Aug 27

Filmmaker Spotlight: Seven King of Eden’s Garden

Gender Reel's 2015 fall festival circuit kicks off September 30th in Boston and continues throughout the months of October and November in Minneapolis, Durham, Omaha and Houston.

This year, Gender Reel features 21 amazing films exploring a range of issues related to the trans and gender non-conforming experience, including premiere screenings of Eden's Garden — a short film created by Filmmaker Seven King — which features an all trans male cast and focuses on socially relevant issues impacting black and Latino trans men. 

Seven, is a 28-year-old, African- American, trans man director, writer, film producer, documentation, advocate and filmmaker born and raised in Bronx, New York. Over the past 10 years, Seven has wrote and produced many screenplays specializing in the drama genre.   

Earlier this month, Gender Reel caught up with Seven for a short, yet personal interview. This is what he had to say about his work in the film industry, what he hopes his professional future will look like and what others can do to accomplish their dreams. 


Joe: How long have you been making films?

Seven: I have been a visionary all my life. Art has been apart of my life since I was a child. Creativity is effortless for me. I embrace that part of me. Expressing myself in other ways that has to do with creating has always been my language. Film making is vision and a visionary, I am. I have been writing screen plays since I was a teenager. I have been making films since I was sixteen.

Joe: What inspired you to get into the film making industry?

Seven: I am inspired in putting different messages on the screen. We live in a world influenced highly by technology, I believe in creating films for the brain to think. I am about creating revolutionary films. I have a revolutionary spirit. I think outside the box and I can create a story regardless if I been through it or not, I believe in the power of the message. The power of the message is what inspired me to take on filmmaking.  I like to create impactful drama related films. I believe it’s tied to my journey. Life’s circumstances will take you to different experiences. An artist creates from different inspirations, I create from experience or exposing different conversations, topics and views that may have not been focused on before. 

Joe: What makes the content and story line of Eden’s Garden a unique and important one?

Seven: I'm an artist. I am a visionary. I am a revolutionary at heart. I am also a transgender male. Expressing the story of my own personal experience which also represents the story of millions of transgender people, regardless of color is an intimate project to produce alone. I wrote an explicit, heart felt and honest show, regarding the trans male experience and I hope this show opens a window for the world to understand our realities and struggles through this scripted drama. I hope this show connects people, I hope this show brings respect to people who choose to transition and live their life as any other person. I hope it brings understanding and clarity to people who still have narrowed views of the transgender experience. I hope it helps people see the perspectives of some Black and Latino trans men.  

Joe: As a trans man yourself, were there personal reasons or interests behind creating Eden’s Garden?

Seven: Personally, filmmaking is my career. I want to show the world when we create outside the box, the impact in energy it will send out in the air. Eden’s Garden is helping to open the minds, conversations and perspectives of people who may not be of trans experience. The connection of being human is what I personally wanted to put onto the forefront. I believe the personal is always political. It's a political statement for me to call myself black and trans in the same sentence. It's a statement of my somebody-ness. What it means to be black, trans and human. It is my radical subjectivity. I feel this series is personal, intentional and political. Throughout life we will experience all of the above. I'm intentionally bringing the story of trans men to the forefront for the media and world to see the visible face and story of human beings who also happen to be trans man.

Joe: If you could decide on one message someone watching Eden’s Garden could walk away with, what would that message be?

Seven: Being yourself is an action of choice you have to decide to live everyday. Be true to what you feel, think and want to be, that is the ultimate freedom.

Joe: What is in store for Seven King's future? Are you planning more films? Projects?

Seven: I plan to expand my production company “Seven King Entertainment”  and produce films of different focuses, not just LGBT based. I am also in the middle of writing a book, there’s allot in store!

Joe: As a successful filmmaker, who is also trans and a person of color, do you have any advice to offer other young people who may be interested in getting involved in visual or media arts?

Seven: The advice I can give to people inspiring to be filmmakers is to have “tunnel vision” for your goal. Learn how to master starting and finishing something. Many people, have multiple ideas but do not know how to finish what they start. Believe in your idea and vision when no one else will. Learn that everything is a process and that nothing comes overnight. You will be so focused, by the time you look up, your goal will be accomplished. 

You can catch Seven after the screenings of Eden's Garden @ Gender Reel Boston on October 1st and Gender Reel Minneapolis on October 8th. During these events, he will participate in a short Q&A as well as larger panel discussions regarding issues impacting TMOC. 

To find out more about all upcoming festivals please consult our 2015 Festivals and Co-sponsored events page for scheduling details. 



Mar 25

Turning 5 never felt so good!

Gender Reel, the countries only coast-to-coast film & performance art festival, turned five this year. In recognition of this, festival organizers are gearing up for an amazing year of events and screenings throughout the country. 

Gender Reel, kicked off 2015 with a bang February 7 & 8, 2015 at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. This was the first time Gender Reel held a festival in the Big Apple and over 250 attendees came out to enjoy two fun-filled days of screenings, Q&A discussions and complimentary meals. 

Joe Ippolito, Gender Reel's Founder & Executive Director says, "The best part of attending a festival like Gender Reel is the community building experience folks don't otherwise have when watching films at home." While no specific plans have been made yet, it is rumored Gender Reel organizers are looking to host another NYC event in 2016. 

Other upcoming 2015 events include a mini film festival at the Because Conference in Minneapolis, MN on April 18th, screenings at the National Trans Health Summit in Oakland, CA on April 17-19, and an art and film event co-hosted with the Leeway Foundation at the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference on June 4. "One of our goals is to continue collaborating with groups and organizations from around the nation who's mission is similar to our own," explains Ippolito.  He went on to say, "Groups like Because, PTHC and Leeway represents that." 

In addition, Gender Reel Organizers continue to prepare for it's winter film festival circuit. Winter festivals typically profile new film submitted to Gender Reel, as well as Q&A's and performance art pieces with a more city specific feel. Gender Reel will host winter festivals in four cities this year: Minneapolis, MN, Houston, TX, Omaha, NB, and Long Beach, CA. Currently, Gender Reel representatives are also talking with organizers in the Greenbelt, MD and Boston, MA areas about hosting events in these cities, as well. 

Gender Reel's official submission process starts on April 20 and ends July 20. However, filmmakers are encouraged to submit films early in what has now become a rolling submission process. Submissions can be made through our website @ 

Folks interested in bringing Gender Reel to a city near them should contact Joe Ippolito @ by  May 15th for details concerning ways to make that happen. 






Oct 24

Gender Reel turns five in 2015!

Gender Reel 2015 is just around the corner and this year the “little festival that could” will be celebrating its 5th year birthday. 

Over the past 4 years, Gender Reel, has hosted festivals in eight cities around the country – Portland, OR, Oakland, CA, Long Beach, CA, Minneapolis, MN, Omaha, NE, Kenosha, WI, Philadelphia, PA, Durham, NC. Additionally, Gender Reel, held mini-film festivals at two nationally known transgender conferences — The Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference and the Minnesota Transgender Health Conference. Other milestone achievements include, releasing it’s first documentary, Growing Old Gracefully: The Transgender Experience, which explores the experiences of trans aging people, working with the Tretter Collection at the University of Minnesota to establish a Gender Reel archive program, becoming a non-profit organization and endorsing the work of other media, film and performance artists.












“Its exciting just thinking about how far we have come. I never thought we would be celebrating five years. I suppose when the energy is right things just happen,” says Gender Reel Founder & Executive Director, Joe Ippolito.

To celebrate its 5th year, Gender Reel, is currently organizing several unique events, as well as continuing its support of other amazing media artists.

2015 events include:

  • Gender Reel NYU on February 7 & 8, 2015: Gender Reel NYU, a free, two-day event sponsored by Department of Cinema Studies at New York University’s Tisch School. This kick off festival will feature film/video/new media screenings, interactive discussions, an evening of performance art and “Show It Off,” an impromptu opportunity for young filmmakers to preview and receive feedback on their work. New York City activists Pauline Park & Kim Watson, therapists SJ Langer and Kit Richlin, and filmmaker Seyi Adebanjo and performance artist Imani Henry, and others, are some of the amazing you can catch at Gender Reel NYU.
















  • ​​National Transgender Health Summit on April 17 & 18, 2015: Gender Reel, will showcase a series of films at the National Transgender Health Summit in San Francisco, CAL. This national conference, which is sponsored by the Center of Transgender Excellence, presents cutting edge transgender research and evidence-based educational sessions across many disciplines.
  • Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference on June 4-6, 2015: Gender Reel, hopes to host it's third mini film festival at the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference. Now in its thirteenth year, PTHC proudly offers a space for Trans* people and their allies, families, and providers to come together and re-envision what health means for Trans* people.
  • 2015 Fall Gender Reel Film & Performance Festivals: From October 2015-November-2015, Gender Reel, will host annual festivals around the country. Specific locations, dates and times are yet to be determined.

“We are very pleased with the direction Gender Reel is headed programmatically and our hope to continue expanding in new ways over the next five years,” says Gender Reel Administrative Director, Tammyrae Barr.

In addition to hosting festivals, Gender Reel, is endorsing the work of two remarkable media artists:

  • Howard el-Yasin’s Kindred Voices” uses sonic media to construct a queer spatial installation about LGBTQI People of Color identities. This project aims to destabilize perceptions and dispel myths of a monolithic queer identity while celebrating the global diversity of LGBTQI People of Color. Rather than visual imagery, or what people look like, attention is focused on the range of unique voices as polyphonic sounds. Recorded interviews with over fifty LGBTQI People of Color are in the process of being conducted to capture the sounds of individual voices–articulation of (social, political, cultural, religious, sexuality, gender, etc.) consciousness and how they may reflexively identify as an LGBTQI /racially Other person.















  • Seyi Adebanjo’s multi-media film and photography project, Trans Lives Matter! Justice for Islan Nettles, explores the love and sadness a community of people share when they come together at a vigil held to recognize her death. Islan, a 21-year-old trans woman of color, was beaten to death in a hate crime in front of a New York Police Department precinct in Harlem and left for dead. She died of injuries shortly afterwards after being taken off life support.

“We are excited to support – in whatever way possible – the work of artists like Seyi and Howard,” says Gender Reel Creative Director, Vega Darling.

If you would like to learn more about Gender Reel’s, its plans for the future and ways Gender Reel can offer support to you as a multi-media artist contact Joe Ippolito @

Sep 01

A festival committed to accessibility!








Gender Reel 2014 is just around the corner! 

This year, Gender Reel will host festivals in five cities across the United States: Minneapolis, Long Beach, Omaha, Durham and Philadelphia. The festival features 29 films, Q&A's, panel discussions, and performance art.

Since Gender Reel's onset in 2011, the festival has grown nationally in terms of how many festivals are hosted yearly, as well as delving into the production side of things with the release of it's first film, Growing Old Gracefully: The Transgender Experience.  

Despite this growth, festival organizers remain committed to making sure the event is completely accessible to all. To festival organizers accessibility includes everything from maintaining a free submission process, to making sure the cost to attend the event is fair and reasonable, and in some cases FREE. Additionally, we make a point in providing reduced ticket rates to local groups and organizations, as well as, discounts to students (with ID) and seniors.

Currently, the Minneapolis, Long Beach and Philadelphia festivals are set to charge patrons minimal ticket fees — in order to cover unexpected administrative fees. However, no one is turned away if they cannot afford a ticket. The Omaha and Durham events are free.

If you would like to attend one of the above-mentioned festivals where a ticket fee is being charged, but cannot afford it please contact Joe @ He will put you on the will call list in that city so you can attend the event for free. However, only you and Joe will know.

To make this process easy and confidential please indicate "I request a free ticket" in the subject line of the email, and provide your name(s) in the body. The maximum amount of tickets one can request is two tickets per email, and both names need to be included.

We look forward to seeing you at the festival(s) this fall.



Aug 04

And what an amazing 2014 list it is!!!

Gender Reel's 2014 film list in is and all we can say is it's GREAT! This years festival(s) consists of showcasing 30 amazingly diverse films. Additionally, there will be Q&A's, guest speakers and performance art pieces. Check back here for details concerning our city specific schedules in late August.  


Trans Women/Feminine

How I Gave Birth To Myself: This film is about finding one’s own identity in the art that they create. The film recognizes of the kind of freedom that can be found within an individuals mind, body and soul, regardless of their environment. (Filmmaker: Akiko Carver, 2014, TRT: 3 min)

In My Skin: Hate violence, betrayal by loved ones, employment discrimination. These are just some of the issues transgender women face. Often perceived as a bastion of tolerance, New York City can be a hostile place for trans women. Despite rampant stigma and discrimination, trans women survive in the city, forging community and sisterhood. This film tells the story of a theatre ensemble of nine trans women who come together to create a play based on their lives and then perform it at Joe’s Pub at the legendary Public Theatre in downtown Manhattan. (Filmmaker: Audacia Ray, 2014, TRT: 18 min).

Joyeux Anniversaire: This short film explores the second birth of Virginia, a 40-year-old trans woman, who purchases the set of high heels she has always wanted, shoes that help “grow her up.” (Filmmaker: Isabelle Gerbaud, 2013, TRT: 11 min). [Subtitled]

The Tablet: A short film about a transgender woman, Jayview, her partner and their relationship. Jayview, spends her time trying on clothing outfits in an effort to divert her partner’s attention away from his computer tablet. (Filmmaker: John Morgan, 2014, TRT: 14 min).

Trans Lives Matter! Justice for Islan Nettles: A powerful documentary of a community vigil for Islan Nettles, a trans woman of color. This vigil captures the love and support of a community brought together to sustain each other, despite the continued oppressions that occur against trans women of color daily. (Seyi Adebanjo, 2014, TRT: 7 min).


Trans Men/Masculine

Brace: This short film tackles issues of homophobic hate crime, and gang violence against LGBT youth, set against a backdrop of troubled young love. Brace is a visually stunning glimpse into London’s queer nightlife, and the perils that exist behind the bright lights. (Filmmakers: Jake Graf, Alicya Eyo, Sophy Holland, 2013, TRT: 25 min). 

A Self-Made Man: This documentary examines the complexities of gender identity through an intimate portrait of a transgender man and his work with trans youth. This film explores the poignant personal story and important life work of Tony Ferraiolo, a transgender youth advocate. We watch as Tony guide kids as young as 8, and their parents, through the confusing journey of defining themselves, when their physical appearance conflicts with how they view themselves. Even as he struggles to come to terms with his own life as a transgender person, he offers safety and assurance to families immersed in an often frightening transition. (Filmmaker: Lori Petchers, 2013, TRT: 56 min).

Shirts Vs. Skins: This film follows the life of Dale Michaels, an African American guy, who has a great job, great friends and an even greater secret. (Filmmaker: Teresa Dowell-Vest, 2013, TRT: 23 min). — This film will only premiere in select cities. 

Something In Between: There’s a barrier between Nino and the rest of the world. The environment sees her as a girl – something that she can’t feel. Nino ceases to try to be a girl, and starts living as a boy. Daily life suddenly starts to include hormonal injections, a breast binder and the fear-inducing prospect of surgery. In order to obtain transgender diagnosis and gender-reassignment treatment Nino must prove that he’s a masculine man. However, upon turning thirty, Nino feels that the right choice is somewhere in between. The confirmation of gender happens easily in the Magistrate, resulting in celebration, but Nino nevertheless has to answer questions regarding parenthood and physical identity. This documentary directed by Riikka Kaihovaara portrays Nino’s relationships with the people around him and the effects that gender contradictions have on Nino’s mental and overall well-being (Filmmaker: Rikka Kaihovaara, 2013, TRT: 44 min).

The Baseball Project: This film visualizes the immersion of a 26-year-old, queer trans man into a baseball clinic for 8-12 year olds. The film looks to redo a “male” childhood, while engaging of gender and consent as a construct. (Filmmaker: Oli Rodriguez, 2009, TRT: 6 min).

Zanderology: This film is an illustrated documentary about Zander Keig, a trans man who was born dead, paralyzed at age six, put in a mental hospital as a teen, was in a Mexican gang, joined the military, became an undercover drug officer, obtained three graduate degrees and is now a social worker for homeless veterans. Zanderology goes beyond telling people that it gets better and humorously explains how one person changed their life in almost every way possible. (Filmmaker: Megan Rohrer, 2013, TRT: TBA).

Gender Non-conforming/Queer

Crazy Hot: This short film takes a campy look at ups and downs of dating. It is a valentine to all those hopeless romantics that endure the lunatic antics of that special someone…if only for a song. (Filmmaker: Stephanie Saint Sanchez, 2014, 10 min).

Chuppan Chupai—Hide and Seek: This film shows the secret, yet open lives of a group of Pakistani sexual minorities, raising questions about transgender activism, religion, underground gay life, social acceptance, and collective familial customs of transgender people in urban Pakistan. The film follows the lives of: Neeli Rana, a transgender activist, whose courage and persistence pushed the apex court of Pakistan to grant basic civil rights in favor of “the third gender;” Kami, a fearless and flamboyant boy, who speaks out about his gay life; Waseem, a veteran dancing boy, who struggles with his sexuality, denouncing it due to familial pressure; and Jenny, a transgender woman who regrets her transition. (Filmmaker: Saadat Munir, 2013, TRT: 68 min) [Subtitled]

DOH! Oh Dear, A Female Tear: This film explores the issues of voice, gender and representation as Stephen traces his westernization, the discovery and silencing of his voice, and people’s reactions in Singapore and North America. Reflecting on the “unsettling” quality of his voice. (Filmmaker: Stephen Chen, 2013, TRT: 12 Min).

M.I.: A Different Kind of Girl: Laine Brown, a spirited and passionate male impersonator born on North Carolina’s rural coast, transforms by taping down her breasts, shaving her head, and studying the masculine performances of today’s most famous male entertainers—to become the incomparable NATION TYRE, show-stopper and ground-breaker for women in drag. As she pushes the bounds of female gender identity, is there room for Nation, a lone performer, to challenge the constraints at work n the African-American and LGBT community in pursuit of fame and visibility on the world stage? Features music and special commentary by KIN4LIFE. Introducing Laine Brown as Nation Tyre, The House of Tyre, Breyannah Allure, Paris Brooks, Image, First Lady, Hollywood and many more. (Filmmakers: Leslie Cunningham and Alana Jones, 2012, TRT: 53 min). 

The Heartbreak of VD: This experimental short is a reminiscent of a 1940’s ‘cautionary tale,’ based on vintage World War II venereal disease posters. (Filmmakers: The Play Babies, 2014, TRT: 13 min).

How To Be Beautiful: “How to Be Beautiful” was created as a commission for the 16mm John Waters- inspired film “Camp Randy.” The video is part dance, part drag performance. Borne of AP and Lazer’s collective genderfucking imagination, the content is fueled by impulse, unadulterated joy, and their pleasure centers. They don makeshift garments and messy makeup. Playground equipment, discarded sofa chairs, hot dogs, and junk radios serve outside their usual functions. The duo’s chemistry generates unreproducible moments of uncanny timing and hilarity. The tone is crass, yet heartfelt, and the Godley & Creme soundtrack casts a saccharine nostalgic glow. With a playful, rambunctious spirit, Lazer and AP use campy sexualized gestures, grandiose sass, and a hyperbolic sense of self to propel themselves into the sublime ridiculous. (Filmmakers: Lazer Goese & AP Looze, 2014, TRT: 4 min). [Experimental]


Stark Electric Jesus: In Dec 2013, the Supreme Court of Indian ruled to uphold IPC 377, a law that criminalizes sex between men or what is otherwise considered “unnatural offences.” This film explores the experiences of a gender non-conforming man, who finds himself in a cage of hallucination, fantasizing about the freedom and love he desires, but may never have due to the restrictions placed on him by this law. (Filmmaker: Hyash Tonmoy, 2014, TRT: 12 min). {Disclaimer: There are scenes of animal killings that are cultural in nature, but could be triggering for some.} [Experimental]

They Hate Me In Vain: LGBT Christians In Today’s Russia: The situation has become increasingly difficult since the passing of homophobic law 6.21 in 2013. This legislation outlaws the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors.” The law pretends to protect minors from moral corruption, but in reality it legitimizes violence against LGBT people, promotes bullying, stifles freedom of the press and deflects attention away from the country’s real social problems. This film deals with the current situation in Russia. However, its issues are common to all territories of the former Soviet Union. (Filmmaker: Yulia Matsiy, 2013, 67 min) [Subtitled] — This film will only premiere in select cities. 

When A Butch Dyke Dies: This short explores the question of what happens to a butch dykes body once they die. (Filmmaker: Krissy Mahan, 2013, TRT: 3 min).

“…until justice rolls”: In this short, Faggotgirl decides to meet her best-friend across town. However, they are thwarted in their attempts to use public transportation because of the inaccessibility of the system. (Krissy Mahan, 2014, TRT: 4 min).

Urban Drag: Five people explore their identities and define themselves through clothes and makeup. They perform in the urban context because that is the space where their sexual identities were created, then imposed. Now they are reinventing themselves. (Filmmaker: Teresa Sala, 2013, 8 min).


Fragile: Fragile is a subtle, moving film that explores the delicate issue of gender identity and bullying. It follows the story of a young boy, who through his struggle with his gender embarks on a difficult journey of self – discovery and contentment. Alex moves in permanently with his dad and is forced to suppress his true identity as he struggles to live up to the expectations set for him. He is bullied and beaten at school and is pushed to abide by his dad’s rules at home. Alex lacks the confidence to face his inner fears and most importantly his dad. He soon realizes he may have to choose between who he is and who his dad thinks he should be. After getting caught cross-dressing, Alex confronts his dad and faces unimaginable consequences.  He runs away from home and befriends a woman who restores his confidence. Alex eventually comes to terms with who he really is and returns home to face his dad. The film is told from the unique perspective of a fragile and innocent child to build a moving narrative. Fragile is a highly personal, passionately shot film that captures the surreal nature and struggle of gender identity. (Filmmakers: Juliet & Juliana Mango, 2014, TRT: 9 min).

I’m Just Anneke: This film is a portrait of a 12-year-old girl who loves ice hockey and has a loving, close-knit family. Anneke is also a hardcore tomboy and everybody she meets assumes she’s a boy. The onset of puberty has created an identity crisis for Anneke. Does she want to be a boy or a girl when she grows up, or something in between? To give her more time to make a decision, her doctor has put her on Lupron, a hormone blocker that temporarily delays the hormones of adolescence. Despite rejection by her friends and struggles with suicidal depression, Anneke is determined to be true to herself and maintain a gender fluid identity that matches what she feels on the inside. I’m Just Anneke takes us into the heart of a new generation of children who are intuitively questioning the binary gender paradigm. (Filmmaker: Jonathan Skurnik, 2010, TRT: 12 min)

"Oversimplified" Episode 1: Origins: Kelly, born and raised in New York City, met Caleb two years ago at a LGBTQ youth shelter. At first rivals, now they are best of friends. Ellen just arrived to the city eager to find community. Through encounters with getting "grilled," generalizations made about the LGBTQ community, and connecting to their history, they explore origins and explain why they are through with being oversimplified into a few (lgbt) letters when the story's much more complex. (Filmmakers: Global Action Project, 2014, TRT: 13 min).

The Nanny Project: This short investigates the importance of play, while examining the social expectations of gender. There is a performance interaction between a young boy princess and ze’s nanny/manny. Shot entirely on a low quality cell phone, the camera itself is a natural factor of play. (Fillmmaker: Oli Rodriguez, 2012, TRT: 7 min).

The Family Journey: Raising Gender Nonconforming Children: This film charts the emotional and intellectual transformations parents and siblings must make in order to successfully nurture their gender nonconforming family members. In frank, vulnerable interviews, famlies from all over the country speak out about the power of love and acceptance to help their unusual children thrive. They also come to realize that loving a gender nonconforming child, in the face of ignorance—and sometimes—hostility, has turned them into more compassionate human beings. (Filmmaker: Jonathan Sturnik, 2010, TRT: 15 min).

Turn: A PSA by SupaFriends 2013: A PSA in which one young person responds to the violence of homophobic and trans phobic language with words of their own. (Global Action Project, 2013, TRT: 2 min)

Transgender Parents: This film takes the conversation about parenting & transexuality to the next level. Some parents transitioned in the presence of their kids and some who transitioned prior to founding families – being out as trans and as parents, in ways that were not possible 20 years ago. (Filmmaker: Remy Huberdeau, 2014, TRT: 46 min). —- This film will only premiere in select cities. 


Jul 14

FIVE FABULOUS FALL FESTIVALS, are just around the corner!

Gender Reel's 2014 fall festivals will be here before you know it.

This year, Gender Reel will be hosting five annual festivals around the country: Durham, NC, Philadelphia, PA, Omaha, NE, Minneapolis, MN, and Long Beach, CA. Gender Reel Founder & Chair, Joe Ippolito commented by saying, "Due to the success of last year's four festivals, we were asked to add a fifth city to the roster."

Gender Reel, was started in 2009 by a group of Philadelphia trangender activists and organizers in response to the lack of transgender and gender non-conforming visibility at more mainstream art and film festivals. Since this time, the program has expanded in various ways in an effort to accomodate the needs of an ever evolving group of people interested in learning about and seeing images of trans and gender non-conforming people on film or stage. In addition to the festival portion of the program, Gender Reel, is now a production program, having released it's first documentary, "Growing Old Gracefully: The Transgender Experience," in February 2014. Other enhancements include: Filing to become a 501(c)3, collborating with the Tretter Collection archive at the University of Minnesota, filming it's next documentary, and laying the ground work to launch Gender Reel TV in 2016. 

Individuals interested in attending one of Gender Reel's annual festivals this fall can expect to see close to 30 amazing independently created narrative and documentary films about the gender non-conforming and trans community. Three films we are particularly excited to showcase include; "In My Skin," "A Self Made Man," and "M.I. A Different Kind of Girl." All three films explore the concept of gender identity from a very different lens.

"In My Skin," tells the story of a theatre ensemble of nine trans women who come together to create a play based on their lives and then perform it at Joe’s Pub at the legendary Public Theatre in downtown Manhattan; "A Self Made Man," explores the poignant personal story and important life work of Tony Ferraiolo, a transgender youth advocate; "M.I. A Different Kind of Girl," and explores the bounds of female gender identity, through the eyes of Nation, a male impersonator, who challenges the constraints at work in the African-American and LGBT community in pursuit of fame and visibility on the world stage. 

Individuals who wish to attend Gender Reel this fall, should consult our website for festival location, dates and times. Remember Gender Reel would not exist without the support of our community.

If you would like to sponsor the general festival fund and/or contribute specifically to an event near you, please consult our website for details concernings ways you can can do this. 


May 12

Gender Reel take 3 @ Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference, June 12!


Gender Reel's third annual PTHC film festival, Gender Reel presents…, will take place Saturday, June 14, 2014 from 2:20-3:40 PM at the Philadelphia Convention Center (Room 113A). This is Gender Reel's third consecutive year presenting at the conference. Gender Reel, will showcase four amazing films from its 2013 annual festival.

Films include:

Cover Up: What if you woke up one morning and found that glitter had spread across your face? What if you had to hide it? What if you were afraid? A group of queer youth made this video, “to call attention to the way people are marginalized even when no one is being explicit about it.

A Night in the Woods: This horror/fantasy short film explores the possibilities for alliance-building between and among communities of color, specifically between trans/genderqueer people and cis-non-transgender women.

Dating Sucks A Genderqueer Misadventure: The first episode in an animated documentary web-series about the successes, failures, and incredible confusion trying to date as a genderqueer/trans person.

When I Was A Boy I Was A Girl: Gogo is a transvestite in Belgrade. On her thirty-ninth birthday she decides to celebrate her coming-out on stage in front of a live audience, and so she tells them the story of her life: “When I was a boy, I was a girl."

In years past, Gender Reel, events at PTHC have typically attracted between 75 to 150 people and organizers expect a similar turnout this year. For additional information about "Gender Reel presents…." please consult PTHC's website. Inquiries about Gender Reel, in general, and/or ways to bring this amazing festival to a city, town or college/university near you please contact us @ or visit us at our PTHC vending table.

Mar 19

Gender Reel hits the road this April!

On April 18 & 19, 2014, Gender Reel will host a two day festival  at The University of Wisconsin Parkside Campus.

This event is the first of it's kind for Gender Reel. The festival has been working on ways to expand its offerings and bring more trans visibility to larger audiences of people, like those present at college and universities. The festival hopes to use the event at Parkside as a test run for trying out this new model of programming in the future. 

Gender Reel's Executive Chair, Joe Ippolito, has been working closely with Parkside Campus organizers to create a festival that is inclusive and representative of a range of trans experiences. "One of the new ways we hope to expand is to bring some of the films submitted to our yearly festival, which takes place in the fall of every year to colleges and universites across the country anytime throughout a calendar year, " Ippolito commented.   

Gender Reel and Parkside Organziers are working to finalize a schedule for the April event. Once this is complete, an official list of films, performance art, guest speakers, and an after party social mixer will be released to the public. 

Location of Event: The Unversity of Wisconsin–Parkside Campus, Student Cinema Center (900 Wood Rd, Kenosha, WI, 53141)

Dates & Times: Friday, 4/18 from 6 PM-9 PM; Saturday, 4/19 from 10 AM-6:30 PM. 



Jan 05

5 Films that Helped Enhance Mainstream Transgender Cinema!

Although Hollywood still has a long way to go when it comes to embracing transgender films and actors, there have been quite a few transgender movies that have managed to make it into the mainstream. While most of these transgender films aim to show what life is like for someone who is transgendered and society’s response to trans-sexuality, they tell diverse stories of transgender life. From a Midwestern father and husband who decides to live the rest of his life as a woman to a man who is brutalized after his sexual identity is discovered, these films have helped pave the way for transgender movies and other types of LGBT cinema. Check out these transgender films at your local Redbox and find mature LGBT films at Adam & Eve.

Produced by HBO Films in 2003, Normal tells the story of Roy Applewood, a married factory worker who, after 25 years of marriage, decides to live the rest of his life as a woman named Ruth. Jane Anderson wrote and directed the movie, which was adapted from her play “Looking for Normal,” was an official selection at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival and received great accolades and numerous award nominations. As one of the first major Hollywood films dealing with trans-sexuality within a typical American family, “Normal” sets out to show how trans-sexuality can affect everyone, including the average “normal” Midwestern family.

transamerciaTransamerica, staring Felicity Huffman won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal as Bree, a transsexual woman on the brink of sexual reassignment surgery whose life is thrown into turmoil after she receives a call from her long lost son in jail. Although the film highlights the final stages of Bree’s sexual journey to womanhood, the main focus of the movie centers on her relationship with her son and her estrangement from her family. Not only did Transamerica receive positive reviews from critics, it also garnered praise within mainstream media and was a box office success, raking in more than $15 million.

A Belgian drama directed by Alain Berliner, Ma Vie En Rose (My Life in Pink) tells the story of Ludovic—a young boy who insists to his family and community that he is really a girl. As one of the first “Hollywood” films to take on trans-sexuality, Ma Vie En Rose, explores trans-phobia as it shows Ludovic and his family struggling with his sexuality and the community’s response to his desire to be a girl. Although, Ma Vie En Rose, won a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, the film itself encountered a trans-phobic response from Hollywood, receiving an R rating by the Motion Picture Association of America although it has minimal sexual content, violence, and mild language.  

In Neil Jordan’s 1992 psychological thriller, The Crying Game, the topic of trans-sexuality is explored through a dramatic, romantic, and dark tale of secrets and lies. Although the main character’s sexuality is a major part of this movie, the film also focuses on race and politics. While this film was way ahead of its time, The Crying Game, received glowing reviews, as well as six Academy Award nominations, including a win for best original screenplay

Based on a true story, Boys Don’t Cry, details the brief life of, Brandon Teena, a troubled young person who was viciously murdered for hiding their sexual identity. At the time of its 1999 release, the film was viewed as controversial due to its horrifying images of Brandon’s brutal rape, beating, and murder. Besides its explicit depiction of Brandon’s death, the film is also uninhibited in its portrayal of Brandon’s lifestyle as a transgender male. Although the film did moderately well at box offices, Hilary Swank, who plays Brandon, won a Best Actress Oscar for her role.


Dec 24

Gender Reel turns 3 and is having a contest!

ist2_2986873_birthday_cake_with_lighted_candles_on_itOn December 28, 2013, Gender Reel celebrates it's 3rd birthday. 

To enter our contest, email Joe @ with a dynamic 500 word SA to this question. 

In what way have you personally contributed to enhancing the visibility of gender non-conforming/trans visibility over the past year? 

Winners will be subjectively based on how much time and effort they have spent engaging in these activities. 

Winner: Receives a Gender Reel T-shirt, free all-festival pass to one of our upcoming Gender Reel festivals, and a lunch date with Gender Reel Founder & Chair at the next Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference (provided you attend the event). If you do not attend the event, you will receive a $10 Starbucks giftcard.

Runner Up: Receives a Gender Reel T-shirt and free all-festival pass.


All contest participants will receive a free all-festival pass to one of our upcoming Gender Reel Festival. 

In your submission email, please include whether you want a male or female cut T-shirt, your size and a mailing address. Also, include the words "Birthday contest" in your email subject line. 

Also, please help us promote Gender Reel by forwarding this contest information onto others. 

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