Life on Two Spectrums

As part of my course at UCL I recently completed a short observational film called ‘Life on Two Spectrums’. It is a short documentary project looking at the experiences of members of the LGBTQ+ community with Autism and Asperger’s syndrome. The film follows Dan ‘Tia Anna’ Kahn, a drag queen with Asperger’s Syndrome who founded A.S.P.E.C.S (Autistic and Aspergers Persons of Every Category of (Queer) Sexuality) a support and networking group to help address the needs of the neurodiverse members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Watch below or at https://vimeo.com/199202763

Life on Two Spectrums: Autism and the LGBTQ+ community. from Elizabeth-Valentina on Vimeo.

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Short Sighted: Do we need a Shorts Category? Oscars 2016

According to the Academy’s guidelines, a short film is anything with a running time of 40 minutes or less (including credits).
The short film awards stem from the time short films were shown before feature length films at cinemas before the explosion of television and they were seen by a wider audience. Originally there were two different shorts categories, the first ‘Short subject – one reel’ and the second ‘short subject – two reel’. The categories were dependent solely on the number of reels of film used, generic factors were not taken into consideration.
But times have changed and the academy now has three categories for shorts: the short film branch administrates the animated and live-action shorts category awards whilst the documentary branch administers the documentary short subject award. Some academy members want to eliminate the shorts category in an effort reduce the overall run time of the televised Oscar ceremony. They argue that it is an outdated tradition, because we no longer see shorts before features in the cinema. It would however be a real shame for them to scrap the shorts awards. It is a category that student filmmakers can apply to, thanks to a clause in the academy’s regulations for the shorts categories. Although this year, no students took home the prize, Shorts are a crucial category for up-and-coming filmmakers as it gives them a chance to break into the industry.
The shorts that took home the awards this year:
Best Animated Short Film- Bear Story (11 mins)
Bear Story is the first Chilean film to win an Oscar and was produced by small Chilean independent production company Punkrobot Studios. It is a unique telling of the violent days in Chile under Pinochet’s control. Before Bear Story Gabriel Osorio had directed animated kids TV series Flipos but apart from that he has no major credits listed under his name. So for him to win the Oscar can really help establish himself further in the industry, proving how important the short awards can be in recognising future talent.
Best Documentary Short- A Girl in the River: the Price of Forgiveness (39 mins) 
A Girl in the River follows a girl in Pakistan who survived an ‘honour killing’. It was produced by HBO and was director’s Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy second Oscar (the first she received in 2012 winning for ‘Saving Face’.)

 

 

 

Best Live Action Short Film- Stutterer (12 mins)
Stutterer is the first film written, directed and edited by Irish Filmmaker Benjamin Cleary. Clearly was the only Irish nominee to take home the award. It explores the world of a man with a severe speech impediment as he tries to take his online relationships into the real world.

King Doc UK

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Our latest production is in full swing and we will be filming in the last week of this month (January).

We asked drag kings and academics from around the world to tell us more about what drag performance means to them…

The documentary will explore the resilient spirit of the people who perform masculinity on stage. If you don’t already know, Drag Kings are male impersonators, often women, who embody the mannerisms of men. Our film will follow myself and a young performing drag king, Benjamin Butch, as we uncover the core reasons that performers choose gender impersonation as a form of artistic expression. Other contributors will include drag kings Sammy Silver and Wolfy .

We have 9 days left to raise the rest of our budget and we are offering a variety of fabulous reward in return for donations. If you would like to support us please visit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1300988717/king-doc-uk-a-short-film-about-the-uks-drag-kings?ref=discovery .

We are also hosting a drag night in my university town of York, in a wonderful LGBTQ+ friendly venue Thomas’s of York . If you are in the area and would like to attend your name can be added to the guest list as a ‘reward’ for donating.

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While the film project is still dragging on…. You can follow our progress (and see pictures from the event) on our social media pages.

Find us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using the hash tag #kingdocuk for updates on the project!

Documentary Diary: Dreams of a Life

Taking the advice given to me during the Second Light Documentary Lab, I decided to watch Carol Morley’s Docudrama, ‘Dreams of a Life’.

The film tells the tale of Joyce Carol Vincent, a londoner who died in her bedsit and remained there for three years, undiscovered. It begins with interviews with her long-lost friends and colleagues that narrate the story or Joyce’s life as the filmmakers begin to piece together this woman’s untold story. It was revealed that she was beautiful, popular and had three sisters, it is mind-boggling how her death went unnoticed. The re-enactments are haunting and the documentary is incredibly thought-provoking.

Documentary Diary: No Impact Man

Seeing as, making documentaries is something I’m really interested in doing in the future, I thought I should probably start to write about the documentaries I watch, what I enjoyed about them, or what I disliked about .

My first Documentary Diary post will be on ‘No Impact Man’. The concept is very simple, a family from Manhattan embark on a year long project to entirely eradicate their carbon footprint and make everything they do eco-friendly.  They would do this by following steps each leading them to a ‘greener’ lifestyle.  The Beavan family go further than just putting a recycling bin out. They cycle instead of travelling in their car. They don’t use carrier bags for their shopping, in fact they don’t buy anything unnecessary at all, only local whole foods with no packaging. What really blew me away was when they stopped using electricity, meaning they couldn’t use their fridge, or their lights and could only use their laptops using energy from a single solar panel on the roof.

Now, obviously, when Colin Beavan came up with the concept for the film and book, he wasn’t expecting everyone to watch to abandon their modern ways of life and resort to a 100% eco-friendly way of living, something he does stress this throughout the film, he just wanted people to realise that each person, each household, had a huge impact on the environment and it’s little changes that can help end the environmental crisis. An important message that was showcased in a really honest and heartfelt manner.