Utah Film Center Damn These Heels 2021: No More Historic Wills Of Activism On Raw! Uncut! Video !, Rebel Dykes, Genre
In addition to Cured, no straight lines: the rise of queer comics and PS Burn this letter exceptional testimonies of archival activism, three other documentaries Utah Film Center 18th annual Fuck those heels Gay Film Festival shine for their use of historical materials. They include Gross! Uncut! Video!, directed by Ryan A. White and Alex Clausen; Kind, directed by Monika Treut, and The rebel dikes, directed by Harri Shanahan and Siân A. Williams. These films are available to stream on demand, with tickets purchased, until July 18.
Gross! Uncut! Video!
Public conversations about pornography have been so lopsided that they preclude any consideration of its potential value in developing behaviors and attitudes emphasizing sexual and body positivity and activism in the community. Self-proclaimed moral guardians castigate pornography for undermining the dignity of the individual, viewing it only from their own lascivious and dirty perceptions. Fortunately, the topic has gained more research attention in many disciplines, as evidenced by international peer-reviewed journals such as Pornographic studies, which has appeared several times a year since 2014.
Meanwhile, as the Damn These Heels 2021 slate shows, documentary filmmakers chart enlightening paths in their work that augment the development of a professional-grade body of queer historiography.
For example, over 250 hours of footage shot from local gay porn studio Palm Drive Video has become the focus of Gross! Uncut! Video!, directed by Ryan A. White and Alex Clausen. The film is a compelling documentary about sex and kink positivity in the 1970s and 1980s and the development of safe sex as the HIV / AIDS crisis became more prevalent.
The film resonates with a positive affirmation from many angles. This includes Jack Fritscher and Mark Hemry, the couple from Sonoma County, Calif., Who have been together for over 40 years and who were the entrepreneurs behind Palm Drive Video. Fristcher was also the founding editor of Drummer magazine, which focuses on leather sex fetishes. Incidentally, the two met in 1979 at a birthday party for Harvey Milk.
White and Clausen present extracts from the archives, some of which are accompanied by interviews with performers. They include porn actors Steve Parker, Mickey Squires, Steve Thrasher, and Donnie Russo. A highly recommended scene includes an interview with Susan Shaw, Thrasher’s mother. The opening scene comes from Sodbuster, a literal performance of a man who becomes one with nature, as he revel in the fucking mud outside. The couple’s rural ranch has become the home of their local studio.
Project in gestation for five years, the documentary was born of fortuitous circumstances, as relayed by an interview that The Utah Review conducted with the directors. White and Clausen met the couple while directing a 2016 short titled Cruise elsewhere, who used oral histories and phonographic visuals to document a popular former cruise area known as Wohler Beach in California’s Russian River area in the years leading up to the AIDS crisis erupting in years 1980.
When the couple brought up the story of Palm Drive Video, the directors hit it off right away. “We started digging immediately,” White says. “We said, ‘Saint Moley! It’s an incredible thing. ‘ Because we had already earned their trust, they shared the unedited hard drive which included behind-the-scenes footage. This included the content of Drummer magazine, which Fritscher launched in 1977.
The directors, who were interested in exploring alternative forms of AIDS activism at the time, were struck by how Palm Drive Video, a boutique porn studio, has become a major outlet for fetish and kinky communities to come forward and encourage safe sex based on messages about sex, body and kinks. And, as Clausen notes, the constellation of thematic threads includes the sustainability of the relationship Fritscher and Hemry have nurtured personally and professionally as creative entrepreneurs. There is a refreshing, easy, and heartwarming tone that envelops the film and seems perfectly suited to the couple’s story as well as the memories the performers have of creating content for Palm Drive Video.
The historical value of the archives, especially in a vulnerable time when gender identity and sexual practices were often viewed as taboo and verboten, is invaluable and extremely important. The fact that Fritscher and Hemry have digitized and organized the company’s entire footage catalog is something filmmakers particularly appreciate when making a documentary of great archival value. Of course, the content to be edited was large. But, within this contextual framework, the filmmakers succeed in showing how the artists of Palm Drive Video used their kinks and fetishes as cathartic touchstones to cope with stress amid the growing shadows of the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. .
“There’s not a lot of visual evidence of gay and queer culture from the 1970s and pornography fills that gap,” White says. Today, queer cinema has branched out into many roots with solid results. And, pornography remains a good indicator of sexual culture in terms of images, attitudes, behaviors, identity expression and fetishes and kinks. But, censorship of pornography on social media has become more prevalent recently, which could complicate archival purposes for future generations of queer historians as they explore what the environment looked like in the early waves of history. social media activity. Tumblr closed at the end of 2017. Xtube, which has been online for 13 years, will drop its current format in September. OnlyFans, an outlet for amateur and freelance sex workers, is considering a change of format.
As for White and Clausen, they experienced censorship with Instagram, regarding the account to promote this film. “It was deleted three times, and we had a lot of followers and engagement, which are now gone,” adds Clausen, at the time of the interview. Their social media accounts include Instagram (@wohlerfilms) and Facebook and Twitter (@rawuncutvideo).
Meanwhile, the filmmakers say audiences have responded positively to the film. The first public screening took place in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, a place none of the filmmakers would have imagined possible for a film like Gross! Uncut! Video!. “There were a few people who came out, which was understandable, but overall the feedback was positive,” White said. “We didn’t expect women to be this responsive, but they had a lot of interesting things to say. Many have commented on sexual positivity and sexual exploration as well as the angle of AIDS.
The rebel dikes
With a post-punk musical score, The rebel dikes, directed by Harri Shanahan and Siân A. Williams, tells the story of the 1980s when lesbians in London organized feminist protests, anti-Thatcher rallies and campaigns around HIV / AIDS and the anti-gay law in London. UK Article 28.
Unlike some of the other documentaries on the Damn These Heels list, Rebel Dykes doesn’t have the same reservoir of stock footage to document the events of the 1980s, but interviews with those who were active at the time provide some wonderful stories. oral. What emerges is a valuable chronicle of a politically and sexually energized substratum of queer culture in London. And, their involvement came amid the enactment of the UK’s most strident anti-gay law in 1988. The outcry against the legislation reverberated in many ways. Chumbawamba songs (Destroy Article 28! Fight the Alton Bill!) and Boy George (No article 28!) characterizes the indignation that exploded at the time. Section 28 only was repealed in Scotland in 2000 and three years later in the rest of the UK
One of the figures featured in the film is Lisa Power, who co-founded the Pink paper weekly in the 1980s, one of the few media outlets published for political engagement in the queer community at the time. What is clear in The rebel dikes This is how activists mastered the learning curve to strategically organize to fight for gay rights, even though it was inevitable at the time that Article 28 was going to be implemented. Clearly, activists prepared for what they knew would become the long-term strategy for securing the full spectrum of citizen rights for all segments of the queer community.
Kind, directed by Monika Treut, comes two decades after Truet’s documentary Gendernauts: a journey through changing identities, which was filmed in San Francisco. Treut returns to see what has changed with the transgender and non-binary subjects of the previous film, which leads to fascinating longitudinal observations on what has changed and why the stories of the original gendernauts are important to generations of the 21st century. The film goes into great detail, for example, on gentrification in the Bay Area and the loss of the adventurous cultural spirit upon which gendernauts had thrived in previous decades.
Specifically, the subjects also envision the trajectory necessary to fully accept and affirm the cultural and social impacts of non-binary identities and transgender members of the queer community. This comes across as the most important pillar of Treut’s film, which makes you wonder what a follow-up documentary would look like 20 years from now. The subjects Treut presents in the film undoubtedly eagerly await a fully enlightened and emancipated perspective.
Longitudinal perspectives are essential for developing the body of queer historiography. And, the fact that Treut’s film was made during the most acrimonious days of the previous president’s administration, which went aggressively against the rights of the LGBTQ spectrum, will be instructive for future generations as they prepare for more. chronicles of queer history spanning the first decades of the present century.