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Cleveland International Film Festival – Closing Day

It just kept getting better and better.

Sadly, the festival came to a close on April 9, 2022. I was not working but wanted to attend a film, be a part of the staff photo, see the Closing Ceremonies and attend the after parties.

The film I saw as called “Framing Agnes” directed by Chase Joynt, whom I had the opportunity to meet and chat with.

In the 1950s, far before the word transgender was used in the mainstream, Agnes Torres approached the UCLA Medical Center seeking sex reassignment surgery. Born male, Torres always felt she was meant to be in a woman’s body, and she was one of the first public figures to make this dream a reality. Through her transitional process, Torres met with sociologist Harold Garfinkel, who recorded their conversations about Torres’ life as a trans woman. Garfinkel’s work with Torres became the first known American case study of a transgender individual’s experience. For decades to come, Torres’ life would be seen as a source of inspiration and strength within the LGBTQIA+ community. But, as it turns out, she was not alone in her endeavors. Years later a small group of filmmakers would discover dozens of other transcripts from interviews that Garfinkel gave to other people who had successfully transitioned; people whose stories were never told publicly. Filled with true-to-life reenactments of Garfinkel’s interviews, the experimental documentary FRAMING AGNES examines these powerful untold stories alongside the stories of the modern day trans people who play these historic icons.

Great film. I also watched the Q & A and attended a “deeper dive” sponsored by TransOhio and the Cleveland LGBT Center.

Then I made my dinner, seated at the bar of an Italian restaurant. There I met quite a few people, had wonderful conversations and hopefully made some new friends and connections. All of the other activities I mentioned above were a great deal of fun.

The after parties were great fun and I, admittedly, had quite a few. At the end of my night, I met a wonderful woman (please forgive this photo of me well into the early morning).

This woman lost her husband to cancer two years ago and that was the subject of the film “Inhospitable”. The film asks the question what happens when your city’s largest nonprofit health provider becomes a monopoly? When the multi-billion-dollar nonprofit hospital system University of Pittsburgh Medical Center decided they would no longer accept Highmark Insurance after June 2019, Pittsburgh patients faced a lose-lose decision: switch to debt-inducing health care plans or give up their beloved doctors. The two entities—both monopolies of their respective industries in western Pennsylvania—gave residents few options and a ticking timeline to overturn the impending breakup. The film follows the stories of a number of UPMC cancer patients (my friend above) and underserved community members who face life-or-death consequences in the wake of the hospital’s controversial decision. With the help of patient advocates and state legislators, these determined individuals demand nonprofit hospitals, including UPMC, accept all insurance plans or relinquish their nonprofit status—and the enormous tax exemptions the charitable label affords them.

She was a delightful person and an inspiration! I am so very sad the festival is over. Working as a woman was amazing. Being completely and utterly accepted was awesome. Being sought out on a number of occasions was humbling. It all far exceeded my expectations. While this will run well after the date above, I am entering an extended period of a Kandi shut down for many reasons. Some due to alternative activities or commitments (Boston), but much of it is because I am flatly exhausted from Keystone to the festival to Boston. I just need a break and need to focus now on the completion of my basement project, put on hold for all of the activities and events I have recent attended. I expect to get out only once a week for the next few weeks.


4 Responses

  1. I just took a quick look at the trailer online and it looks like a really good film, particularly to contrast attitudes between the 50s and now.

    And once again you delight us with more examples of acceptance in the big wide world!

    Wouldn’t fancy my chances of successfully getting into those trousers though and would definitely need surgical assistance at A&E to remove them again!

  2. Your life sounds full my dear, thanks for sharing with us it’s been a pleasure to read it.
    Love those pants so very very cute
    Wish I had that body to pull it off
    I guess I will just stay with my skirts ☺️
    Hugs Rach

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