The London Transgender Film Festival 2008 takes place in Brixton next month.

Three of the people involved in this groundbreaking event, festival director Col Cruise, director Kortney Ryan Ziegler and Ignacio Rivera, star of a “no script docu-porn,” spoke to MissTer Scratch, festival organiser.

Col Cruise, festival director.

Why did you decide to create a transgender film festival in the first place?

As a filmmaker I feel a strong need for more trans screen culture in London.

I want to support and encourage independent transgender filmmaking, so putting on a Transgender Film Festival seems like the best way to do that.

Self expression is vital for all of us, I learn so much from other people’s stories and life experiences from all over the world.

Film festivals educate and bring social awareness to a wider audience, they breakdown isolation, they help people feel connected with the whole world again.

What is the London Transgender Film Festival 2008 about?

This festival is very gender fluid and the films speak for themselves and show what it is to be a transgendered person on many different levels.

This is the beauty of the festival; it’s diversity and fluidity because there isn’t much of a concept of fluidity of gender or difference of gender about, definitely not in the mainstream, where a lot of education needs to happen.

The films in this festival dispel myths and stereotypes within the LGBTQI community and the wider community as well.

The festival is about trans awareness and education, it’s about non-violence and getting away from the narrow definition of gender, it shows us how to accept difference, diversity and love for each other and how that creates freedom and true happiness, that we actually can all get along together.

What films will be screened? Can you tell the readers some more about some of the films like ‘Still Black’ and ‘Trans Entities’? Why did you want to show these films at the festival this year?

I feel it’s going to be a great festival because we’re going to screen some amazing films that have never been screened in London before as well as some that have had some exposure…

I was really moved by Trans Entities when it previewed it this year.

I think it is a magical and very powerful film and due time we finally see the love and spirituality between two trans identified people of colour out there, in your face and why not?

I mean why should caucasians rule the porn scene, or think they know all about sex and love on the big screen.

The film has had some controversy and never really got a proper cinema screening in London, which is what kicked me up the arse to get a transgender film festival going.

I want to give the film what I feel it deserves, a proper cinema venue to show it in its full glory on a cinema screen.

It’s also cutting edge as no one has heard of the term docu-porn that much, which I think pushes boundaries in multiple ways and London needs that, if not universally.

Its true message lies in its exploration of sexual dynamics in love and poly relationships.

Still Black, well it found me really.

In fact I have been overwhelmed by the amount of films that have rocked up to this festival particularly films about transmen of colour.

I just think it’s time, their time, for their own self expression. The films create the festival really…not us…we just pull it all together…

What else can we look forward to seeing and experiencing at the London Transgender Film Festival 2008?

There’s going to be photo exhibitions, a video installation and a big party in the café with performances after the opening night suprise film.

There will also be a free session on Sunday at B3 Media on Electric Avenue around the corner where we will screen two films and have panel discussions about Transfeminism, Androgyny and Intersex and a forum called Butching The Trans: Where Have all The Butches Gone?

It’s going to be a great day. The rest, well films, films and more films at the Ritzy.

Kortney Ryan Ziegler, the director of Still Black.

What were your reasons and intentions behind making Still Black: A Portrait of Black Transmen?

With the recent explosion of queer films that explore trans issues, we felt that issues of race as well as representations of people of colour, were missing.

In light of this, we felt that by focusing on African American transmen, we could be help to foster important dialogue within the LGBT community.

Why is it important to make films about trans people of colour, in particular about black trans men?

It’s important because, sadly, still there is a dearth of representations of queer folks of colour in mainstream cinema or media. If not for indie filmmakers, our stories would continue to be invisible or marginalised.

More importantly, we felt that black transmen deserved to have a film that placed them at the centre of trans dialogues, rather than having them remain outside of it.

What do you hope to achieve with screening Still Black at the London Transgender Film Festival?

This film does not claim to embody what it means to be black, or transgender, or male.

But what it does do is offer just a small piece of the larger experience of being a black transman.

Most importantly, we hope that the stories in the film will inspire audience members to look beyond the negative portrayals and stereotypes of black men that we are all bombarded with on a daily basis.

Ignacio Rivera.

‘They’ (as they prefer to use non gendered pronouns) are a performer, activist, educator and sex worker and the founder of Poly Patao Productions which is dedicated to producing sex-positive workshops, performance pieces, films, play parties, and educational opportunities.

Ignacio, can you tell us more about your involvement in Trans Entities?

My partner Khane aka Wil Thrustwell and I were approached by a mutual friend Morty Diamond (Director of Tranny Fags porn) to do a real-couple porn.

He has known of our polyamory and kinky life as well as all of the events we do in conjunction with those identities.

He told us he felt strongly that others would be interested in our story…our love…our way of expressing our gender..our kink. We agreed and were able to do a no script docu-porn.

Do you think that documentary porn is important? How is it different to other kinds of porn?

Documentary porn is super important because it delves into different aspects of sex, kink and BDSM.

It doesn’t just show you but you get to hear opinion and commentary. You get to see the hot action and there is dialogue, information, a relationship that develops with the person on camera and the people watching.

Docu-porn serves great as a educational tool. Don’t get me wrong, I love the “get-right-to- it-and f**k-porn”, it too serves a purpose. Docu-porn just opens up a new way of watching and learning about sex.

The London Transgender Film Festival runs from 7th to 9th November. For more information visit www.transgenderfilmfestival.co.uk