FRAMELINE 41 initiated a pair of press days for those of us covering the festival, and it offered me a rare opportunity to talk to many of the participating filmmakers while they were all gathered together in one place. The result was my inspiration to do a pop quiz with them, and the question I sprang on them was “What is the importance of art in the time of Trump?”
Below are the answers I received, all of them insightful, all of them reaffirming the importance of the arts for everyone, no matter what their profession.
Mike Roma, writer/director of the wise and winsome comedy DATING MY MOTHER (and the equally delightful web series, Danny The Manny), emphasizes showing the queer community living regular lives.
Fawzia Mirza, co-writer/director/actor/producer of SIGNATURE MOVE, advocates comedy as a tool of rebellion. Her direct response to Trump is a film called THE MUSLIM TRUMP (TheMuslimTrump.com to watch online), and in finding our intersectional truth.
Valerie Weiss, who holds a Ph.D. in biophysics, and is the director of THE ARCHER, a story of vengeance set in the world of a corrupt juvenile justice system. She speaks of the need to tell stories that contribute to the betterment of society.
Bailey Noble and Jeanine Mason, co-stars of THE ARCHER, urge us to express ourselves and shine our light. They also recommend You Are a Circle: A Visual Meditation for the Creative Mind by Guillaume Wolf.
Legacy Bailey, the star who got a standing ovation at a Frameline screening of her film the lyrical love story BOBBYANNA, sees art as giving voice to those who are usually denied one, particularly in the black queer community. Legacy Bailey
Damon Cardasis, writer/director of the musical exploration of gender and religion, SATURDAY CHURCH, cites art’s ability to inspire people and to give them hope, and the parallels between the American present and Weimar Germany.
Laura Embry (pictured with one of the film’s subjects, Cari Searcy) is the co-director of ALABAMA BOUND, a doc that chronicles the struggle for marriage equality in that state. She speaks about the arts being at the edge of social movements, and spurring them on.
Carolyn Sherer, co-director of Alabama Bound, speaks to the way arts can educate, even in her conservative state.
Rudi Dolezal is the co-director, with Nick Broomfield, of WHITNEY: CAN I BE ME?, about what the singer was forced to hide in order to become a superstar. An Austrian, Dolezal addresses the responsibility of the artist to speak out. He also shares the current political climate in Austria, and the national reaction to Trump’s election. He also uses a few NSFW words.
Allison Tate is the writer/director of the sly short, CAROL SUPPORT GROUP, about a group of people attending a 12-step program to deal with their obsession with Todd Haynes’ film, CAROL. Tate asserts that art has never been more important because it is light, it is action in the face of feeling hopeless.
hazart, the team behind HAYGOOD EATS, a short about a bickering couple attempting to make a commercial for their catering business, speak to art as the one truly divine thing we leave behind.