it has the chance to flourish. Her mother journeys through the roots of the earth and sprouts into various forms of life as she tries to cling onto the memory of her child one last time. Together, the plants expel a seed from the bosom of a rose and plant the seed of Justice into the earth. Created with charcoal on paper by Jesi Jordan, Justice features music by Jennifer Castle off of her album Monarch Season.
Jesi Jordan is a self-taught animator and performer from Toronto. Her work is full of chimeric landforms, melting bodies, radical womanhood, sentient objects, and disarming ruptures of time and space. Inspired by her nomadic lifestyle, Jesi’s animated short films, music videos and performances are a fever-dream travelogue. Her animations are diaries of her most traversed landscape: that of her own vivid imagination.
Victoria Anderson-Gardner & Sagi Kahane-Rapport
Struggling with a tragic loss in her family, Namid finds new meaning in her Grandfather’s teachings and is inspired to reconnect with those who have passed. Through fancy shawl dancing and the Anishinaabe warrior story, she finds courage to reconnect with her ancestors. A newfound place on her generational line transforms the burden of history into the promise for a brighter future. Music composition by Melody McKiver (Anishinaabe).
Victoria Anderson-Gardner is an award winning Ojibwe filmmaker from Eagle Lake First Nation, Ontario. Victoria is focused on creating Indigenous content, showcasing underrepresented communities and using their skills as a filmmaker to educate. They completed their Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the School of Image Arts at X University. Victoria recently won the City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protege Prize. Victoria has worked on a variety of productions, including: Namid (REEL Canada and Netlifx commissioned short film); Tenaya; Becoming Nakuset; The Hurt That Binds Us; and Mni Wiconi: Mitakuyelo.
Sagi Kahane-Rapport is a Canadian-American film and commercial director based in Toronto, Canada. Sagi uses his keen technical understanding and love of intimate storytelling to constantly look for new creative boundaries to push. Sagi is a two-time recipient of the Norman Jewison Filmmaker Award, the Ryan Churchill Promising Filmmaker award, the Harvey Hart Director’s Award, and a part of the DOC Institute of Canada’s New Visions Incubator. Sagi’s work has received recognition in festivals such as the Oscar-qualifying Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival, the SCAD Savannah Film Festival, and the Denver Film Festival.
Back to Nature
Back to Nature explores human ties to the elements as a factor of queer relationality. Through dance, fashion, and play, the film envisions a present future where gender is expansive and our needs and desires are aligned to joy and the Earth.
Fer is a Latin Queer multidisciplinary artist who bases their work on radical tenderness, community healing and joy as an act of resistance. They aim to create conversations and encourage self-reflection as well as collective action. Born and raised in Chile, they have moved around the world following their passion for art, community and decolonization.
Deborah Louise Kelly
For Creation is an elaborate contemplation of the great weight, the myriad complexity, the glittering webs of matter and sentience. Combining playful proposition, ardent queerness, elegy and homage, Kelly’s animated paper collage, made over 3 years, forms a call to congregants of creation. Musical collaborators and queer legends Stereogamous composed the anthemic soundtrack, which features the voices of SJ Norman and emerging popstar Lupa J.
Deborah Kelly has exhibited extensively around Australia, and in the Biennales of Singapore, Sydney, Thessaloniki, TarraWarra, Cementa and Venice. Recent solo exhibitions include The Gods of Tiny Things at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (2021); Life in the Ruins (2018) Fabian & Claude Walter Galerie, Zurich, and Venus Envy (2017) at the Kvindemuseet, Denmark. In December 2019 she won first prize in the Fotogenia Festival, Mexico City and was International Artist in Residence at Wellcome Trust, London. Her multidisciplinary work CREATION was included in The National, 2021 Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.