Tag Archives: lgbt

Growing Up Coy

Growing Up Coy

A film by Eric Juhola
82 minutes, color, USA, 2015
DVD includes: Closed Captions, Chapter Markers, Deleted Scenes

File under: All Films, Civil Rights, Health, Homepage, International Law, Juvenile Justice, LGBT Studies, New Release, Women Studies

Synopsis

In a highly conservative Colorado town, a pink-loving, pig-tailed six-year-old girl named Coy becomes the unlikely poster child for transgender rights, in a 2013 landmark case that is reverberating in state courts across the country.  Although she was born as a boy in a set of triplets, Coy’s gender identity was evident even as a toddler, leading her parents, Kathryn and Jeremy, to accept her early on as the girl she wished to be. At first their school is very supportive, but midway through Coy’s first-grade year, they ban her from using the girls’ bathroom. Infuriated and fearing for their child’s safety, Kathryn and Jeremy decide to fight the school’s decision (which defies Colorado’s anti-discrimination law), despite the further attention they know it will draw to Coy’s gender status. They engage the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, led by civil rights attorney Michael D. Silverman, who take their case, and the international media firestorm it generates is fast and often extremely furious. For a family with five children under the age of nine—including the triplets, a very young child, and a daughter with severe cerebral palsy—the strain is enormous. Throughout Eric Juhola’s intimate documentary, we feel the fraught tension between Kathryn and Jeremy’s need to protect their privacy and their child’s innocence and the need to fight for Coy’s rights—as well as the rights of the “thousands of Coys out there.” Joanne Parsont, Framline

Reviews

***1/2. A sobering documentary about the challenges and rewards involved in the transgender struggle for equal rights, this is highly recommended. Video Librarian
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” This enlightening program does a good job showing the far- reaching effects of difficult parental decisions, underscoring the need for support and opening up discussions about how far parents should go to fight for the rights of their children. ” Booklist
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 “The film could not be timelier, with transgender issues at the fore…” Cara Buckley, New York Times
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“…beyond becoming an important historical document, the film provides unique insight into what anyone who dares to stand up for their rights must endure when their fight becomes public”
Stephen Saito, The Moveable Feast

“A sympathetic, of-the-moment doc…” The Hollywood Reporter

“…urgent viewing…more than a simple advocacy film…”
Nigel Smith, The Guardian

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More Reviews Broken Heart Land

More Reviews – Broken Heart Land

“The Stulbergs’ film gets up close and personal with the Harrington family as well as their supporters and detractors, documenting the impact a young man’s death has on an entire community.” Gay City News, New York

“Intimate and galvanizing, ‘Broken Heart Land’ is among the best LGBT docs of the year.” Nonfics, Daniel Walber

“’Broken Heart Land’ is a powerful, unexpectedly political, and deeply sad documentary. At its center lies a teenager who could have lived a long, fulfilling life, given the support he deserved all along.” Towleroad

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Broken Heart Land

Broken Heart Land

A film by Jeremy Stulberg and Randy Stulberg
81 minutes, color, USA, 2014
DVD includes: Closed Captions, Chapter Markers, Bonus Scenes

File under: All Films, Civil Rights, Health, HIV/AIDS, Home Video, Homepage, LGBT Studies, New Release

Synopsis

When Zack Harrington, a gay teen from Norman, Oklahoma commits suicide after attending a city council meeting bitterly divided over LBGTQ rights, his conservative family learns how the searing pain of prejudice and misinformation led their son to hide his HIV positive status and forgo treatment. After a divisive political campaign pits his mother, Nancy, against one of the most outspoken anti-gay citizens, her family shares her transformation from private citizens to public advocates for Zack’s legacy.

Reviews

“A compelling new documentary that brings a platform to an important and heartbreaking story, all taking  place in the American heartland.”  James Nichols, The Huffington Post

“It’s easy to take for granted the progress of LGBT rights in America until you see a documentary like ‘Broken Heart Land.’ Haunting.” David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle

“One of the top 10 Docs at Frameline. A poignant and inspiring documentary.” Gary Kramer, San Francisco Bay Times

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More Reviews The Odds of Recovery

More Reviews – The Odds of Recovery

“Over the years, Friedrich has blazed a path for a different kind of filmmaking—and a different kind of filmgoing experience. Lyrical, poetic, passionate and innovative, Friedrich’s films are among the most rewarding cinematic delicacies you’ll ever find.”Jenni Olson, Bay Area Reporter

“…the deft interplay of voices, words and images creates a steady accretion of metaphors and insights that are sharp and multilayered. While Friedrich effectively critiques Western medicine and demonstrates exhilarating filmmaking skills, its true achievement is as self-portraiture, boldly revealing a woman in all her difficult, naked complexity.” Holly Willis, LA Weekly

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More Reviews Riot Acts

More Reviews – Riot Acts

“‘Riot Acts’ beautifully traces the meaning of ‘transition’ in terms of bodies, music, voice, harmony, humor and grace. This is a (literally) moving account of the presence and impact of gender variant musicians upon a variety of music scenes and genres and it exposes audiences both to the gendering of music but also to the musicality of gender. A must see film!”Jack Halberstam, author of Female Masculinity and In a Queer Time and Place. USC

“As the corporate music business continues its long slow slide toward cultural oblivion, it’s refreshing to know that the DIY ethic continues to flourish among trans artists in local clubs, cabarets, and dance halls. This fascinating and touching film introduces the viewer to a aspect of the music scene that they may not have previously encountered, or at least known that they have encountered, partly because its defining features are fluid and not always evident to an audience. Riot Acts smartly mixes analysis of transgender politics with an eclectic array of fantastic music!” Tom Shevory, Professor of Politics, Ithaca College, Author of Notorious HIV: The Media Spectacle of Nushawn William

“At a time when even Hollywood A-listers seem to want a don a wig and belt out a number, Madsen Minax has brought us the real story behind today’s trans and genderqueer musicians. With candid interviews and explosive performance footage, ‘Riot Acts’ is engrossing from start to finish. If all the world’s a stage, these artists are truly making it their own.” Tavia Nyong’o, Professor, NYU Tisch School for the Arts

“Finally, a documentary about transgender people that highlights their talents, interests, and spirit, rather than focusing on them solely as political beings. This gender bending rock and roll fusion not only entertains, but also gives a backstage glimpse into the artistic and personal lives of working musicians who are trailblazers in their own right. I challenge anyone to watch this film and not walk away with at least one new favorite band.” Tracy Nectoux, Editor, SmilePolitely.com, Reviews Editor for the GLBT Round Table newsletter of the American Library Association; librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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More Reviews She’s A Boy I Knew

More Reviews – She’s A Boy I Knew

“Rarely does a film live up to its promotional tagline. She’s a Boy I Knew guarantees to be “…the most compelling DIY, gender bending, feel good film directed by a transsexual you’ve seen all year!” And in this case, I can’t agree more.”Sarah Caufield, CJSF Radio

“A personal story of transexuality, becomes a tribute to family and in the truest sense, unconditional love.”Bethina Abrahams, SUITE101.com

“Unique among the slew of documentaries on changing one’s gender, this film blends personal interviews with gorgeous animation, offering a rich and complex portrait of the effects transitioning has not just on the individual, but those around her.”<strong>Katharine Setzer, image+nation Film Festival

“I loved ‘She’s a Boy I Knew’ – made with loving care, it dares to reveal an inner journey without restraint. Beautifully executed, profoundly insightful. I found myself appreciating it as a mother, a friend, a sister and a filmmaker.”Anne Wheeler, Better Than Chocolate

“If you want to see genders, identities and sexualities with an entirely new set of eyes, then She’s a Boy I Knew is absolutely mandatory viewing. A breakthrough documentary of the transgender movement, She’s a Boy I Knew goes where no film on this topic has dared to go before: the complex politics and emotions of the intricate, delicate web of family, friends, lovers and community. It’s an eye-opening, engrossing odyssey through battles with the health care system, the physical challenges of surgeries, and the psychological pain of reclaiming one’s self and one’s family. Adroit, sharp, and agile in its hybrid cinematic style, She’s a Boy I Knew invites us into not only a life in transition but into activism. It’s a family melodrama in the best and most political sense of the genre: it’s insistent that the intense contradictions between public and private, family and self, biological gender and sexual identities propel out into a larger world of connecting with others to move onwards to new lives and renewed depths!”Patricia R. Zimmermann, author, States of Emergency: Documentaries, Wars, Democracies and Reel Families: A Social History of Amateur Film, and coeditor of Mining the Home Movie

“With wit, intelligence, and emotional grace, She’s a Boy I Once Knew traces the journey of film-maker Gwen Haworth as she comes out to her family as transgender and transitions from loving husband and only son Steven into Gwen. This is a moving story of self-discovery and individual becoming. But it is also far more than that. Haworth joins autobiographical narrative and home movies from childhood to interviews with friends and family. These creative juxtapositions open the film up beyond an individual story of change. We learn how Steven’s transition into Gwen effects profound and sometimes painful transformations for the film-maker’s circle of intimate others (Steven’s wife, father, mother, two sisters, and best friend), who mourn Steven even as they lovingly welcome Gwen. One of the real strengths of She’s a Boy I Once Knew is its ability not to judge any of its interview subjects. Another is its richly layered depiction of the social matrix within which gendered being unfolds, changes, becomes.”Ann Pellegrini, Director, Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, New York University

“She’s a Boy I Knew (Outcast Films): Gwen Haworth’s autobiographical documentary is one of the most tender, witty, forthright and accomplished films to portray the experiences of a trans lesbian. Hailing from Vancouver, Canada, film school grad Haworth offers her life as a complex intertext, Sandy Stone-style. Praxis-savvy, she follows Stone’s imperative to fellow trans people to “take responsibility for all their history” and to “write oneself into the discourse by which one has been written.” The film draws from a deep well of family home movies, photographs, sound recordings, quirky animated clips, personal voiceover and—most effectively—interviews with the family members and friends who supported Gwen through her transition from hetero man to sexy dyke. Never didactic, sensationalistic, or simplistic, Haworth carefully places her self-narrated story of wanting to change her gender identity from the age of 4 (and swallowing this feeling long into adulthood), alongside the expressions of hurt, misunderstanding, anger, insight and pure love that her loved ones expose to the camera. Most touching and emotionally difficult are the segments with Haworth’s ex-wife, Malgosia, who stayed with Gwen for years after the transition yet realized she was no longer sexually attracted to her. We experience Gwen’s utter heartbreak during their divorce. Importantly, the film makes clear the distinctions between sexuality and gender identity. In this case, Gwen remains as hot for women as Steven was. She also realizes she’s not comfortable living as a traditional girly girl. She identifies more with queer feminist subculture and comes into her own as a punk-inspired lesbian who occasionally throws on army boots. Watching this charming film feels like befriending someone you really want to know and being intimately welcomed into her life—her whole life.”
Candace Moore, Curve

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