Melanin Pride Festival III - Program and Schedule
Oct. 08 - 18, 2020
Stay Tuned - Full program coming soon!!
"I'm no longer accepting the things I cannot change...I'm changing the things I cannot accept." - Angela Davis
2020 Melanin Pride Festival
Shorts Collection Preview
2020 Melanin Pride Festival
MPF III Features
MPF III Shorts 101
Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Queerness
Curated by Charlie Hidalgo and Lucy Mukerjee | Meraki Moving Pictures
Friday, October 16, 2020*
Escape from quarantine with this upbeat and empowering short-form collection of queer and trans stories. Serving as an injection of unbridled joy with the unapologetic attitude of the global uprising, these films fiercely defend our culture and humanity; demanding the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of queerness. Fuelled by music, dance, and defiance, all ten films are directed by, and center on LGBTQIA+ BIPOC voices. This collection is a much-needed antidote to our community’s daily marginalization.
Directed by Lucah Rosenberg-Lee | 00:21:00 | United States
What Are You Wanting For?
Directed by Alli Logout | 00:03:14 | United States
Directed by Barbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca | 00:22:55 | Brasil
Kiss of the Rabbit God
Directed by Andrew Thomas Huang | 00:14:39 | United States
Directed by Steven Liang | 00:08:20
Directed by Fatimah Asghar | 00:14:38 | United States
Heavenly Brown Body
Directed by Leslie Foster | 00:06:03 | United States
Care For You
Directed by OHYUNG | 00:04:13 | United States
Bodies of Desire
Directed by Varsha Panikar & Saad Nawab | 00:03:41 | India
Directed/Created by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu | 00:08:00 | United States (Hawaii)
Kiss of the Rabbit God | Directed by Andrew Thomas Huang A Chinese-American restaurant worker falls in love with an 18th century Qing dynasty god who visits him at night and leads him on a journey of sexual awakening and self-discovery.
About the Director: With a passion for combining Asian immigrant stories with folklore and mythology, LA-based filmmaker Andrew Thomas Huang uses his background in puppetry, VFX and animation to craft hybrid fantasy worlds. He has directed Grammy-nominated music videos for Bjork, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and FKA Twigs among others. Serving as creative director for Bjork’s VR exhibition Bjork Digital, Huang created multiple immersive experiences for the pioneering traveling installation. His films have been commissioned by and exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art, NYC, The Sydney Opera House, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Huang continues his foray into narrative film with TIGER GIRL which has received support from Sundance, Film Independent, Cinereach, IFP and K Period Media. His most recent narrative short “Kiss of the Rabbit God” premiered at Tribeca Film Festival 2019. Huang graduated with a degree in Fine Art and Animation from the University of Southern California.
Kapaemahu | Directed/Created by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu Kapaemahu reveals the healing power of four mysterious stones on Waikiki Beach, and the legendary spirits within them.
About the Director: Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu is a Native Hawaiian teacher, cultural practitioner, composer and filmmaker who uses digital media to protect and perpetuate indigenous languages and traditions. She began her film work as a protagonist and educational advisor for the award winning documentaries Kumu Hina and A Place in the Middle, and received a National Education Association Human Rights Award, Native Hawaiian Educator of the year and White House Champion of Change for the groundbreaking impact campaigns associated with those films. Continuing her journey to the other side of the lens, Hina produced the PBS/ARTE feature documentary Leitis in Waiting and award-winning short Lady Eva about her transgender sisters in the Kingdom of Tonga. Hina is also a transgender health advocate, burial council chair, and composer of “Ku Haaheo E Kuu Hawaii,” the internationally-known anthem for the protection of Mauna Kea.
Bodies of Desire | Directed by Varsha Panikar & Saad Nawab Using Varsha Panikar’s poetry series by the same name, as the point of departure, Bodies of Desire, is a visual poetry film co-directed by her and Saad Nawab. The film captures four sets of lovers amid passion; to create a portrait of tender intimacy, of longing, of discovery, of desire, of embrace and care, of profound companionship. It is a sensual celebration of genderless love and desire, inspired by the poet’s lived reality. The text follows the poet’s journey of healing and self-acceptance as she rediscovers love, passion and identity after encountering her muse, her lover, who acts as an encounter, a rupture that awakens the poet and her desire to express her inner truth. Immersed in the lover’s thought, the poet recalls moments spent in embrace, the touch, the smell, the little things that evoke feelings and emotions in her, that are complex, multidimensional and fluid, and inevitably puts her on a path of discovering her own power and uniqueness.
About the Director(s): VARSHA PANIKAR (She/Her) is an upcoming queer filmmaker, poet and artist who likes to tell stories by blending the medium of poetry, performance, art, moving images and sound. Driven by an unyielding desire to constantly create, regardless of the medium, she likes to do a bit of everything; be it advertising, independent audio-visual endeavors or delving into the sphere of art, poetry and performance.
SAAD NAWAB (HIM/HIS) His journey to be a storyteller of significance led him from the conservative landscape of the Middle East to a strict boarding school in the mountains of Western India to the prestigious hallways of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda where he graduated with an honors degree in English. He ended up in Bombay somehow and came under the tutelage of some of India’s most respected filmmakers like Ram Madhvani, Sunhil Sippy and Dante Ariola, who taught him the ways of visual storytelling. With an MFA in Film Production from Florida State University, Saad’s narrative short film “Frankenstein’s Light” is the recipient of the rare and prestigious Director’s Guild of America award among many many others .He is one of the few Indians to have won this award. His other films, as well as those he has worked on in various capacities, have won several awards themselves and have been invited to screen in film festivals across the world.
What Are You Wanting For? | Directed by Alli Logout Two bad bitches fall in and out of love in record time
About the Director: Alli Logout (they/them) is a black, gender non-conforming filmmaker and performance artist residing in New Orleans LA. Most recently Logout won the 2019 Barbra Hammer Lesbian Experimental Filmmaking Grant. Their work creates cinematic social experiments in collaboration with non-professional actors to author counter-narratives from within their own communities and subcultures. Centering Blackness and Queerness in the South, the creation of those identities, and their deconstruction, Logout’s work utilizes the material of lived-in stories to propose a new form of being, not as a fantasy, but with feet firmly planted in the now. Their work has been seen nationally and internationally, including exhibitions and screenings at the SOMArts Cultural Center in San Francisco, BFI Flare, London, Mix NYC, New York, and the Korea Queer Culture Festival, Seoul. When not making films they are often touring as the writer and vocalist of the punk band, Special Interest. Logout also is co-founder and co-director of Studio LaLaLa, a black and trans operated production studio focused on aiding underprivileged communities in the creation of their own narratives.
Transplant | Directed by Steven Liang A dancer tries to bridge the gap between him and his mother when he discovers that a house is not a home.
About the Director: Steven Liang (he/they) is an award-winning filmmaker based in Los Angeles and the Bay Area. His work is supported by Film Independent, NBC Universal, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Visual Communications, Outfest and Ryan Murphy Television. Steven received his BA from Pitzer College and MFA from UCLA Film School.
Passing | Directed by Lucah Rosenberg Lee Passing profiles the lives of three transgender men of color as they navigate their lives in Toronto, New York and Houston.
About the Director: Lucah Rosenberg Lee is a Toronto based independent filmmaker, speaker & entrepreneur. Lucah was adopted from the Dominican Republic into a Toronto family where he developed his love of activism through film and his passion to tell stories that will move people. Last year Lucah spoke to over 20,000 students from British Columbia to Newfoundland about his personal experience being a trans man in today’s society and the importance of LGBTQ representation, kindness and acceptance. Currently, Lucah is the Chief Brand Consultant at the creative agency Natural Element, a company that works to create compelling pieces of digital content in today’s modern marketing landscape.
Care For You | Directed by OHYUNG (he/they) OHYUNG's Care For You is a tender and heartfelt music video that captures a queer Asian American intimacy unfolding in dreamy, lush vignettes set in a 1960’s diner. The music video draws deeply from visuals inspired by Wong Kar-wai's In The Mood For Love.
About the Director: OHYUNG is an experimental rap artist and film composer based in Brooklyn. In 2020 OHYUNG released their second album PROTECTOR (Chinabot), which was described by Bandcamp as “a fascinating, shape-shifting record.” OHYUNG’s first record Untitled (Chinese Man with Flame) was released in physical cassette recently by Deathbomb Arc.
Swinguerra | Directed by Barbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca In the sports court of a public school, dancers rehearse highly disciplined routines under the watchful eye of a choreographer. Tensions haunt personal desires as they are observed by a rival troupe.
About the Director(s): Bárbara Wagner (Brasília, 1980) and Benjamin de Burca (Munich, 1975) develop a collaborative practice with the ones they portray. Their films take the form of musicals that defy conventional notions of genre as the fictional and documentary dimensions become hybrid in order to establish a third language-territory. Among their recent shows are 67th, 68th and 69th Berlinale, 32nd São Paulo Biennial, 5th Skulptur Projekte Münster and 58th Biennale di Venezia.
Got Game? | Directed by Fatimah Asghar (she/her) After a long period of sexual drought, Khudejha is awkward as hell and desperately wants to hook up with someone again. Newly single and with the help of her wing-woman Natasha, their new adventure at a kink party awaits.
About the Director: Fatimah Asghar is a poet, filmmaker, educator and performer. Her work has appeared in many journals, including POETRY Magazine, Gulf Coast, BuzzFeed Reader, The Margins, The Offing, Academy of American Poets and many others. Her work has been featured on new outlets like PBS, NPR, Time, Teen Vogue, Huffington Post, and others. In 2011 she created a spoken word poetry group in Bosnia and Herzegovina called REFLEKS while on a Fulbright studying theater in post-genocidal countries. She is a member of the Dark Noise Collective, a 2017 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship recipient and a Kundiman Fellow. Her chapbook After came out on Yes Yes Books fall 2015. She is the writer and co-creator of Brown Girls, an Emmy-nominated web series that highlights friendships between women of color and the writer of If They Come For Us (One World, August 2018), a collection of poems that explores the legacy of Partition and orphan-hood. Along with Safia Elhillo, she is the editor of Halal If You Hear Me (Haymarket 2019), an anthology that celebrates Muslim writers who are also women, queer, gender nonconforming and/or trans.
Heavenly Brown Body | Directed by Leslie Foster (he/him) "Heavenly Brown Body" is a theatrical version of a four-channel video installation that portrays a ritual of cleansing and blessing, which uses the text of Mark Aguhar’s (she/her) poem “Litanies to My Heavenly Brown Body” as a vibrant and rich queer liturgy.
About the Director: Through his work with experimental film and installation, Leslie Foster (he/him) seeks to create fleeting pocket universes and contemplative ecologies that explore Black and queer futurity through the lens of dream logic. A graduate of Southern Adventist University with a B.S. in Film Production and a B.A. in International Studies, Leslie’s aesthetic sensibility comes from a childhood spent growing up in Southeast Asia, straddling multiple Asian cultures and his own American roots. His work, which has been exhibited internationally and includes two solo shows, is designed to quietly subvert existing power dynamics while inviting viewers into challenging dialogs through the beautifully strange. This fall, Leslie will be pursuing an MFA in Design Media Arts at UCLA. He currently serves as the Director of Art Residency for Level Ground and fantasizes about running away with a sea-faring band of nomadic artists.