Thursday, May 4th, 2023

Queerguru’s TOP PICK OF MUST SEE MOVIES at TRANSlation Film Festival

Koko Da Doll
TRANSlations one of the most important trailblazing Film Festivals around the globe kicks off in Seattle today. Now in its 18th year, the Festival is dedicated to showcasing films by, for, and about trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people.


This year more than ever with the Trans Community under constant attack, we really need to celebrate, uplift, and support these communities through film, representation, and community conversations.    As we write there are currently  forty-four US states that have proposed bills that directly target the transgender, gender diverse, and nonbinary communities

As usual, the Queerguru Team has combed through the whole schedule and has come up with our


Plus the good news is if you cannot make it to Seattle (shame!) then almost all of the online programs of this year’s festival are available to view anywhere in the world.


Kokomo City. This trail-blazing documentary is the debut of  Miami local D. Smith who directed, produced, and edited it  The celebration at the very recent screening at OUTshine in Miami suddenly turned into honoring the life  of 35-year-old Koko Da Doll .  They had been tragically murdered in Atlanta becoming the latest victim of violence against Black transgender women. 

Their journey on how the film came to be made starts when out of pure frustration after D Smith suddenly got blackballed from the music industry when they started to transition. They went from being in great demand producing songs forLil Wayne, Keri HilsonBilly Porter and André 3000. to being unemployed, broke, and homeless.  In fact, Smith was still homeless when she began working on the project, with a camera being purchased by a host where she was once staying, and a laptop by a producer.

After being ousted for being transgender, Smith had the idea for a documentary film revolving around sex work, after wondering what would happen if she had to turn to it to sustain herself, and those who had no other options. So Kokomo City explores the lives of four transgender sex workers in New York and Georgia who were found by simply searching the internet. 




Writer-director Luis De Filippis marks her feature directorial debut with   Something You Said Last Night. which also marks the on-screen debut of Carmen Madonia.

The twentysomething Ren (Carmen Madonia) is an aspiring writer who joins her family on vacation to a beach resort but doesn’t share yeh fact she has just been after being fired from her job. She deeply resents having to now depend on her rather overbearing parents and starts to wonder if she will ever get her independence back 

Madonia shines in the film (she already picked up one Best Acting Award) and the chemistry between her and her family makes the story of her journey that much more compelling




NY-based Filipino trans filmmaker Isobel Sandoval’s heart-wrenching third feature film  LINGUA FRANCA is sadly one of those tales of the moment that seem like they can never end well.

It’s the story of Olivia (played by Sandoval) who is an undocumented Filipino caregiver who looks after Olga an elderly Russian-Jewish woman (Lynn Cohen) in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.  The irony of the situation is that Olga and her late husband had landed In the US  themselves some decades ago in very similar circumstances as Olivia.

This is not the story of Sandoval’s own life, but she is however in a position to relate to it personally and so adds a real sense of authenticity to it.   It’s a very downbeat drama that seems to deliberately avoid giving even a hint of optimism and hope, yet somehow Sandoval draws us in and keeps us invested until the very end.



SUMMER WITHIN is an intriguing film about the journey Summer Minerva a trans-dancer multidisciplinary artist from Staten Island takes to Southern Italy to connect with her ancestry.  She discovers the Femminielli, an ancient folkloric 3rd gender, and those who are keeping the Femminielli traditions alive and well in Napoli. As such,  as she learns about her ancient queer lineage she finds a greater sense of home in the process.   Totally spellbinding 





TRANSlations Film Fest begins on 5/4 and will end on 5/9. To see the whole program and book tickets https://threedollarbillcinema.org/


for full reviews of over 1500 queer films check out www.queerguru.com and whilst you are there be sure to subscribe to get all the latest raves and rants on queer cinema …best of all its FREE



P.S. You may also like to check out  :

Queerguru’s TOP PICKS of TRANSGENDER FILMS in 2022


Posted by queerguru  at  15:55



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