Assume Nothing
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Assume Nothing

New Zealand, 2009, 80 Minute Running Time
North American Premiere
Genre/Subjects: Activism, Arts & Literature, Documentary, Gender, Intersex, Lesbian, Transgender
Program: Documentary
Language: English

DIRECTOR: Kirsty MacDonald

In a South Pacific nation comprised of many cultures, the diversity that comprises the transgender worldwide family is captured by the artistry of Rebecca Swan.

The New Zealand photographer combines parallel artistic, activist and gender transformative processes in her work. Swan’s personal and spiritual connection to the gender variant talent makes each photograph more of a progression than an image. Her understanding of the complexity of the gender spectrum (she describes it as “spherical”) takes her work to the next level. Assume Nothing delves deeper into those represented in Swan’s artwork as she collaborates with individuals who are given control over their representation.

Intersex activist, Mani Bruce Mitchell, shares with us hir personal memories of childhood through rare photographs taken in the 1950s. Theatrical performer, Ema Lyon, reflects on androgynous life experiences, including pregnancy, and introduces the gender neutral Maori pronoun “ia” and indigenous queer term “takataapui.” Transgender human rights activist and poet, Jack Byrne, offers Pakeha (NZ born of European descent) perspective of his aptitude as both a drag king and drag queen. Accomplished Japanese-Samoan fa’afafine art photographer, Shigeyuki Kihara, expresses that cisgenderism is the alternative gender identity to transgenderism, and not the other way around.

This film is a pioneering effort from a small country geographically isolated from progressive politics. In a natural paradise, we are encouraged to Assume Nothing. — TEXAS STARR

Text Voting Code: D317

Copresented by

Accord Alliance and SF Camerawork

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