Dispatches from Cleveland

Director: Catherine Gund
2017 | USA | 75m
GENRE: Activism | Black/African American | Death/Dying | Discrimination | Documentary | Female-to-Male | Human Rights | Male-to-Female | Politics | Queer | Racism | Transgender | Violence
SECTION: Episodic
Expected Guests: Director, Catherine Gund & Producer, Daresha Kyi


Colorful and fuzzy toys cover every available surface of the gazebo, serving as a makeshift memorial for 12-year-old Tamir Rice, another life taken by state-sanctioned violence against black Americans. The authorities could have said anything about the youth, if not for the surveillance cameras…and even with them, local prosecutor Tim McGinty still shifted blame to a child for his own death.

The Rice case both begins and weaves through Dispatches from Cleveland, a moving docuseries with five short chapters that showcase how intersecting social justice movements are empowering marginalized groups, including those within the transgender community.

In Cleveland, twenty-one percent of homes are vacant. The population is decreasing, and the economic disparity between races is appalling. Through interviews with local activists and the Rice family, we see community organizing and revitalization, demands for transparency and accountability within a flawed justice system, efforts to increase voter participation, and endeavors to bring together groups that have more in common than they realize. As the city mourns Tamir, they must also mourn Cemia ‘Cece’ Dove, a trans woman who was killed and then, after her death, incorrectly gendered and vilified in public discussions. It is impossible to talk about the victims of a broken system without including the marginalized of the marginalized.

A testament to the resilience and untapped power of a unified community, this series shows how civil disruption and operating outside the current power structure are necessary for change.

This film is a recipient of a Frameline Completion Fund grant.


National Center for Lesbian Rights