Jun 23, 2017 at 9:00 pm
Documentary Fundamentals: Kiki
This screening is a part of the 7-part workshop Documentary Fundamentals and is open to workshop participants and free with a series pass. Discussion led by director Sara Jordenö & producer Gabriel Sedgwick.
This year’s Documentary Fundamentals course is led by the duo behind Kiki, a dive into the LGBTQ Ball subculture in NYC. Join us for a special workshop session where we will screen the film and have a discussion with Gabriel Sedgwick, and Sara Jordeno after the film.
In New York City, LGBTQ youth-of-color gather out on the Christopher Street Pier, practicing a performance-based artform, Ballroom, which was made famous in the early 1990s by Madonna’s music video “Vogue” and the documentary “Paris Is Burning.” Twenty-five years after these cultural touchstones, a new and very different generation of LGBTQ youth have formed an artistic activist subculture, named the Kiki Scene.
KIKI follows seven characters from the Kiki community over the course of four years, using their preparations and spectacular performances at events known as Kiki balls as a framing device while delving into their battles with homelessness, illness and prejudice as well as their gains towards political influence and the conquering of affirming gender-expressions. In KIKI we meet Twiggy Pucci Garçon, the founder and gatekeeper for the Haus of Pucci, Chi Chi, Gia, Chris, Divo, Symba and Zariya. Each of these remarkable young people represents a unique and powerful personal story, illuminating the Kiki scene in particular, as well as queer life in the U.S. for LGBTQ youth-of-color as a whole.
Kiki scene-members range in age from young teens to 20’s, and many have been thrown out of their homes by their families or otherwise find themselves on the streets. As LGBTQ people-of-color, they constitute a minority within a minority. An alarming 50% of these young people are HIV positive. The Kiki scene was created within the LGBTQ youth-of- color community as a peer-led group offering alternative family systems (“houses”), HIV awareness teaching and testing, and performances geared towards self-agency. The scene has evolved into an important (and ever-growing) organization with governing rules, leaders and teams, now numbering hundreds of members in New York and across the U.S and Canada. Run by LGBTQ youth for LGBTQ youth, it draws strategies from the Civil Rights, Gay Rights and Black Power movements
94 min., 2016
“Kiki fluidly combines interviews with on-the-street and dance-floor scenes to create an exhilarating, multifaceted portrait of ballroom participants, a number of whom are L.G.B.T. activists. Kiki is also an indelible, must-see ode to gay New York.” — Manohla Dargis, New York Times
“Joyous, genuinely inspiring” – Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
In this film collaboration between Kiki gatekeeper, Twiggy Pucci Garçon, and Swedish filmmaker Sara Jordenö, viewers are granted exclusive access into this high-stakes world, where fierce Ballroom competitions serve as a gateway into conversations surrounding Black-and Trans-Lives Matter movements. This new generation of Ballroom youth use the motto, “Not About Us Without Us,” and KIKI in kind has been made with extensive support and trust from the community, including an exhilarating score by renowned Ballroom and Voguing Producer Collective Qween Beat. Twiggy and Sara’s insider-outsider approach to their stories breathes fresh life into the representation of a marginalized community who demand visibility and real political power.
Sara Jordenö is a NYC-based documentary filmmaker, visual artist, researcher and educator. Jordenö’s longitudinal projects often engage with communities who reside in the margins, focusing on their strategies of survival. In the process of making these works, Sara has collaborated with (and at times shared authorship with) sociologists, activists, community organizers and members of the communities that she investigates. Her feature documentary KIKI, which premiered in the US documentary competition at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016, has since been shown in over 60 festivals on five continents. KIKI, which was co-written with community leader Twiggy Pucci Garcon and produced by Story and Hard Working Movies, was awarded the Teddy Award for Best Documentary Film at the Berlin International Film Festival, the Kathleen Bryan Edwards Award for Human Rights at Full Frame Documentary Festival, The German Queerscope Award and Outfest’s Emerging Talent Award, among other awards. KIKI was released theatrically in Sweden in the summer of 2016 by Folkets Bio and the US in the spring of 2017 by Sundance Selects/IFC. For KIKI, Jordenö was nominated for the 2017 Film Independent Spirit Truer Than Fiction Award. In 2016 she was named by Variety and EFP as one of “Ten Women Filmmakers to Watch.”
Gabriel Sedgwick hails from Sweden but lives in New York City, where he has produced several award-winning films that have screened at festivals such as SXSW, New Directors/New Films, Urbanworld, BAM’s New Voices in Black Cinema, and Karlovy Vary, including Lanre Olabisi’s fiction features AUGUST THE FIRST and SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE (both distributed by Film Movement in the US). As Head of Production at Brooklyn-based production company Hard Working Movies, he also co-produced Jeremiah Zagar’s feature-length documentary CAPTIVATED: THE TRIALS OF PAMELA SMART, which premiered in competition at Sundance 2014 and was broadcast on HBO in the US and on television all over the world, and recently line produced Sara Jordenö’s KIKI, which premiered in competition at Sundance 2016, won the Teddy for best feature-length doc at the Berlin International Film Festival 2016, and is distributed in the U.S. by IFC Films. He most recently produced Penny Lane’s short documentary JUST ADD WATER for CNN Films, and is currently in production on a bunch of wacky things. He is a National Board of Review fellow, a Berlin Film Festival Talents alumni, and when not making movies, can be heard emitting falsetto noises in the Brooklyn-based musical constellation Odd Rumblings.