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 @ genderreelfest@gmail.com

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 @ genderreelfest@gmail.com. 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 @ genderreelfest@gmail.com 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 @ genderreelfest@gmail.com 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. 

Sep 07

Gender Reel 2013, the countdown begins!

Christian Lovehall


Gender Reel, the nations only coast-to-coast film and performance art festival dedicated to enhancing the visibility of gender non-conforming and transgender people, images and experiences, is being held in four cities around the United States; Oakland, CA, Portland, OR, Minneapolis, MN, and it's home down of Philadephia, PA.

This years festival will showcase 21 amazing films, various city specific performance art peices, numerous Q&A's with filmmakers, and panel discussions about the importance of Gnc&T visibility in film and art. 2013 festival highlights include, but are not limited to: A tribute to filmmaker, Christopher Lee. Lee, who killed himself in December 2012, after struggling with depression for years, revolutionalized the porn industry in the mid-1990's when he created the first porn showcasing the trans male experience.

Alley Of The Tranny Boy


This year, Gender Reel will pay tribute to Lee, by showing his groundbreaking 1998 film, "Alley Of The Tranny Boys," along with the Countney Troubles newest empowerment porn about trans women, "Trans Grrrls: Revolution Trans Porn Style Now." Panel discussions exploring the evolution of trans people in porn with follow the screening of both films. 

Additional naitonal highlights are: A 15 minute short by trans man Christian Lovehall entitled, "HISphoria: TRANS, MALE & DYSPHORIC," a film highlighting Christians personal experience of living in a body that does not reflect how he feels about himself; four dynamic films about trans women living in coutries across the globe; the primier of a 15 minute trailer entitled, "Riot Grrrl: The Self-told narrative," which tells the story of the counter culture, feminist, punk rock movement that influced girls to become GRRRLS; and the screening of, "Dating Sucks: A Genderqueers Misadventure," a short exploring the pleasures and hardships of dating as a Gender Queer. 



Venus Demars


City specific features include a musical performances by Venus Demars (Minneapolis) and Jaya Meadows (Philadelphia), readings and book signings with nationally recognized authors Ryan Sallans (Minneapolis) and Everett Maroon (Portland), and special guests Amanda Moore (Oakland) and Jayden H.C. Sampson (Philadelphia). 

Some of our 2013 fiscal and non-fiscal sponsors include the Global Action Project (NYC), Metropolitan State University (Minneapolis), Troublefilms (Oakland), Passionale (Philadelphia). 

Gender Reel, is a festival by the community for the community. We are committed to providing a space that is accessible and diverse. Individuals interested in attending, Gender Reel, should consult our website for information about venue locations, ticket prices and city-specific film and performance art schedules. Questions concerning any of our four festivals, volunteer opportunities and ways to bring Gender Reel to a city near you in 2014 should be directed to Joe @ genderreelfest@gmail.com. 

Jun 27

In Trouble with Courtney!


Gender Reel's Founder & Chair, Joe Ippolito, had the pleasure of interviewing one of queer porn's most notorious diva's, Courtney Trouble. Courtney, who started creating queer porn in 2002, did so in response to the lack of queer representation in more mainstream porn. At the time, her site IndiePornRevolution.com (then called NoFauxxx), to her surprise, soured in popularity, which immediately inspired her get even more involved in the industry.


Joe: What inspired you to start making queer porn, as opposed to more mainstream porn?

Courtney: I was never interested in making porn to make a bunch of money the way other people are drawn to the industry. I wanted to make a change in the world. I am not a mainstream person. I have tried to make it work with mainstream appeal but I always somehow mess it up!! My porn is queer and kinky and radical and most people totally love it once they find it!

Joe: In the mid 2000's, as a result of the Internet and the arrival of free YouTube style porn, the mainstream porn industry started to loose momentum, as well as lots of money. In what ways, did this shift impact or not the queer porn industry?

Courtney: You could call it a blessing in disguise, I suppose. Mainstream porn started to realize that people would no longer pay for the cookie-cutter porn they can find on tube sites, and the genres that are now popular (fan fiction, star-powered features, one-of-a-kind rough sex vignettes, creative directors, etc) are things that people are willing to pay for, because they are valuable beyond  a wanking porn collection. They are also harder to torrent because they are such specific things, instantly recognizable by the people paid to find their company's porn on torrent. These days, your porn has to be special. You have to find your audience and speak right to them and their desires with your work. For me, the tube site format is actually a really inspiring tool for change. I run a tube site called QueerPornTube.Com that is entirely anti-piracy, but full of thousands of videos submitted by queer people from all over the world – home made masturbation videos made by trans people, real couples in their homes, art projects, porn projects by film makers, trailers for independently released films, exclusive content – all made by queer people representing themselves an their own sexualities and desires.

Joe: In what way, has the Internet helped or hindered the queer porn industry?

Courtney: I started my porn because of the internet. My original audience evolved from a body-positive bulletin board I ran with some friends who kept posting naked pics of themselves. I took that online community to the next level. The internet brings people with similar interests together. It can bring marginalized communities, such as queer people, together to form a larger presence in society – and also provide support for those who feel isolated. Queer porn is pretty much just an explicit version of that community building. I'm just not sure how it would exist without the internet.

Joe: Who is your porn star role model and why?

Courtney: Old and new, I do love a lot of people, but I can't say I've ever had a role model in this industry. Nobody does things the way I would do them. Nobody's paved my path for me, not the direction I'm going anyways. I owe a lot to the founding mothers of feminist porn (Annie, Scarlet, Candida, Carol, Nina – I love you). I owe a lot to Eon McKai for making alt porn with punk girls and punk sex portrayed on film. I am constantly inspired by Tristan Taormino and all of her work educating people on how to watch porn, how to support ethical porn, and also how to work this business ethically. And as for porn stars, there are quite a few that I've worked with that consistently inspire, delight, educate, and arouse me. Here's an abridged list: Jiz Lee, Billy Castro, Arabelle Raphael, James Darling, April Flores, Papi Coxxx, Dylan Ryan, Power Jones, Tobi Hill-Meyer… and a few mainstream stars I really look up to? Asa Akira, Kimberly Kane, Kenni Styles, Wolf Hudson, Ela Darling, Nikkie Hearts, Aiden Starr, and Sinn Sage are LA porn stars that keep it fucking real.

Joe: TROUBLEfilms was established in 2011, since this time, how many films have been produced?

Courtney: TROUBLEfilms, my production house, has at the time of this interview only 4 printed DVDs. However, by January, there will be 3 more.

Joe: If you had to pick, which TROUBLEFilms porn is your favorite and why?

Courtney: I am going to say the very first one, Live Sex Show, because it's the film that inspired me to make my own production house – one that doesn't censor itself for ratings or retail sales, one that doesn't pigeonhole or marginalise it's films or it's stars for the sake of niche marketing, one that treats it's performers with utmost respect, gives them the freedom of self-representation and authentic performance, and one that puts my porn on the map once and for all – the way it should be seen.

Joe: When it comes to trans and/or gender non-conforming people, what have you done as a director to ensure TROUBLEfilms porn is reflective of this experience in an embracing and genuine way?

Courtney: I am one of the only porn directors that creates a set and a scene around my performers instead of placing them into my own constructs. When you do that, you are placing more importance on authentic representation of self and of desire than you are on the marketability or popularity of the scene. My films are inspired by running themes and ideas in the work I'm already producing – instead of me saying, "Hey, I'm going to cast you in this movie about trans girls getting fisted by cis girls" I say, "wow, I sure have shot a lot of trans girls getting fisted by cis girls lately – maybe I should turn it into a movie."  Do you see how that works? I let my performers drive my projects, they tell me what they want. I make it work. They have sex, I shoot it. By me allowing sex to happen in an organic way that pleasurable to all the performers involved, I get what I need in the end – great energy, great chemistry, real orgasms, and something I can sell to my audience, which is well trained enough at this point to embrace just about anything I make. I don't worry about how I'm going to market something before I shoot it. I'm not concerned with the lowest common denominator and how they find thier porn – I'm never going to label my work with derogatory terms to get customers.

Joe: What amazing projects should your viewers watch out for in the coming months?

Courtney: The rest of this year is going to be incredible for TROUBLEfilms – it's ALL about the girls. HARD FEMME drops on July 22nd – its the sequel to the Feminist Porn Award's 2013 winner of Hottest Dyke Film – Lesbian Curves! This one's a collection of super sexy, rough lesbian sex and BDSM with femmes all along the size spectrum – it's plush, lush, pretty, and really really kinky. Then this fall, Revolution Trans Grrrl Style Now comes out – Im shooting the finale scene for it this week at the SF Dyke March! That films all about trans girls and how they like to fuck. It's punk rock, alternative trans porn that I think will turn a lot of heads and be a REALLY fun movie to show around the world at film festivals… including it's premiere at Gender Reel! My finale this year will be a 4-girl orgy I shot with no cuts/editing, scripting, or instructions – it's just wall to wall sex starring 4 of my favorite porn stars, that one's called GIRL PILE!

Joe: Tell me about Queer Porn TV and it's connection to TROUBLEfilms?

Courtney: TROUBLEfilms doesn't just make DVDs, it's also a thriving web network of queer and indie porn sites, with QueerPorn.TV being the crowning glory of the company. QPTV is a dynamic porn project that is obbsessed with the celebrity of the Queer Porn Star. We work with simply the best, most enigmatic, creative performers in the scene and pit them together in riviting,  boundary-pushing, genre-busting sex scenes. We also interview each and every one of them on thier sexuality, what makes them queer, what they love about porn, how they like to fuck. These interviews can be found for free here: http://queerporn.tv/wp/video-interviews

Courtney's latest porn, Revolution Trans Grrrl Style Now, will be screened at Gender Reel in September 2013. The film will be showcased at all four Gender Reel festivals, but you can only catch a Q&A with Courtney at the Oakland based event on Sept 20th, following the screening.  

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