DIRECTOR: Sara Jordenö

Bay Area Premiere

More than two decades after Paris Is Burning introduced the world to the New York ballroom scene, it’s time to clear the dance floor for Kiki: this vibrant, eye-opening documentary fast-forwards us into today’s unapologetically flamboyant and political subculture of performance, now centered on LGBTQ youth of color, for whom dance is far more than performance.

True to its legacy, Kiki delivers over-the-top ballroom scenes pulsing with creativity and energy, as backs are slammed and chops are given—all underscored by music from Qween Beat. But director Sara Jordenö and co-writer Twiggy Pucci Garçon (a Kiki scene House Mother) take the motto of the ballroom youths to heart: “Not About Us Without Us.” In a full artistic collaboration, they bring us deep inside the lives of Kiki scene members like Gia Marie Love, Queen Mother of the House of Juicy—an activist and a shining star who displays equal portions of bravado and vulnerability—and Chi Chi Mizrahi, Founding Mother and creator of the House of Unbothered-Cartier, whose playful spirit and leadership allow community members to flourish.

Kiki reveals a world that is not only a fun safe haven for people who might feel on society’s margins, but also an important rallying point for youth development and activism. Although full of hope, Kiki’s participants are quick to point out that young people of color in LGBTQ communities still deal with disproportionate homicide and suicide rates, harassment by law enforcement, lack of access to life-saving resources, and homelessness—survival issues often left out of mainstream gay initiatives. Kiki bears joyous witness to dynamic young people overcoming adversity and lifting each other up in communities of chosen family, where they are not just surviving, but thriving.

— Angelique Smith

Kiki is a Frameline Completion Fund recipient.

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: D309

Co-presented by:
Museum of the African Diaspora
Swagger Like Us

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