Transgender Film Festival Returns to Los Angeles

Bob Johnson

LOS ANGELES — Showcasing films created by queer, genderqueer and transgender filmmakers, the annual Los Angeles Transgender Film Festival (LATFF) returns for its fourth year this weekend, Nov. 2-4.

The LATFF will feature three days of films in Echo Park, Hollywood and West Los Angeles, screening three feature films and 24 short films from six different countries, with encore screenings at high schools, colleges and community organizations throughout the year.

From documentary to mockumentary, kung fu to sci fi, animation, stop-motion, erotica and more, the Festival will span three separate theatres in the L.A. area over the course of the weekend.

“This festival is important because films about transgender and genderqueer people are often made by outsiders to our communities,” LATFF founding director Kalil Cohen said. “When transgender and genderqueer filmmakers tell their own stories, there is a greater variety and nuance of perspectives represented.”

Kicking off the festival will be “Naughty Bits” on Nov. 2 at the Echo Park Film Center (1200 North Alvarado St.), with screenings of erotic short films and the erotic feature “Mommy is Coming.” The feature, directed by Cheryl Dunye, is described a raunchy queer sex-filled romantic comedy set in Berlin. Dunye will also be participating in a post-screening Q&A.

 “I am elated that “Mommy Is Coming” will be viewed at the LATFF,” said Ignacio Rivers, who is featured in the film. “It means so much that trans existence in this film is recognized. This is a film that exudes fluidity on many fronts.”

“Our erotic screenings which launch the Festival on Friday night has always been a crowd favorite,” said LATFF co-founder Ofelia del Corazon. “We’ve been able to have sold-out shows in pre-sale every year, and are delighted to offer it again this year to the public.”

The event moves to The Renberg Theater on Nov. 3, located at The Village, LA Gay and Lesbian Center (1125 North McCadden Place), where a screening of non-erotic short films will be followed by a workshop by punk band Tribe 8 member and trans artist Silas Howard, who has premiered two feature films at both Sundance and SXSW. Howard’s workshop will walk attendees through the process of writing, directing and producing independent trans and genderqueer projects. Following a courtyard reception, the evening will culminate in a screening of Howard's and Harriet Dodge’s feature film, “By Hook or By Crook,”the presentation of the second annual Trans Luminary Award to Howard, and the presentation of the Jury Award for Best Short Film.

“Nearing the 10-year anniversary of ‘By Hook or By Crook’s’ release, and after a decade of telling stories that focus on a variety of characters and lives often ‘othered’ in film, I am over the moon that LATFF is presenting me with a Trans Luminary Award,” Howard said.

He added, “Coming of age in the ‘90’s DIY, punk queercore culture gave me the alternative resources and permission to tell stories that don’t have to land huge crowds, but may open a few minds and connect in a heartfelt way with others who felt invisible. This community approach is still how I make films, including my second feature ‘Sunset Stories,’ co-directed with Ernesto Foronda. We greenlight each other with our time and support, and bring out stories to the big screen; it is a powerful thing. Festivals like this let our stories live on the big screen, which rules.”

The Festival end its weekend at The Workmen’s Circle Cultural Center at 1525 South Robertson Blvd. A second grouping of short films will be screened, followed by trans filmmaker Jules Rosskam’s “Against a Trans Narrative,” a documentary investigating dominant constructions of trans-masculine identity, gender, and the nature of community.

Event organizers said careful attention is paid in this documentary to the ways generation, race, class and culture impact our understandings of gender. The second annual Audience Award for Best Short Film will be presented following the screening, with a panel discussion on the film focusing on how trans media can be created by those in the trans community.

A closing night reception will end the LATFF event.

“We showcase works by established, award-winning filmmakers to first-time youth filmmakers, and everything in between,” Corazon said. “Our Festival loves to nurture new talent, and the positive reception and promotional support offered by our Festival has enabled filmmakers to raise money and awareness necessary to turn their short films into features.”

All tickets to events are $10 and are available at Admission is free for all youth under 21.  Admission to Friday screenings are 18 and over only.

For more information, screening schedule and ticket sales visit