Trans films – the most powerful stories at the festival

 

When selecting the films for this year's programme, our attention was drawn to a large number of films with transgender issues. In the end, we will be presenting three such films at the festival and we highly recommend that you see them. Why? Because of their powerful, beautiful stories that will help guide you in this topic, for instance, when talking about public restrooms and the rights of transgender people. After all, that debate will one day come to the Czech Republic too.

One of the nicest couples at this year's festival is transgender woman Cleopatra Kambugu and her partner Nelson Kasaija from Uganda. They will be coming to Prague to introduce the documentary The Pearl of Africa, which was made about them by director Jonny Vallström. The lovers left behind Ugandan society, which threatens them with death, and took a trip to Thailand, where Cleopatra will undergo gender reassignment surgery. Only then will she finally be able to officially change her name and begin to live a normal life with Nelson.

Trans themes are also at the centre of a documentary from Cuba entitled Transit Havana. Dutch filmmaker Daniel Abma follows a group of transgender people who are waiting for their turn for gender reassignment surgery, which is rationed in Cuba. Foreign doctors come to Havana just once a year and operate only on a few select individuals. In the film you will even meet Raul Castro's daughter Mariela, an activist who champions the rights of LGBT persons (of course in the Cuban way). The film will be introduced in Prague by the director himself, who will be accompanied by Dutch trans activist Alex Bakker, who convinced him to film in Cuba.

In the documentary Kiki about the highly stylised American underground dance scene, you will meet a number of friendly dancers, including several trans people. One of them is Giu Mary Love from New York, who has undergone a difficult transition period of her own. Her involvement in the kiki scene soon grew into activism in the field of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Another documentary on trans topics at One World is the short film I Am What I Am Not, which will be presented as part of a special screening of video reports by Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. The main character is Tapír, who grew up in the Soviet Union during the Brezhnev era, survived a war as a member of the Russian army in Nagorno-Karabakh, and then was one of the first Russians to undergo a sex-change operation. Now in Moscow he provides security at LGBT events, which are under siege in Russia.


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