Contrast Film Fest 2019
Films & Events
with original live score by THOR & FRIENDS
1963. Jack Smith. B&W. 45min.
At midnight on April 29, 1963, the movie screen at New York’s Bleecker Street Cinema lit up with visions of men and women in makeup and dresses; draped white fabric and a tall vase filled with feathery blooms; and disjointed shots of lips, eyes, tangled limbs, and genitalia. These images were a part of Flaming Creatures, an experimental film by Jack Smith, which premiered that night. The police were called, and they seized the film. Soon after, it was banned in 22 U.S. states and four countries. Eventually, it came to the attention of Congress and the Supreme Court, as a part of a censorship battle then being fought in America. Detractors and champions took their sides. And Smith, the pioneering performance artist, actor, filmmaker, and photographer who was largely unknown outside of New York’s underground art scene, suddenly became famous.
Smith’s unconventional approach to his films was inspired by the melodrama and excessive glamour of Hollywood and B movies, and by such flamboyant forms of performance as burlesque. In Flaming Creatures, as in all of his works, there is no fixed narrative, the sets and special effects are low-tech and homemade, and non-professional actors populate the cast. Shot from above or from odd angles at close range, Flaming Creatures is composed of loosely connected vignettes full of humor, eroticism, and violence. We see men applying lipstick to their puckering mouths, the set appears to crumble in an earthquake, and a vampire in a blond wig sucks the blood of an unconscious victim. Shots of bared body parts and fluttering eyes punctuate these scenes, set to a soundtrack of vintage music. Because of such scenes, and Smith’s DIY, freeform approach to making Flaming Creatures, the film went against the norms of both society and filmmaking—ultimately setting a radical new example that inspired other artists and filmmakers. Adding to its significance is the fact that it foregrounded the fluidity of gender, sexuality, and identity and celebrated their free expression, at a time when they were seen in more rigid terms. (MOMA)
For CONTRAST the film will be presented with an original live score by musicians Thor Harris, Peggy Ghorbani, and Sarah Gautier who perform together under the moniker THOR & FRIENDS.
Thor & Friends draws on classic Minimalist composers, including Terry Riley and Steve Reich, but also amalgamate such diverse influences as Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, Moondog and The Necks around a polyrhythmic core of mallet-struck instruments, primarily marimba, xylophone and vibraphone. Circling these core motifs are shifting streams of everything from processed pedal steel and analog synthesizer to violin, viola, stand-up bass, clarinet, duduk and oboe.
The group also builds upon similarities and contrasts with Harris’ past projects and continuing collaborations; these include Swans, Ben Frost, Bill Callahan, Hospital Ships, Shearwater and John Congelton. They embody utopian optimism by rooting their art and operation in both improvisation and the involvement of neighbors and friends in their process, making use of what and who is around at any given moment to make music with. (ThorHarris.com)
CONTRAST LATE NIGHT ADULT MULTIPLEX
Erotic Expression Emporium &
Psychedelic Queer Cinema
For one night only we will take over the Austin School of Film turning it into a late night adult multiplex featuring film and installation by artists from around the country and highlighting sex positive work of both past and present.
1972. Wakefield Poole. 1hr17min.
Wakefield Poole’s second feature is an avant-garde examination of fantasy and desire. After witnessing a car accident and stealing the victim’s purse, a construction worker discovers a ticket to Bijou, a strange club where nameless men fulfill each visitor’s sexual fantasy. Relying heavily on experimental filmmaking techniques, Bijou is among the most significant and acclaimed all-male films of the 1970s. (Quad Cinema)
2018. Heather María Ács . 9min.
Roxy, a high femme punk, is caught multi-tasking between a hot date and a hilarious group domination session, where her fabulous queer friends learn an important "lesson" from a john. When Roxy allows her date to get in on the action, things go awry, and Roxy must scramble to make sure she and her friends “come out on top.” Flu$h is the first short film produced by newly formed queer production company FemmePower Productions.
ASK ANY BUDDY MIXTAPE
A selection of avant-garde, gay, adult scenes from the 70's and beyond guest curated by Evan Purchell. Evan is a cinephile and archivist with a focus on queer cinema. His current project is @AskAnyBuddy, an Instagram archive chronicling gay adult film history that was featured on an Art Forum 'Best of 2018' list.
2019. Elias A. Hinojosa. 6min.
A woman has a vision of a dream come true.
BREAKFAST IN BED
2016. A film by Ethan Folk and Ty Wardwell with music by Kool Toad. 2min.
Intimacy, dairy, and a shopping trip with a secret.
2018. A film by Ethan Folk and Ty Wardwell feat. Layton Lachman and Ace with music by Kool Toad. 3min.
A home-alone-houseboy is hungry, and not just for breakfast. What will daddy think when he reads about the houseboy's filthy antics?
BRUNCH ON BIKES
2019. A film by Ethan Folk and Ty Wardwell, featuring dot bat and Torian, with music by Jeans Team, camera by Noam Gorbat, and dolly by Yoav. 3min.
Freshly-fucked foodies dial up a special delivery.
Featuring dot bat and Torian, with music by Jeans Team, camera by Noam, and dolly by Yoav.
2018. Sequinette Jaynesfield. 10min.
Good Queen is a 16mm experimental re-telling of the French Revolution, where Marie Antoinette is a chicken. Full of wild Rococo excess, drag queens, strippers, cakes and lavish jewels, the Queen meets her surprising fate at the hand of the discontent revolutionaries.
2018. Oona Taper. 2min.
Tease is an almost-erotic micro short experimental animation exploring anticipation. True to its theme, no conclusions or climaxes are reached.
Tease is an experiment by a young queer woman film-maker to push the bounds of how sex and sexy are treated in film.
The main room of the multiplex will feature live performances from performers pushing the boundaries of art, music, and (in some instances) good taste.
Nonbinary singer, songwriter, and dancer Saturn Rising is serving you darkwave R, drawing inspiration from disparate greats like Janet Jackson and Depeche Mode. They’ve opened for Azealia Banks, toured in South Korea, been profiled in OUT & Paper Magazines, and released music on Molly House Records.
HEATHER MARíA ÁCS
(House of Kenzo)
Multimedia installations will turn classrooms into immersive microcinemas featuring wild and weird work exploring sexuality and beyond.
Comedienne Ava Smartt of the Gender Fluids podcast curates a selection of videos exploring food fetishes and more.
AMY LOGHEART & FFTWINZS BABYSSCRIB
Los Angeles / Austin
FFTwinz are a duo that make lez art, throw parties, and get high. Artists Beth Schindler and Lexington Vaughn present a cam girl experience like no other with their installation for CONTRAST.
GENDER FLUIDS FETISH FREE-FOR-ALL
With design by
YES YOU CAN!
Comedy and motivation featuring a live performance by BUNNY MICHAEL
Is your life filled with anxiety and dread? The hot breath of a meaningless existence breathing down your neck? A sense that the Matrix is glitching out and we’re trapped in the meltdown?
Get a fresh start gaining insight and inspiration from a panel of experts dealing with self-esteem, fitness, romance, finance, spirituality and more. Previous editions of YES YOU CAN featured a giant group hug exercise, group affirmations, a live splooshing sessions with a dominatrix, an iPad self pleasure demo, an ASMR make up tutorial, life hacks, meditations, and beyond.
You’re not just a hologram in a gigantic computer simulation of life. You’re a whole and beautiful human being.
Bunny Michael (born Melisa Rincon) is a femme presenting non- binary rapper, actor, author and visual artist best known for their Higher Self meme project on Instagram. Their work has been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times, HuffPost, Paper Magazine, Dazed and Confused, and Vice. In 2018 they toured the U.S. and Europe as a support act for world renowned Swedish electronic musician Fever Ray. They currently host a digital show for Vice’s Broadly Channel called “Broadly Hotline”. Bunny also played the role of Bea on Season 2 of HBO’s hit show, “High Maintenance”.
With Erica Nix, Ralphie Hardesty, & more!
BRAZIL IN FOCUS
Six films highlighting Brazilian films & filmmakers
THE WHISPER OF THE JAGUAR
2017. Simon(e) Jaikiriuma Paetau & Thais Guisasola. 1hr19min.
The Whisper of the Jaguar is a queer-punk road movie, taking place across the Amazon and investigating indigenous knowledge and the experience of trance states through medicinal plants. By accessing the memories and traumas of her ancestors, the protagonist, Ana, who is carrying the ashes of her kuir (queer) activist brother, is confronted with her own imaginary perceptions of indigeneity, ego, and death in the contemporary political landscape of Brazil.
2018. Bruno Riberio. 23min.
A free-flowing capturing of the lives and loves of three friends in a close-knit community.
2018. Claudia Priscilla & Kiko Goifman. 1hr15min.
A documentary that follows Mc Linn Da Quebrada, a black trans woman, performer and activist living in impoverished São Paulo. Her electrifying performances (with plenty of nudity) brazenly take on Brazil's hetero-normative machismo.
2018. Diego Paulino. 22min.
North American Premiere
Between melanin and far away planets, NEGRUM3 (BLACKN3SS) proposes to dive into the journey of the black youth of São Paulo city. A documentary on blackness, queerness and spacial aspirations of diaspora's children.
2018. Evangelia Kranioti. 1hr.
A documentary-fiction about the dizzying heights of gender and metamorphosis in Rio de Janeiro. A cinematographic object that transforms infinitely, that devours infinitely. Following the path of iconic transgender figure Luana Muniz (1961-2017), Obscuro Barroco explores different quests for the self, through transvestism, carnaval and political struggle. In turn, it asks questions about the desire for transformation of the body, both intimate and social.
2018. Adriana Barbosa & Thiago Zanato. 20min.
La Flaca is a film about Arely Vazquez, a transgender woman and leader of the Santa Muerte (Saint Death) Cult in Queens, New York. During her yearly celebration to the Bony Lady ("La Flaca" as she likes to call her), Arely faces a lot of challenges to fulfill a promise she made ten years ago. Directed by Brazilian filmmakers Adriana Barbosa & Thiago Zanato.
CONTRAST MIDNIGHT SHORTS
Wild and weird shorts from around the world.
2018. Bertrand Mandico. 37min.
For Bertrand Mandico every film is a like a séance trying to wake up the ghosts of cinema. In loud and rainbow-coloured episodes the film muses on queer sci-fi film shoots. As he reflects womanhood and eroticism, desire and disgust, Mandico looks at actresses like a drug one must consume in order to survive. Demons of lost feelings haunt the images as do filmmakers from Jean Cocteau to Joe D’Amato. In all of it waits an ontology of cinema to be deciphered. It is related to light and the need for emotions: “Films are monkeys that fuck their muses blinded by the light of projectors.” (Patrick Holzapfel)
2017. Yann Gonzalez. 24min.
Three characters wander through an erotic maze of love and desire.
1979. Suzan Pitt. 20min.
Suzan Pitt conjures up a distinctive, passionate, hushed vacuum of sexual and artistic metaphor as we follow a mysterious woman on a journey from intimate toilette, to a longing gaze out her curtained window to a hallucinatory garden of totemic flora, to the theatrical projections of her visions to the amazement of a vast audience. That the (faceless) protagonist receives her glittering inspiration while performing oral sex on an asparagus stalk only points to the inadequacy of language to describe what is essentially a feminist dream of ruthless self-control. (Suzanne Buchan)
2018. Katharina Hingst. 8min.
When Camille wakes up on the morning of her 16th birthday the world seems to have changed over night.
Nothing makes sense and everything sucks.
While impatiently waiting to finally start her first period, she's challenged with the emotional stages of premenstrual chaos, struggling to break free to begin her transition into womanhood.
PROLOGUE TO THE TAROT: GLENNA
2018. Brittany Gravely & Ken Linnehan. 6min.
Described by the filmmakers as a "cinematic tarot card", Brittany Gravely and Ken Linehan's twice-exposed Prologue to the Tarot: Glenna is a shimmering portrait of the titular Glenna, accompanied by drapes and opulent crystals worthy of Kenneth Anger or Josef von Sternberg. (TIFF)
MAKE YOUR OWN F*CK'N SHOW
Taking TV into our own hands.
2019. VivvyAnne ForeverMore & Jillian Gnarling
Jillian Gnarling and Mica Sigourney (VivvyAnne ForeverMORE!) are best-friend drag queens who lipsynch, laugh and party their way through San Francisco nightclubs. United by an affection for the gross and farty, they assembled a queer filmmaking team to create the first three episodes of an absurd, troll-centered comedy series.
Ew Yuk! is the wonderfully WTF result. Dropping one-liners about auras, astrology, yoga, and more, the two trolls gross out about contemporary culture, with hilarious and unnerving results.
The duo are joined by director and cowriter Jader of alien performance sensation Toxic Waste Face (Art Basel Miami), Chantel Beam (DP), Jordan Plath (prosthetics design) and Hexate (makeup). While this is Jillian and Vivvy’s first foray into filmmaking, the trolls went big, shooting in Super 8 in many locations all over the Bay Area. San Francisco itself figures as a prominent character in the series, as the trolls spew their cackles from the Golden Gate Bridge to the downtown Embarcadero.
VivvyAnne ForeverMore & Jillian Gnarling in Attendance
WHAT WOULD HIGHERSELF DO?
2016-Present. Bunny Michael.
As a queer multimedia artist, Bunny Michael, utilizes music, art videos, and memes as their mediums to explore themes of self love and acceptance, spirituality, and sexuality in a time when our “deepest truths are being revealed.” (remezcla.com)
Bunny Michael in Attendance
2019. Andie Flores.
Muy Excited is a comedic web series written and directed by Andie Flores, about four friends trying to come into their own in the muy white world of Austin, Texas. Andie, new to town and bummed as hell on the eve of her 26th birthday, shacks up with Vanessa, her larger than life (and maybe part-witch?) newscaster cousin, and soon befriends Maggie, who’s trying to build up the courage to run her own food truck and have a normal relationship, and Gabriel, an actor with a heart of “eh”. Plus, it doesn't hurt that Maggie's mysterious brother Chris is in town.
Zany, unpredictable, and a lotta bit ridiculous, the series follows the group as they navigate a city where they see themselves everywhere and nowhere all at the same time.
Andie Flores in Attendance
THE FATHERS PROJECT
2016-Present. Leo Herrera.
Imagine a world where AIDS never happened and our heroes lived. Who would they be? Who would we be? Fathers Project is a web series that explores these questions in short documentaries, weaving history, real life events and fiction to create an image of a queer utopia. Written, directed & edited by Leo Herrera. A community funded, sponsored project of The GLBT Historical Society.
FEMME QUEEN CHRONICLES
2019. Ahya Simone & Paige Wood.
An up-and-coming comedic webseries about the lives of four black trans women as they navigate through love, life, trade, and ki-king in the city of Detroit -- written, directed, and brought to life by black trans women themselves.
2019. Vincent Martell, Zak Payne, K.B. Woodson.
Barely surviving the city of Chicago, four messy roommates will experience complete loss of self-identity, propelling them onto individual paths of uncertainty.
2019. Jessie Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli. 1hr23min.
Four young queers in New York City struggle to maintain their proto-utopian community against the outside world as their lives curiously merge with the 1980s German novel so schön by Ronald M. Schernikau.
An investigation of leftist politics and femme identity in the context of an increasingly right wing world, So Pretty moves freely between fictional depictions and semi-documentary, adaptation and translation, looking towards the artistic and personal worlds its characters generate across time and culture as a space for new tensions and potentials.
2019. Rhys Ernst. 1hr35min.
First-time feature director Rhys Ernst brings Ariel Schrag’s funny, unconventional, and controversial boy-meets-girl novel to life with razor-sharp wit and honesty, nailing a satirical look at the nuances of sexual identity and the details of this early-2000s period. Nicholas Alexander carefully imbues Adam with vulnerability, complicating easy assessments in this unapologetic, sweetly subversive, and raw coming-of-age comedy.