Masculinity/Femininity is an experimental film based project that aims to question normative notions of gender. Shot primarily on Super 8mm film (but simultaneously shot digitally and incorporating text-based elements), the project will operate as a cross between academic and practical critique -- acting more as a document of gender construction rather than a documentary about gender construction.
Here's the breakdown:
It all started as a short film that combined monologues that James Franco and Russell Sheaffer wrote and directed. The 22 minute short film that resulted was screened for months as a part of James' solo show The Dangerous Book Four Boys in NY and Berlin and got some great reviews -- including being deemed the "best by far" by the New York Times. V Man even said it was one of the pieces which demonstrated "irresolute, pop culture-inflected brilliance.”
James Franco in Masculinity & Me
Pretty immediately, though, Russell knew it wasn't finished. There were still so many more people to talk to, so much more to say, and so many more performances to document -- and he's been working solo to expand the original themes into a larger project ever since.
The project aims to present prominent filmmakers, film theorists, gender theorists, and artists of all kinds with a few simple questions about their bodies and adolescence. From there, each participant is asked to "perform" (in any way they like) a piece that deals with the issues at the heart of normativity and gender construction. Each performance is profoundly different but, together, the project acts as a document of gender deconstruction and exploration, questioning the social binary commonly seen as Masculinity/Femininity.
So far, we've filmed (and are scheduled to film) some incredible performances with some phenomenal individuals (including Barbara Hammer, Monika Treut, Cheryl Dunye, Linda Williams, B. Ruby Rich, Susan Stryker, Pratibha Parmar, Jack Halberstam, Tom Waugh, John Greyson, M.M. Serra, Greg Youmans, Chris Vargas, Amy Villarejo, Harry Benshoff, Yvonne Tasker, Michele Aaron, and Juan Suarez -- with more to come), but we desperately need your help to continue. We've been traveling and shooting as cheaply as possible, but we need funds to finish shooting (including travel costs, equipment costs, film stock, film processing and transfer) and to continue on to post-production (including an edit and sound mix amongst many other post-production processes).
$7,500 is the minimum we need to continue the project, it would get us through the bare essentials of production, but would not include any post-production costs. The more money we raise, the more performances we will be able to film and the further along we will be able to get in post-production.
Cheryl Dunye (upcoming shoot)
Susan Stryker (upcoming shoot)
Pratibha Parmar (upcoming shoot)
Greg Youmans and Chris Vargas (upcoming shoot)
Barbara Hammer in Masculinity/Femininity
Juan Suarez in Masculinity/Femininity
M.M. Serra in Masculinity/Femininity
Michele Aaron in Masculinity/Femininity
Russell Sheaffer in Masculinity & Me
"Can't Stop Masturbating" by Russell Sheaffer (in a Kickstarter edition of 15)
Masculinity/Femininity in the news:
- (60 days)