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


‚ÄčGender 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.  

Jun 04

Gender Reel kicks it in 2013!

GRflyer_2013_4x1Gender Reel, is the fist and only film and performance art festival dedicated to enhancing the visibility of gender non-conforming and transgender people, experiences and images, to take place in four cities across the nation.

Gender Reel, was started by a group of Philadelphia based activists in 2010 and has since expanded to include three addtional cities across the U.S. The festival will be held Sept 19-21, 2013 in Portland, OR, Oakland, CA, Minneapolis, MN, and Philadelphia, PA.

Over the past two years, Gender Reel has featured over 50 films, performance, art and  photography pieces and 15 workshops, panel discussions and Q & A's. Organizers continue to work hard to create an inclusive, empowering and fun event for people of all ages, genders, orientations, cultures, identities and experiences.


2013 Festival highlights so far include, but are not limited to:

  • A tribute to filmmaker Christopher Lee, the first trans filmmaker to create, direct and produce erotica featuring trans men.
  • A performance piece and guest speaking engagement by JamieAnn Meyers (Minneapolis) and Fairy Butch Karlyn Issac Lotney (Oakland).
  • Premier of TroubleFilms newest trans inclusive porn, Trans Babes.
  • National performances by trans youth of color.
  • Over 20 independently created films by nationally recognized filmmakers.

On June 13, Gender Reel will be hosting a mini film festival at the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference. Four amazing films, Austin Unbound, Bye Bye Baby Box, The Difference and the Sisterhood,  from the 2012 festival will be featured.

In addition to hosting a mini film festival, Gender Reel will be vending at the conference. If you are attending PTHC and want to learn more about Gender Reel please swing by our vending table during the conference on Thursday, Friday or Saturday from 10 am-4 pm.  












Filmmakers and Performance Artists who are still interested in submitting work to Gender Reel can do so through our submission form located on the website. The submission process remains open unitl June 20, 2013. 

Other ways to get involved and/or support Gender Reel include: Volunteering at an event, becoming a sponsor and placing an ad on our website or program guide. Details regarding these options can also be clarified by consulting our website.  

Gender Reel is a festival for the community, by the community and we need your support to keep it going strong.


Apr 06

The 2013 Gender Reel Film and Performance Art Festival honors filmmaker Christopher Lee

Gender Reel, will feature two of Christopher Lee's films at the upcoming festival in September.

Known for his transgressive filmmaking, Christopher Lee (48) died by suicide on December 22, 2012, after suffering for years with bouts of depression and mental illness. 

Lee, served in 2002 as the first female-to-male grand marshal in the San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade. He is also remembered for his work with Tranny Fest, now called the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival, and the creation of a serious of groundbreaking films about the transgender experience.

Lee's first film, Christopher's Chronicles, explored the intricacies of his own transition, while his other films, Trappings of Transhood and Alley of the Tranny Boys, were fearless documentations of trans identity and sexuality. Alley of the Tranny Boys, released in 1998, is the first historically significant feature length film claiming an erotic and pornographic space for FTMs.

Lee devoted his energy to filmmaking and activism and will be remembered by many, including Gender Reel, as a unifying force in the trans community. 

Gender Reel will showcase Lee's films at all four of it's festivals this year. Individuals interested in catching these films in your town can do so by consulting Gender Reel's film schedules in August 2013. 


Apr 04

Gender Reel and the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference do it again!

trans-healthlogo_noyr1On June 14, 2013, Gender Reel, will showcase four amazing films from it's previous years event at the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference. PTHC is entering it's 12th year and is known to be the largest transgender conference in the country, drawing over 2500 people from all parts of the world to the event.   

According to Gender Reel Founder and Chair, Joe Ippolito, the goal of having a mini film festival at the conference is to expose the community to the amazing films Gender Reel has to offer.  "We held our first mini fest at the conference in 2012 and the turnout was very successfull," reports Ippolito.  

The mini film festival is being held Friday, June 14, 2013 from 5:40 pm to 7:00 pm and will feature the four following films: 

Austin Unbound: From the age of three, Austin knew that his female anatomy did not fit him. In middle school, he changed his name and began to dress as a boy. His family thought it was a phase, but he persisted. Now he will get surgery so he can breathe freely and finally, swim in public. Austin Unbound is the first documentary about a man who is deaf and trans.

A Difference: A Difference is a short non-fiction video that examines the intersectionalities between gender transition and racial difference. Transmen of color as well as white transmen are interviewed in this mix of answers to ’what does it mean to transition from being (read as) a white women to being a white man as vs transitioning from being (read as) a woman of color to being a man of color? 

Sisterhood: This short documentary examines the lives of a group of Latino trans women who work at a beauty salon in Bronx, New York. 

Bye Bye Babybox: This film was originally conceived as the promo video for a fundraiser that would raise money to assist a Houston-area FTM in getting a hysterectomy. The concept was simple, a transguy has a dream (or maybe it’s a nightmare) about being pregnant. Presented humorously through sight gags, a quirky doctor, and dreamlike randomness the film brings humor to what would be a potentially frightening and uncomfortable situation for some transguys

Gender Reel, is the only national film and performance art festival dedicated to the gender non-conforming and transgender community, being hosted in four cities around the country: Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Oakland and Portland, September 19-21, 2013.  

Individuals interested in learning more about Gender Reel, the submission process and/or ways they can bring the festival to their city can do so in person during the conference by stopping by our vending table and talking to one of our amazing organizers or volunteers. 

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