About this project
Hi friends & soon to be friends,
Feel free to join our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/queergenius/
Follow Director Catherine Pancake for project updates on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/cathrnepancake
We have added a few new rewards to our campaign! We are now offering a signed edition of "Chelsea Girls" by Eileen Myles. We have also added a custom, limited-edition "thank you" Queer Genius postcard for $12 accessible to more of our fans. Check out updates for a quick video featuring Eileen.
I’m Catherine Pancake the director of the feature documentary film “Queer Genius.” Our film explores the lives of four queer female artists: Eileen Myles, Barbara Hammer, Jibz Cameron (Dynasty Handbag) and Shannon Funchess (Light Asylum.) I’m thrilled to present their ground-breaking stories and share beautiful cinematic images of their incredible creative work.
Our subjects are constantly breaking down barriers in life and art as they live and practice as openly queer women confronting fame, family, gender, sexuality, and living as full-time artists in the US. Their stories are unprecedented and are essential viewing for everyone who chooses their unique own path in life regardless of what challenges they face.
I’ve been very lucky to garner support for my work nationally and internationally through the Museum of Modern Art, Sundance Channel, PBS, Paul Robeson Award, Edes Foundation, and Temple University among many others. I'm also very honored to teach as an Assistant Professor in the acclaimed Film and Media Arts Program at Temple University. "Queer Genius" marks a new level of commitment for me working with larger crews and a visually stunning, poetic approach to reveal the lives of women & those in LGBTQI community with great emotional and intellectual depth. Consulting Creative Producer LA Teodosio (Little Men, AWOL) has provided crucial advice & guidance to take us to the next level. I hope you will join our team in bringing this unique film to its final release!
"Queer Genius" what does that mean?
"Queer" is an ever evolving term that our subjects and supporting voices discuss. What possibilities does the term open up for gay/bi/other as well as straight people? How can we be inclusive without being exclusive? We worked with queer theorists Heather Love (UPenn) and Tavia Nyong'o (NYU) to provide research and context for these questions. Our subjects and others discuss how this term bears on their own lives.
"Genius" is generally associated with masculinist individualism, but historically Gertrude Stein re-defined it as: "That is what genius is to be the same time listening and telling really listening and really telling." How can we further examine this notion of cultural sharing and productivity celebrating our visionaries and including all artists? This film asks such questions and engages you to join in the discussion.
We have been working with our subjects since 2012 and each subject's unique story includes core interviews, beautiful verite cinematography of live events, as well as intriguing historical material.
The film follows the poet Eileen Myles from NYC to their home in Marfa TX. We track their celebrated re-release of "Chelsea Girls" as well as discuss their famed involvement with the television show "Transparent." Myles provides insights to their creative process, life-long class struggle, and history as a very visible gender queer person as they contemplate a new found international fame.
Eileen Myles is the author of nineteen books including I Must Be Living Twice: New & Selected Poems, and a 2015 reissue of Chelsea Girls. Eileen is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in non-fiction, an Andy Warhol/Creative Capital Arts Writers grant, four Lambda Book Awards, and the Shelley Prize from the PSA. In 2016 Myles received a Creative Capital grant and the Clark Prize for excellence in art writing. Currently they teach at NYU and Naropa University and live in Marfa TX and New York.
"Queer Genius" tracks visual artist Barbara Hammer from her NYC studio, to upstate NY, and screenings of her award-winning films. Hammer's interdisciplinary practice is explored through the first solo gallery show of her paintings & drawings in NYC. Hammer discusses her life, triumphs and challenges as an out queer artist since the 1970s as well as her current projects as she continues to make work in her studio daily at 76.
Barbara Hammer is a visual artist working primarily in film and video. She is considered a pioneer of queer cinema. In 2013 she received a Guggenheim Fellowship for the film "Waking Up Together" on the poet Elizabeth Bishop. She was awarded the same year a Marie Walsh Sharpe artist studio to work on performance projection. Hammer was honored with a month long retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art in 2010. In February 2012 she had a month long retrospective at The Tate Modern in London.
"Queer Genius" explores Shannon Funchess's work in the band Light Asylum whose song "Dark Allies" became a pop club hit particularly with queer audiences. Shannon discusses her early years in the intense 90s Seattle music scene up to her present work on the next Light Asylum album. The film documents her experiences preparing for and embarking on an international tour with band "The Knife" in which she was a featured performer.
Shannon Funchess is a lifelong vocalist, electronic musician, and sound artist performing and touring internationally with Fishbone, Light Asylum, and The Knife. She frequently performs as a DJ in large clubs across the US and Europe.
"Queer Genius" follows Jibz Cameron as "Dynasty Handbag" from NYC to LA documenting her performance practice from Jack Black's "Festival Supreme" on the Santa Monica Pier to her work "Soggy Glasses" on the Lower East Side of NYC. Cameron shares her history from noisey punky pieces in the 90s to her recent theatrical successes in LA. As the camera tracks her, Cameron's uniquely queer and subversive practice appears to be on the brink of a un-expected major break-through.
Jibz Cameron has presented performance and film works internationally at the New Museum, LAMoCA, BAM, REDCAT, Centre Pompidou, Festival Supreme, the Abrons and many, many more.
"Queer Genius" has been extremely lucky to work with some of the most cutting edge female, queer and trans cinematographers, writers, and musicians practicing today. We owe a huge amount to Laura Terruso (Hello, My Name is Doris,) Michelle Lawler (Hudson Valley Ballers, Whitney Biennial,) Jen Schneider, Razan AlSalah, Mark Right, Emily Bate, Camae Ayewa, Kayla Watkins and Haley Martin. We especially thank our Assistant Producers, Ryan McGinnis, Cara Aguado and Theresa Pope-Williams.
The majority of our principle photography is complete. We have thus far been supported by a competitive fellowship won by Catherine Pancake from the Edes Foundation through the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as well as a competitive grant from the Temple University Center for the Arts Vice Provost.
We have several final shoots and post-production tasks to accomplish in the next three to six months. We are currently beginning our post-production groundwork which means hiring and collaborating with film professionals to assist with editing, final sound mix, and color correction. We are also in the process of clearing the rights for historical and archival footage including licensing fees. Your assistance is crucial at this moment so we can continue to move forward with the strict aesthetic and professional standards we have set for this project.
The music for our film's sound design is also being produced by carefully selected queer artists pairing visual and sound artists together for a unique and compelling musical score. Our sound artists to date are Camae Ayewa (Moor Mother,) Emily Bate (Mount Moriah, A Ride on the Irish Creme,) and Sarah Hennies (2016 New Music USA Grantee.)
Thanks so much for your contributions and every contribution helps!
Our Kickstarter will end on Friday, September 2nd, 2016. We are looking forward to your support! Please donate by hitting choosing one of our rewards or hitting the Donate button. You do not "have" to choose a reward but we will be super happy to provide the rewards if you do!
**Credit on our Website: This is our website http://www.queergenius.com We are creating a special section of the site to list your name. As we complete the project, you will have a mark showing that you've been supporting all along!
**Catherine Pancake Inspiration List: Catherine is not only an artist and filmmaker, but also a full-time professor at Temple University. Research and theory are built into every project she undertakes. This annotated list in the form of an emailed PDF will give you insight into the cultural touchstones that inspired and supported this film.
**Portrait of a Queer Genius Artist: We will request which artist you would like to see in your digital portrait. After you send us your choice, we will deliver a carefully selected 1920x1080 350dpi image of your artist from our digital film files to your email address. If there are size restrictions on your email, let us know and we can share on google drive or use a transfer service.
**Link to Queer Genius Trailer: We will send you a private password protected link to our special extended trailer. You will see footage that no one other than our immediate production team has laid eyes upon :)
**Digital Download of our Film: After the commercial release of our film with a respected distributor, we will notify you and send a zipped file of the film as a universally playable .mpeg file as well as special additional scenes from each artist. As with the digital download, if your email has a file size limit, let us know and will work out a transfer service.
**Queer Genius T-shirt: We will send you an email asking for your size and preferred T-shirt color: black or white. The t-shirt will be printed with our Queer Genius Logo as per the below:
**Black Diamonds DVD: "Black Diamonds" is Catherine Pancake's first award-winning feature film about communities in West Virginia coming together to fight the intrusive and many times illegal practice of mountaintop removal. The copies will be signed and mailed. Film website: http://www.blackdiamondsmovie.com
**Lunch with Barbara Hammer & Consultation with Laura Terruso: We will contact you and speak personally about arranging these awards.
**Executive Producer: We will call you and speak with your personally about this award.
Catherine Pancake's website: http://www.catherinepancake.com
Queer Genius website: http://www.queergenius.com
Risks and challenges
We feel confident that our film our be completed on time and will be released to acclaim. Our history with feature film production bears this out. We hope that you will communicate with us any questions, thoughts or issues about our rewards. We will promise to deliver them on time, but hope if we slip up in our delivery, you will contact us and let us know.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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