A Cold and Rainy Day but Trans Film Screening continued

It was a stormy and rainy night for the screening at the Trans Film Screening Series at University of Toronto. Oh Toronto Weather.

Here are some pics from the Q&A after the screening. I was so honoured to have Ashai co-facilitate, and to have my partner Jin support me on this cold rainy night.


Speaking on the Edge of Silence

And I am touched by a note and powerful reflection shared by an artist, survivor and participant in Berlin’s minicutiepoc Film Fest- whose words and connections are very uplifting. Thank You, Charlie, for letting me share:

Speaking on the Edge of Silence

By Charlie Haddad

The response to the demand not heard is the accent of the reply not spoken. I know this now. My body has been the furnishing of psychiatric rooms while my demands have remained unheard. I have stung with my voice those practitioners of difference but heard only the accent of their unspoken reply. Their silence is the sound of a secret promising to be remembered.

So now I am speaking on the precipice of survival. And here I am speaking about the affliction of living a silence that has no name. I am speaking about that silence whose name must not be kept secret. I am speaking, now, to the silence that is the name of this secret.

I am speaking as a working-class person. I am speaking as a psychiatric survivor of colour. I am speaking as queer and trans person. And I am speaking under the weight of whose meaning understands that I am never speaking; that I was never meant to speak. So hear me, and not only my words, for they are merely the arrogated artefacts of a language I was never meant to demand. Instead, hear the name of my silence, for it is this eruptive constancy that will drown you.

And speaking with me, from the crucibles of a kindling resistance, is A. K. Prince’s film Suicide Note. It is speaking, I hear, to the tyrannies of silence, with a voice that has demanded its own survival.

Summer Reflections and Gearing Up for Fall Screenings

As I gear up for my upcoming screening Systems of Survival film screening, I am reflecting all the past processes and happenings that brought me here.

It has been an endless process. So let’s talk about the past summer alone, which consisted of a couple of small and cozy screenings in Toronto and Peterborough.

Shedding+Regenerating was filled with free delicious food in observation of the spiritual practice of langar in Sikhism. It felt so important to nourish art with nutritional food – that often gets lost in the process of making and sharing art. And in a film about emotional well being, migration journeys and memories, food is perhaps of even greater significance. The event featured dal, roti, sarson da saag – some of the gem dishes of Punjab, and made possible through the wonderful support and organizing of annu saini who also exhibited two of her recently completely conceptual art pieces. It was also a pleasure to connect with Rose and Nick from LAL who helped host the event.

Architecture of Mad at Mad Pride in Toronto was a last minute confirmation. Though I wasn’t able to make it to my film screening, I participated in the inspiring creative writing workshop and discussion group.

And I returned twice in the summer to Peterborough – a strange place where I have worked more than lived. Once for a film screening and artist talk hosted by Community and Race Relations Committee of Peterborough as part of South/Asian Month. And the second time, towards the end of summer, for a rare weekend getaway with close friends, where I returned to Otonabee River (see Interactive for locational anecdotes).

At the heart of all these events, I am reminded… art doesn’t exist outside of communities, real spaces and change-making. Here is some feedback received from Peterborough:

Suicide Note weaves an auditory and visual narrative by threading together seemingly divergent strands of pace, perception and sound into a powerful story where the starkness produced by the very absence of words enhances the magnificent presence and expressions of the protagonist. By centering on silenced subjects, representations of voicelessness burst through their transformation into expressions of empowerment, movement through cycles, and the power of memory for healing. ~ karolyn givogue

Radio Interview on Frequency Feminisms

Am feeling empowered and inspired by my recent interview on radio show Frequency Feminisms. It is making me want to do radio again. Here is the radio archive in case you missed me last Saturday. I am on during the first half, and Erin and Krysta from the Native Youth Sexual Health are on for the second portion.

The radio show runs every Saturday by a feminist collective from 4 to 6pm, so be sure to catch them regularly at http://www.radioregent.com

Radio Show: Frequency Feminisms

Radio Station: Radio Regent

Date: Saturday, 19 May 2012

Host: annu saini

Guests: A. K. Prince, Erin Konsmo, Krysta Williams

First Half Topics: Discussion of Mental Health and Suicide; Process of Making Suicide Note Artwork; Critiques of It Gets Better project; Critiques of Arts and Youth Programming; Food and Art; Punjab; Sikhism; Langar

This is a compressed mp3 (50MB). If you would like high-quality mp3 for any reason, please get in touch.

Raju Rage:

Some words from Misster Raju Rage – Programmer and Coordinator of the London Transgender Film Festival 2008 and Mini CuTiepoc Film Festival Berlin:

Suicide Note is a complex visual and audio poem of red balloons and little blue birds that fly, with a haunting soundtrack, clever artful cinematography and thought provoking narratives that gives you a refreshing insight into the film’s subject of suicide. This film takes you on a journey across the world through depression, performative gender exploration, reclamation and imagination. Packed with sensory stimulation, it truly deserves to be watched by many!

Suicide Note screens at Berlin’s trans and queer film festival

It was an honour to have my whole work screened at Berlin’s minicutiepoc film fest. Living-room festivals are incredible – all the joys of community-building. Thanks to A and R for putting together this organic film festival. Plus, the vegetarian feast and food made everything even yummier and complete.

I received questions eventhough had no idea there was going to be a Q&A afterwards. It is always exciting to have an engaged and contemplative audience. The feedback and thoughts were really touching.


final fragment finally!

So, it took a long time to complete the final fragment – Toronto Intermission. It was a lot more elaborate project than the previous two pieces – with fast paced editing and many scenes happening at the same time and cross-cutting into each other. Thanks to my sound editor – Konrad – who took the tedious task of making the sound flow.

It is always difficult with the last pieces and bits. I feel I can always do more or improve on something. At the same time, I think I think I had closure in terms of its substance in August when I completed the picture editing. Some of the lighting and colours are still off. But after a long delay of waiting to show it, I screened it to the long awaiting audience who have been waiting to find out how it all ends, and how it all begins. Wait! What does that mean? (i used the word wait a billion times in this paragraph)

I don’t know if the final fragment will give answers you might be looking for. But it is finished.

Now I have to put the three pieces together into a single video file.

Like my previous two screenings, it was fun to show the audience once again how to make an origami boat. Everybody is always so engaged and enthusiastic. I would have very much like to teach how to make an origami bird, but folding steps for the crane are too complex. So instead, an origami boat is an easier example.

Ecstatic Colour Me Dragg at Buddies Theatre

The crowd was ecstatic. A couple of bloopers and wardrobe malfunction. Though I guess usually it is just the artist most aware of it.

Now onto the complicated performance editing.

You can check out photos of Colour Me Dragg: Silence This by a professional photographer Tania here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/taniaa/sets/72157624373299650/with/4755791142/

My video is here:

Final shoot tomorrow with live stage performance

The final scene will be shot tomorrow. The scene is a stage performance. So it is going to be a live film shoot of an actual stage performance at Colour Me Dragg. It is going to my first solo dance on stage.

David and I plan to do a couple of takes of the rehearsal so we have some backup footage to play with. And then hopefully, if all goes well with the real crowd, lighting, and audience interaction, I can pull off the show and shoot.

Now onto the last bits: costume design. I am painting silver and glitter onto plain red $5 pants to make it performance worthy, as in, shiny. And weaving decorations and sequins onto my fishnet shirt. Costumes! – the forgotten side of performances and videos.

2nd fragment revealed

The screening of the 2nd fragment went well. People loved the bicycle shots and the exploding sounds and theme of waters.

Thank you to everyone who came out to the private screening and reception. It does work well to have it on Friday early evening, so I am glad I changed it from its original date. And amazingly, the sun was still shining by the end of it.

Now on to the final fragment. Some pics from the event: