The audience looked on in amazement as an interracial, plus-sized lesbian couple moaned onscreen. They were the stars of an erotic scene in “’Cause I Got it Like That,” a film by a Mills College student that was screened with three others as part of the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project.
REELVivid, a student group that once a month shows films by and about queer and trans people of color, invited the local queer filmmakers to screen their original work at Mills March 12.
Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project’s mission is to promote the creation, exhibition and distribution of films addressing social justice issues of concern to queer women of color. The creators say the films are created to authentically reflect their life stories and build community through art and activism.
“The reason I wanted to invite a number of filmmakers from Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project is because it’s a really great resource that’s right across the Bay,” said junior Nia King, the Solidarity Lounge Manager and a member of REELVivid.
Jezebel Delilah X, a second year creative writing MFA student at Mills, created the first film “‘Cause She Got it Like That,” a film about weight, body and image. The documentary shows various LGBTQ women celebrating their plus-sized bodies as they journey toward self-acceptance.
“I made the film to celebrate sexuality, to celebrate fat bodies who have sex… and create a space for fat bodies to be romantic and fun and frivolous and erotic,” X said.
Also among the filmmakers was the award-winning Jennifer Lin, an Mills MBA student who won the Best Emerging Filmmaker award at the 2008 San Francisco Women’s Film Festival. The political activist, well-known for her numerous appearances on TV, radio and in print as an Asian advocate for marriage equality, took on the controversial issue of immigration in her latest project.
Her film, “Look Again” is a narrative film about racial profiling and immigration and features two lesbian characters, one Asian American and another white Australian. The Asian American woman is deported by the FBI because they believe she is not a U.S. citizen, while the white Australian woman is the one who is undocumented.
A silent film directed by Margo Rivera-Weiss, a queer mixed-race artist, was also shown. “Tienes Hambre” is a romance film set in a Latino neighborhood in Oakland. It features two lesbians, one femme and the other butch, who feed each other tacos from a taco truck in a convertible car.
“I made the film ‘Tienes Hambres’ because I wanted to make a film that showed queer Latin people and, in addition to that, queer butch at home in a very Latino neighborhood, which is the Fruitvale neighborhood in Oakland where I live,” Rivera-Weiss said. “It was kind of a homecoming, in a way, to feel comfortable in my own identity and in my own neighborhood.”
The final original piece was by Lex Hall, a filmmaker who graduated from Mills in 2009. Her work focuses on issues of identity politics and surveillance. “Myself and I” is an experimental film starring Hall that documents femme identity. She created the film when she was a student at Mills and plans to premiere her latest film this summer at the Queer Women of Color Media Project’s Sixth Annual Queer Women of Color Film Festival.
After the screenings, the filmmakers held a panel discussion to discuss their creative processes and answer questions from the audience.
“Those events always encourage me to feel a part of the community. I think that often we’re divided… and I would like to see communities feel more able to come together,” said junior Terrilynn Cantlon, who said she appreciated the diversity of the films.
Queer Women of Color Media Project’s sixth annual film festival will be held June 11 to 13 in San Francisco.