21/05/2009: Meet our Guests: Jules Rosskam

Jules Rosskam responds to some questions about his work and vision, as well as what hes up to during the festival:

What is the most fun part about making a film?
That moment when you actually start to see the project take (visual) shape is quite incredible. On the other end of things, the dialog you hopefully get to have with people when it screens is just as great.

What genres interest you most in trans cinema and why?

Frankly I'm most invested in the films that break free of genre, or at least complicate our notions of genre. This is because I feel that the liminal space /between/ is this space of change, of transformation. I believe that there are restrictions that traditional filmic structures place on the kinds of stories we tell, and/or the kinds of experiences audiences can have while viewing those stories and so I would like to push more people to work outside of those restrictive spaces.

What is the future of trans cinema?
The future of trans cinema is wide open and that's what is so beautiful and exciting about making (and watching) work in this moment. I just hope that we move in the direction of less commodification and normalization of our narratives and always opt for the more complex and complicated versions of our stories. Again, I am speaking more of the ways we tell these stories rather than the kinds of stories that or told, though of course those are equally important.

Could you tell us about your next project, especially how+why you decided to work on it?

The project I'm currently working on is a collaboration with Sam Feder and Taylor Casey in which we're documenting the organizing and activist work of six transgender women of color in the U.S. who are working for social and economic justice. We're doing this for many reasons, however I think one of the most important is that so often when transwomen's stories are told it is through a victim narrative. While this is important, it is equally important to show the positive and transformative work that so many transwomen are not only doing, but leading.

What are you looking forward to doing/seeing while at NTGF 5?
I'm looking forward to seeing everything - I will spend every minute of my days watching whatever films I can. In addition to that I'm excited to get the chance to speak with folk who are working in or invested in trans cinema - what a great way to spend your time.

Jules Rosskam is an internationally acclaimed trans filmmaker, artist, educator and longtime activist who is dedicated to creating work that is by, for, and about trans/queer communities. Rosskam has directed two feature-length documentaries and four short films; S/he is currently in production on the third feature film, focusing on the activist and organizing work of transwomen in the U.S. Jules is also the recipient of numerous fellowships, awards and grants, including: Crossroads Foundation; Frameline Completion Fund Grant; Astrea Lesbian Foundation for Justice Grant; Funding Exchange Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media; Best New Film, Warsaw LGBT Film Festival -transparent; Top Documentaries on Gender, Curve Magazine -transparent; Top Filmmakers to Look Out For, Curve Magazine.