Portraits of Resistance


TOTAL RUNNING TIME: 79m
GENRE: Aging/Elders | Asian/Pacific Islander | Biography/History | Black/African American | Documentary | Gay | Homophobia | Lesbian | Middle Eastern | South Asian
SECTION: Short | Shorts Programs

These five short documentaries paint brilliant portraits of resistance and bravery in the face of insurmountable challenges.

The Colour of His Hair merges drama and documentary in an impressionistic meditation on queer life outside the law, where a professional couple living in London fall victims of a blackmail scam. Warning Shot addresses the death of James H. Wakasa, who was shot by military police at an internment camp during World War II. This queer experimental film essay juxtaposes three conflicting accounts regarding the circumstances and cause of his death. Half a Life pairs the intimate narration of a young, Egyptian gay activist with highly stylized animation, bringing the streets of Cairo to life through his firsthand account. The Streets Are Ours: Two Lives Cross in Karachi is about two women: Sabeen Mahmud, who paved the way for out actress/writer Fawzia Mirza (Signature Move, Frameline41) to perform her controversial one-woman show across Pakistan. Director Matt Wolf (Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell, Frameline32) returns with a stunning short about civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, titled Bayard & Me. Bayard adopted his younger lover, Walter Naegle, to obtain the legal protections of marriage. In this intimate love story, Walter remembers Bayard and a time when gay marriage was inconceivable.

— KEVIN SCHAUB

This program contains discussions of homophobic violence and state-sanctioned violence.

FILMS IN THIS PROGRAM

The Colour of His Hair

DIRECTOR Sam Ashby | 2017 | UK | 23m
Based on an unrealized film script written in 1964 for The Homosexual Law Reform Society, a British organization that campaigned for the decriminalization of homosexual relations between men, The Colour of His Hair merges drama and documentary in an impressionistic meditation on queer life outside the law. The script tells of John and Peter, a young professional couple living in London who are the victims of a blackmail scam. Documentary footage, news clippings, archival films, and oral history recordings are woven around this central drama.

Warning Shot

DIRECTOR Tina Takemoto | 2016 | USA | 10m
One death. Three versions of the crime. James H. Wakasa, a 63-year-old Japanese American bachelor, was shot to death by military police at Topaz internment camp during World War II. Was it justifiable homicide, an accidental fatality, or second-degree murder? This queer experimental film essay uses the Rashomon effect to juxtapose three conflicting accounts regarding the circumstances and cause of his death.

Half a Life

DIRECTOR Tamara Shogaolu | 2016 | Egypt, Indonesia, Netherlands, USA | 13m | In Arabic with English subtitles
This animated short documentary pairs the intimate narration of a young, Egyptian gay activist with highly stylized animation, bringing the streets of Cairo to life through his firsthand account. He shares a traumatizing encounter that prompted him to become a gay-rights activist in Egypt’s unstable, increasingly dangerous and oppressive social climate.

The Streets Are Ours: Two Lives Cross in Karachi

DIRECTOR Michelle Fiordaliso | 2016 | USA, Pakistan | 16m
This documentary short is about two women: Sabeen Mahmud, founder of Karachi performance space T2F, who paved the way for American actress/writer Fawzia Mirza (Signature Move, Frameline41) to perform her controversial one-woman show across Pakistan.

Bayard & Me

DIRECTOR Matt Wolf | 2016 | USA | 17m
Director Matt Wolf (Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell, Frameline32) returns with a stunning short about Bayard Rustin. Rustin was the organizer of the March on Washington and one of the leaders of the civil rights movement. In the 1980s, Bayard adopted his younger lover, Walter Naegle, to obtain the legal protections of marriage. In this intimate love story, Walter remembers Bayard and a time when gay marriage was inconceivable. He reflects on the little-known phenomena of intergenerational gay adoption and its connection to the civil rights movement.

CO-PRESENTED BY
San Francisco DocFest