Tag: film

Fired Mandalorian star Gina Carano teams up Ben Shapiro for film project

Headshots of Gina Carano and Ben Shapiro

Gina Carano (L) and Ben Shapiro. (Getty)

Gina Carano, who played combative shock trooper Cara Dune on The Mandalorian, is attempting to bounce back by… working with right-wing commentator Ben Shapiro.

Carano, a 38-year-old actor and mixed martial artist, fuelled months-long fan backlash with her incendiary social media presence throughout her stint on the Disney+ show.

One included putting “boop/bop/beep” as her Twitter pronouns – an act that users felt belittered trans rights, which she sought to deny.

But for Lucasfilm, the production company behind the Star Wars show, the flashpoint came during a rant where Carano appeared to compare being a Republican to being Jewish during the Holocaust. She was later fired and ditched by her agency as a result.

On Friday (12 February), Carano told Deadline that after being ousted from the series she is now set to collaborate with the conservative website The Daily Wire in an open challenge against what Shapiro called the “Hollywood left”.

Gina Carano: ‘The Daily Wire is helping make one of my dreams come true’

The Daily Wire is helping make one of my dreams — to develop and produce my own film — come true,” Carano said in a statement to the outlet.

“I cried out and my prayer was answered. I am sending out a direct message of hope to everyone living in fear of cancellation by the totalitarian mob.

“I have only just begun using my voice which is now freer than ever before, and I hope it inspires others to do the same. They can’t cancel us if we don’t let them.”

The film will be released exclusively on The Daily Wire as part of its collaboration with Bone Tomahawk producer Dallas Sonnier.

Gina Carano as Cara Dune in The Mandalorian in a body-armour style outfit, hiding behind a barrell
Gina Carano, The Mandalorian’s Cara Dune, was accused of mocking trans people. (Disney)

Shapiro, who once threw a tantrum over Harry Styles wearing a dress, said: “We could not be more excited to be working with Gina Carano, an incredible talent dumped by Disney and Lucasfilm for offending the authoritarian Hollywood Left.”

Carano was turfed by Lucasfilm after uploading a now-deleted post shared to her Instagram Story which read: “Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbours…even by children.

“Because history is edited, most people today don’t realise that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbours hate them simply for being Jews.

“How is that any different from hating someone for their political views.”

A representative of Lucasfilm announcing her termination said: “Her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.”

Moving gay film becomes rare hit in China

A photo of a man holding a book to his face which reads: 'Wish LGBT public welfare no longer difficult'

The poster for Forbidden Love in Heaven. (Ran Yinxiao_

A simple film about a gay couple who adopt a homeless child, Forbidden Love in Heaven has become something almost unthinkable for LGBT+ filmmakers and moviegoers in China: a hit.

In a nation where acceptance of same-sex couples is progressing at a less-than-glacial rate, Chinese filmmakers have long been censored and nettled by authorities’ inability to acknowledge that LGBT+ people even exist.

But 19-year-old filmmaker Ran Yinxiao sought to challenge the industry with his film, Forbidden Love in Heaven, released on local streaming platforms in July 2020.

It was a “bold attempt to explore the difficulties that sexual minorities face in starting a family”, Yinxiao told South China Morning Post.

“My thinking was that if three different people without any blood ties could start a family, then this must be the world’s strongest family,” he said.

Indeed, the film presented a fresh test for media regulators, where the broadcasting of “vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content” is banned by the National Radio and Television Administration.

The agency’s regulations have forced many moviemakers to veil queer stories in subtext or cut and censor their films to get them aired – Yinxiao managed to drop the trailer for his film only after making it more “ambiguous”, he said.

“I think to myself, why do moviemakers exist?” Yinxiao added.

“Our camera lens is our weapon. We enlarge the aperture to allow more light to shine on the places of the world that aren’t easily seen.

Yinxiao, a Communication University of China film student, based his film on a real-life family. He said it had one simple aim: “I wanted to emphasise that an LGBT couple can raise and nurture a child too.”

Forbidden Love in Heaven received positive reviews on social media platform Weibo, the Post reported, and netted neutral coverage in state-run media. It was a small victory, Yinxiao acknowledged, but one that has buoyed him to continue making content that centres LGBT+ families.

“I hope our film is the start of this acceptance,” reflected Zhang Xin, an actor who played one of the film’s fathers.

“And I hope that in the future there’ll be more movies of this kind; maybe our movie can be a pioneer, a small pioneer.”

A study jointly conducted by the United Nations Development Programme, Peking University and the Beijing LGBT Center in 2016 found that only five per cent of “sexual and gender minority people” in China are “willing to live their diversity openly”.

In 2020 LGBT+ activists fought – and failed – to be counted in the country’s decennial census and demand marriage equality be finally legalised.

Gay adult film performer blasts studio for paying bottoms less than tops / Queerty

Gay adult film performer blasts studio for paying bottoms less

Adult entertainer Armond Rizzo claims that a studio called Blacks on Boys — the self-proclaimed “home to the best interracial” gay content — pays bottoms “way less” than tops under the rationale that the site is “more top dominant.”

“This has never happened to me but there’s a studio who is interested in me and what I found out about them is mind blowing,” Rizzo tweeted on January 25. “They pay bottoms way less than tops [and their] excuse [is] the site is more top dominant. I don’t give a f*ck, who are you to say that a bottom is worth less?”

Related: Guess how much gay adult film stars make?

Rizzo, who just won the 2020 GayVN Award for Social Media Star, went on: “If [you’re] wondering what site I am talking about, it’s @BlacksOnBoys. Such a shame… lost my respect.”

And in another tweet, he added, “It’s going to be a big NO THANKS! I don’t care that you even raised my fee up. It’s just unjust you pay bottoms less and for that I decline working for you!”

Rizzo’s Twitter rant got a ton of support: “If anything, bottoms should be [paid] more,” one user replied. “If it not for a bottom, what the top gonna do?” added another. Wrote a third: “Bottoms low-key are worth more in reality.”

Related: Gay adult studio Noir Male responds to allegations of “not catering” to the black community

FYI, CNBC reported in 2016 that male porn performers “average $500-$600 per scene or day” with better-known stars earning up to $900 and “superstars” up to $1,500.

As of the time of this writing, the @BlacksOnBoys Twitter account has not replied to Rizzo’s claims.

Hulu’s “Bad Hair” Skewers Racist Beauty Standards in a Film That’s Half Horror, Half Satire

Hulu's "Bad Hair" Skewers Racist Beauty Standards in a Film

This post was written by Dani Janae and Shelli Nicole. Spoilers below for Hulu’s Bad Hair!


Dani Janae: I’m so excited to hear your thoughts on Bad Hair!

Shelli Nicole: When I saw the ads for it I knew I wanted to talk with you about it. I wanna start by asking you why you dig horror films so much! I know you’re a fan and last year was the first time I saw your 30 days of horror films on your IG story during spooky season.

Dani Janae: I love this question: I dig horror so much because I find it to be the best medium to explore what it means to be human. Fear is such a universal and primal emotion: it shows us who we really are and what we are made of. I think it’s so versatile. Like you can have a love story in a horror film but I’ve never seen a romantic comedy or drama with horror elements, ya know? I’m also just so fascinated by what has scared people across time

Shelli Nicole: Whenever I watch horror my fascination is the actual gore. My favorite horror genres are Body & Revenge and in some way Bad Hair encompasses both. I don’t think I watch horror movies to be scared, I let thrillers and musicals do that for me.

When I first heard about Bad Hair, I actually thought it was an extended version of the short, Hair Wolf, and realized I was wrong. Then I thought it was an extended version of the Random Acts of Flyness sketch “Bad Hair” and was wrong again. Then I found out that it was by the same person behind Dear White People, queer Black writer/director, Justin Simien and kinda got excited but also nervous about it.

To me, although I watch them, shows like DWP feel like they are trying to explain the Black experience (or elements of it) to a white audience (or non-Black) and I kinda got scared this movie was going to do the same thing.

Dani Janae: I’ve never seen Dear White People so I went in to this not expecting much just because I’m not familiar with Simien’s work. I had reservations because I notoriously do not like horror comedies;I don’t mind if I laugh during a horror movie, but I feel like horror comedies lean heavy on the laughs

Shelli Nicole: So when you’re watching horror films you’re like, I’m not hear for a laugh I am here for some fear and emotions.

Dani Janae: Exactly! I’m here to be bundled up on the couch with the lights out and jumping at every sound.

Shelli Nicole: I usually arrive wanting to see body parts, blood, deep screams and tears. I lean in to the screen with an oddly sadistic smile.

So let’s get into it. Bad Hair centers on Anna (Elle Lorraine). She has a love for music and has big dreams of becoming a VJ (think back to the days of TRL). I’d like to say that I too had similar dreams so I can understand her completely. She works at a network called Culture and once their boss, Edna (Judith Scott), a natural haired and dark skinned woman, leaves the network, Zora (played by my Christmas queen Vanessa Williams), takes over. She’s lite skinned, a former supermodel and most importantly — has good hair in the form of a sew in.

Miss Zora is trying to make some changes and the first thing she suggest is for Anna and others to ditch the natural looks and go for sew ins.

What’s your relationship to wigs and weaves? You have some BEAUTIFUL tresses, I have asked several times about your twist out methods but were you always natural?

Dani Janae: I haven’t always been natural. I was until I was about 11 or so when I got my first relaxer. Before that I had my hair straightened with a hot comb and grease. I had a weave once: I got micros for a birthday and it hurt and took forever — I related to Anna’s hair sensitivity— so I never went back. I go back and forth every year about doing another big chop. I did mine my second year of college and have been growing it out since

I always wanted to get into wigs but never went there. What about you?

Shelli Nicole: I got my first relaxer around the same time as you. I begged for it and my mom finally gave in — it was fucking terrible and my mom just read her hair magazine while Shonica put the creamy crack in my hair. I’ve been completely natural for a while now, but I used to be a huge fan of sew ins. I actually still am, I just haven’t gotten one in a while. I usually wear my hair in protective styles like crochet braids but I also will do a natural blow dry and add in pieces. I love a good wig but am not nearly as good as the folks on YouTube who make it seem so easy installing them, so only wear them occasionally.

And on the topic of Anna’s hair sensitivity, lets’ talk about THAT SCENE — the one where she finally gives in and gets a sew in from Virgie, played by Laverne Cox. It was PERFECTLY filmed in my opinion.

Dani Janae: That scene for me was a perfect example of body horror, I loved it. I was so tense watching it!

Shelli Nicole: It was the type of horror I came for. It was one of the times when watching the film that I felt was specifically for Black viewers. Like, we know that pain — but to see it, to HEAR it. The braids being tightened, the hair pulling at the scalp, the tearing of the skin sometimes with the blood. It made me cringe but also made me lean in — I rewatched that scene about three times.

It was actually terrifying. What made it extra horrific was how calm the stylist was while doing it.

Dani Janae: When Anna cried “you almost done?” I felt that!

Shelli Nicole: It was like she was the killer in the horror films who happily goes around killing everyone.

Dani Janae: Yes exactly, she got very little screen time but I loved her attitude and her demeanor

Shelli Nicole: Okay, so we will talk about how the movie progresses but can we talk about the stars in this movie?!

Dani Janae: Names on top of names! When I saw Usher I yelped. I recently binged Moesha so seeing him on the screen again was a delight

Shelli Nicole: For me it was MC Lyte!

I have always had a little crush on her, that voice — phew. But so many people are in this movie. Blair Underwood, Kelly Rowland, DAWSON!

Dani Janae: Omg yes!! I like that the actress at the center wasn’t as big of a name, though I enjoyed seeing Vanessa Williams and Kelly Rowland. Also fucking James Van Der Beek.

Shelli Nicole: So as the movie goes on, Anna and her new hair start feeling themselves and she starts reaping the rewards of being a Black woman with good hair. She gets looked at kinder by the white folks, the trash nigga she was fucking wants to get back at her, and opportunities at work start to open up more. Have you found this to be true — the better your hair, the better you get treated? (Better being a word that I use terribly loosely.)

Dani Janae: Hmmm, I think I have when I was younger. I have 4c hair and I noticed once I got my relaxer people complained less about having to do my hair, I got more compliments on my looks, etc. When I went natural again I got lots of comments about how brave I was. Once at a restaurant a white woman told me she loved how ethnic I looked. As an adult I get a lot of well meaning white people that give you that “right on sister, I’m down!” Kinda attitude

Shelli Nicole: NOT ETHNIC!!!

Shelli Nicole: My mother always made sure my hair was done when I was younger, primarily because she had a lot of hair issues and bullying when she was a kid so she wanted the opposite for me, so I didn’t have issues with others but they were all coming from myself. I saw how the girls at church who were lighter skinned or had long pressed locs with cute headbands would have more boys looking at them, and didn’t get compliments from adults without some sort of caveat attached to them.

As an adult it’s mostly been white women who want to ask questions they can Google about my hair. Or, of course, think they can touch it.

But similarly to Anna in the movie, I have friends who won’t ever get a weave and prefer to stay natural. I liked that in the movie too: Lena and some of the other VJ’s were rejecting the changes that Zora wanted to put in place. But, what comes next is the part of the film that I hated and have a big problem with.

Dani Janae: Oooo do tell!

Shelli Nicole: Anna starts having a bit of issue with her hair beyond the headaches and itching and maybe starts to realize something is a bit off right? It’s obvious this is the part of the film where it’s time to start getting into some shit, and her landlord comes to collect the rent she is behind on — and while doing so attempts to rape her.

I am so done with the final girl in horror needed to be raped or sexually assaulted in some sort of way to move the story forward. In this case I hated it even more because it’s a Black woman and a dark skinned one at that. A lot of it can be connected with me having a history with sexual assault and rape but a lot of it comes from me being a lover of film and a writer, and using sexual harm to move a plot forward is lazy writing in my opinion.

There were simply so many ways they could have gotten that point across and pushed the story forward without having her be sexually assaulted.

Dani Janae: Yeah, we talk a lot in horror about how rape is used as a device to move the story forward and complicate the hero’s journey. It was an unnecessary moment, especially because the landlord had already been established as an aggressive asshole

We didn’t need him to be a rapist too (possibly a serial rapist at that).

Shelli Nicole: Exactly. They opened up this other plot line and wrapped it by having ANOTHER Black woman kind of confirm that he raped her. Yeah, he dies — but like, it still just was not needed.

Like I mentioned earlier, revenge films are my other favorite horror genre so I struggle a lot while watching because so many of them are women who have been raped or assaulted taking out their revenge. I get conflicted because I am like, ok yes — kill kill and take your power back but then I’m like, couldn’t it have just something different she is getting revenge for?

How did you feel about how the film progressed after this point?

Dani Janae: Yeah same, I always want to see women in horror have a wider arc than just getting revenge on a rapist/abuser.

I honestly felt kinda set up by the rest of the film. I thought we were gonna get more skin crawling, body horror moments but instead they introduced this possession story line. Anna’s hair basically comes to life and possesses her. The hair itself has a thirst for blood that I thought was interesting but the graphics and story just got so corny after that. I get it’s satire and is supposed to be kind of laughable but I felt like the tension in the film doesn’t carry after she kills her landlord

Shelli Nicole: Completely. I figured we were going to see more gore and that as the hair began to take more control we would really see what it could do. It started to get a little Hotep for me too but since you aren’t familiar with Simien’s work I will tell you, is not surprising.

Dani Janae: Yeah my other issue with the film was: what is it saying? You got a possessed evil weave on one side and natural hair on the other. The women that insist on staying natural meet a grim fate, they either die or never advance in their careers. It feels like Black women get caught in the crossroads. Get a weave and become an evil sellout or stay natural and never progress

Shelli Nicole: And perhaps it’s the eternal optimist in me, but haven’t we moved past that or at least made a huge fucking leap forward?

Dani Janae: Yes exactly!

Shelli Nicole: This is what I mean by Simien’s work being created and featuring Blackness but is for the education of non-Black people. It puts me at a crossroads with work like this. Like, if Simien wants to do the work of teaching non-Black folks about what our community deals with, shouldn’t I let him? Shouldn’t I want non-Black folks to be educated on Blackness from the massive issues to the mundane? And shouldn’t I be happy that it’s not only a Black person at the head who is telling the story but it’s also featuring Black people?

Dani Janae: Oh the movie also does another thing I hate: introduces Indigenous or African folklore without being specific about it. The story about the moss haired girl comes from a book of I believe African sort of fairy tales but like… where in Africa? Where’s the specificity? It also demonizes ancient cultures instead of uplifting them

Shelli Nicole: I didn’t think about that. I would have loved to know more and it felt like they were trying to make it an important focus (as it is the story behind the hair) but at every opportunity was forcing me to piece that story together from various other conversations spread out in the film.

Dani Janae: To your point: I was gonna say earlier, I’m all for black people who aren’t Tyler Perry giving other Black faces and Black voices screen time. I love when we celebrate our own, but do white people and their viewing experience always have to be called into question?

Shelli Nicole: Exactly. Towards the end I leaned heavily into the comedy and opted to focus on that. I made the decision to start watching it as the satirical horror comedy it was meant to be and started enjoying it more. The dialogue is what did it for me, the campy responses, the references to Black culture (Lena telling her co-worker she needed a new attitude after bringing up Patti Labelle took me way out) but then the actual ending in itself made me — cringe.

It wrapped up the folklore story that was introduced but now that I think back with your point in mind about the lack of detail, it leaves me with even more questions.

Before we wrap can we please acknowledge the soundtrack?!

Dani Janae: Yes it definitely succeeded on the comedy front. When Lena was giving her “I don’t want to die” speech, I was rolling. I told another friend that it succeeds as a comedy but not a horror comedy if that makes sense. I tried to come into it without my bias and just wanted to settle in for a good movie but left feeling nothing. The characters didn’t really stick with me. I forgot everyone’s name until I visited the Wikipedia page before our chat. The only thing that really struck me as the sew in scene and the soundtrack!

This soundtrack is GOLD.

I’m literally singing that song “I Get It” in my head right now

Shelli Nicole: i’ve rewatched the film a few times just to watch Kelly Rowland do hairography while being the fictional princess of Pop Soul.

Dani Janae: She was a shining spot in this movie.

Shelli Nicole: I’d also like to say that as much as I hate to admit it, Lena in overalls and a Maxine Shaw braided bob gave me a tingle or two.

And Vanessa Williams is the mean Mommi I aspire to be.

Dani Janae: LMAO, oh my god, I love that for you. Yes she was a dream! Still so fine

Shelli Nicole: Thanks bunches for giving me some of your Sunday to talk film!

Dani Janae: Thank you for spending some time with me, I loved talking with you and getting your perspective!

Watch: “Mama Gloria” Film Showcases Life of Trans Elder

Watch: "Mama Gloria" Film Showcases Life of Trans Elder

A new film, now streaming, on the life of the 75-year-old transgender activist Mama Gloria (Gloria Allen) is “the story of a mother’s love—the love that Gloria’s mother had for her and the love that Gloria has for her chosen children. And it is fueled by the love that filmmaker Luchina Fisher has for her teenage transgender daughter, Gia.”

Mama Gloria film

Mama Gloria (Gloria Allen)

“When I came out of my mother’s womb, I was out,” Mama Gloria tells us in the documentary. Born in 1945, Gloria became part of Chicago’s South Side drag ball culture and transitioned four years before Stonewall, with the support of her mother, a former showgirl and Jet magazine centerfold, and her grandmother, who sewed clothes for crossdressers and male strippers. She also experienced traumatic violence, lost friends to AIDS, and was harassed by police, but survived to become a nurse and a community leader. In 2011, she pioneered a charm school for young, homeless transgender people, where she passed on the lessons of fashion, makeup, etiquette, and love that she had learned from her mother and grandmother. Her work inspired Chicago playwright Philip Dawkins’ hit play Charm.

Now Gloria is retired and “continues to grow old with joy, dignity and grace,” says the film synopsis. That’s a blessing that far too many transgender people never get to have. Filmmaker Fisher, who describes herself in press materials as “a black woman filmmaker raising a biracial transgender daughter” tells this story of her daughter, now 16, and why Gloria’s example is so important:

One day while I was filming Gloria in Chicago, my daughter sent me a text saying that her life was “half way done.” Gia had read online that the average life expectancy for a Black trans woman in Washington D.C., was 32. It was at that moment that I truly understood why I am making this film…. For Gloria, who never imagined she would live past 40, aging is a gift.

It’s a gift that I want to show my daughter and other young trans people—so they can imagine themselves growing old and having a long, meaningful life. Gloria is their connection to aging and to their future. She is their connection to the past and living proof that transgender people have always been part of our lives and our communities. She is a shining example of how family support—from birth families and chosen families—can impact life outcomes for transgender people.

Mama Gloria film

Mama Gloria with young people at the About Face Theatre

Watch Mama Gloria online at the Chicago International Film Festival for $12, October 14 to 25 (I make nothing from this referral) and see a trailer below:

Want more about trans elders? Check out this other film now streaming about comedian and parent Julia Scotti.

So there’s a cult run by a former gay adult film star? Be afraid… / Queerty

So there’s a cult run by a former gay adult

Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend dive into queer and queer-adjacent titles of the past that deserve a watch or a rewatch.

The Aptly-Named: Holy Hell

Director Will Allen made this doc about his own 20-year stint in a West Hollywood-based cult led by–it’s true–a former adult film performer. Comprised of interviews of former members, as well as copious home video footage shot by Allen, Holy Hell examines the rise of the Buddhafield, a combination of environmentalist commune and spiritual movement. For gay men enduring the pain of the AIDS epidemic in the late 80s and early 1990s, it offers an accepting reprieve from an otherwise hostile religious landscape. A mysterious leader named Michel presides over it all, keeping creepy watch over his flock often while wearing a speedo and little else. Yet the downright silliness–and yes, it is very silly at times, by design–conceals something far more sinister as stories of psychological torture, manipulation and even rape begin to surface.

The participants of Holy Hell, especially Allen himself, bare their souls and experiences with little ego or reservation. That goes a long way toward giving the film its power, and its lasting creepiness. When Michel’s origins finally do surface, they only add to the insanity of it all, which drives home the film’s main point: cults seldom begin with nefarious purposes, nor do the participants seek to join one. Harrowing, scary, and always jaw-dropping, Holy Hell will likely inspire a giggle or two of disbelief. That only makes the menace of it all so much creepier.

Streams on YouTube & Amazon.

PFLAG + OREO debut Proud Parent film and rainbow cookies

PFLAG + OREO debut Proud Parent film and rainbow cookies

PFLAG + OREO debut Proud Parent film and rainbow cookies – Equally Wed, modern LGBTQ+ weddings + LGBTQ-inclusive wedding pros

See the hyper homoerotic film that made Harris Dickinson a sex symbol / Queerty

See the hyper homoerotic film that made Harris Dickinson a

Beach Rats

Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend dive into queer and queer-adjacent titles of the past that deserve a watch or a rewatch.

The Sweaty: Beach Rats

Harris Dickinson made a splash with his debut performance in Beach Rats, the darling of the 2017 film festival circuit. Given that he spends the movie half-naked, it’s not hard to see why.

Beach Rats follows the life of Frankie (Dickinson), a beach-loving bodybuilder that enjoys hanging with his other shirtless buds, going on dates with his girlfriend while secretly meeting up with other men for sex and drugs. For Frankie, the double life allows him to compartmentalize his own attraction to men; in essence, he can lie to himself. As his thirst for sex and drugs grows ever stronger, though, Frankie’s dual identity becomes harder and harder to mask, and threatens to upend his carefully cultivated image.

Writer/director Eliza Hittman approaches Beach Rats with a near-voyeuristic style; we often feel like a fly on the wall watching Frankie on his quest for sex. The film also has a surreal quality about it. At times, Hittman floods us with dreamlike images that reflect Frankie’s own flood of emotions. Elusive, sensual, and erotic, we recommend Beach Rats for the story.

The shirtless boys are just an added bonus.

Streams on Amazon, Hulu, YouTube, iTunes and VUDU.

Lady Gaga just released a new short film / Queerty

Lady Gaga just released a new short film / Queerty

Oscar-winner, badass and icon Lady Gaga has her fans in a frenzy with the release of her new short film, an extended video for the song “911.”

“911” marks the fourth single off Gaga’s newest album, Chromatica. The song sees Gaga returning to her roots in dance/electronica, and confronts the singer’s struggles with mental health. In an interview with Apple Music, Gaga confirmed that the antipsychotic drug olanzapine–a drug which she is prescribed–inspired the tune.

Related: Lady Gaga defied ‘Drag Race’ producers and changed the show forever, queens reveal

The new music video, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Tarsem Singh (The Cell), recalls Alejandro Jodorowsky’s cult film El Topo. It finds Gaga lounging in desert dunes and following a mysterious figure in black to a Spanish villa. From there, things get typically weird, as the song’s long musical interlude gives way to the lyrical portion. Dancers in elaborate, colorful costumes fill the villa’s plaza as Gaga sings about the voices in her head. The film culminates in Gaga stabbing herself in the chest, and waking up to see paramedics standing over her: she’s been in a biking accident.

In other words, the “911” video fits well with Gaga’s signature mixture of style, performance art and general weirdness.

Crank the volume, and have a look. We have a feeling you’ll be seeing the video quite a bit in the near future.

Find Yourself In The Black Femme Supremacy Film Festival

Find Yourself In The Black Femme Supremacy Film Festival

I love film, it’s one of the main pop culture mediums where I have searched to find myself the most. If it wasn’t the romantic comedies, with the same white leading ladies falling in love in two weeks, it was the teen comedies where the racially ambiguous best friend made everyone laugh while eating pizza in the food court. When I was younger, and even admittedly sometimes now, I excused the lack of representation on the screen. I opted for piecing together bits of each character in a film to connect with some frankensteined version of myself but — how fly would it be to not have to do that?

Last weekend I got the opportunity to attend the Black Femme Supremacy Film Fest and got to spend the entire time looking at fully realized, multiple versions of myself on my television. Founded by Nia Hampton and put on with the help of the rest of her crew, this year marks the 3rd annual festival, sponsored by Ava Duvernays’ ARRAY, amongst others, and it’s the first digital version of the festival.

The programmers have decided to extend it to this weekend (A perk of the forced digital format!) through September 11 – 13. It gives those who missed out the chance to join in, and those who were there the opportunity to kick back and rewatch their favorites!

Going digital didn’t mean there would be a lack of programming either, there were panels, live Q&As’ with directors, and free events to teach those who are ready to jump into the world of film that were led by black femmes.

There were over 40 films to watch and it’s incredible to see the talent, ingenuity, and skill bought to the screen by so many black femmes. These are just a few of my favorites. Free of spoilers but full of hype.


Naufraga

Directed by Juh Almeida, this short was part of the Defining Black block during the festival. The opening sounds of the waves crashing against the body of the films’ protagonist filled my speakers. The camera’s super intimate focus on their white headwrap and closeups on their features, while a voice is heard over the waves, all made up it one of the strongest pieces of the festival.

Sasha & Condi

Also a part of the Defining Black block of shorts, this film blends Black kitsch and mockumentary — two things I love and have been desperate to see more of from Black women in film. Directed by Lucretia Stinnette, it features two friends who look back on their youth of being Black women raised in their mostly white suburban town, Pleasanton, in the 1990s, complete with cute soundtrack vibes and animation.

Wash Day

My favorite film in the Legacy of Beauty shorts block, focuses on three Black women and their hair, a topic I have written about here on Autostraddle in the past. I frequently feel that non-Black people, especially those who are white, feel like we’ve talked enough about the relationship that Black women have with their hair. This film, directed by Kourtney Jackson, serves as a reminder that it goes quite deep and inspires Black women to hold space for each other on a topic that is close to so many of us.

Tender

I was thrilled to see this short (that is being turned into a feature film), as part of the Legacy of the WAP block at the festival. I saw Tender, written and directed by Felicia Pride, a few months back, and loved every minute of it. It’s a look at the morning after, one not filled with regret and a quick escape but instead, one that becomes infinitely more intimate than the physical aspect of the night before. The way these two Black, queer women who are at different places in so many areas of their lives, connect despite that — is enchanting.

and lastly my pick of the festival….

Herald of Blue

I was most excited about the Legacy of Black Magic short block — I have newly been connecting with my family and discovering the magical ancestry of the lineage I come from. There is an entire history to one side of my family that has remained a mystery to me for years that has begun to unveil itself. Things that I have been drawn to make more sense and beliefs I’ve always had have become deeper. I lost my grandfather when I was young, he was the person in my family who I have always been the closest to and I was never given the chance for a proper goodbye. In this film, directed and animated by Jacqueline CJ Barnes, a girl is dealing with the death of her beloved grandfather and has to decide to either forget him or break the family way and remember him.


The Black Femme Supremacy Film Fest being online his year not only permits people to stay safe, but opens up the festivals’ films, documentaries, shorts and more, to be viewed by people all across the world. It may not have been ideal but it helps to push forward one of the festivals missions to “..re-envision the black femme as a global protagonist and universal archetype”.