Filming Difference: Actors, Directors, Producers, and Writers on Gender, Race, and Sexuality in Film

Filming Difference: Actors, Directors, Producers, and Writers on Gender, Race, and Sexuality in Film

Filming Difference: Actors, Directors, Producers, and Writers on Gender, Race, and Sexuality in Film

Filming Difference: Actors, Directors, Producers, and Writers on Gender, Race, and Sexuality in Film

Synopsis

Addressing representation and identity in a variety of production styles and genres, including experimental film and documentary, independent and mainstream film, and television drama, Filming Differenceposes fundamental questions about the ways in which the art and craft of filmmaking force creative people to confront stereotypes and examine their own identities while representing the complexities of their subjects.

Selections range from C. A. Griffith's "Del Otro Lado: Border Crossings, Disappearing Souls, and Other Transgressions" and Celine Perreñas Shimizu's "Pain and Pleasure in the Flesh of Machiko Saito's Experimental Movies" to Christopher Bradley's "I Saw You Naked: 'Hard' Acting in 'Gay' Movies," along with Kevin Sandler's interview with Paris Barclay, Yuri Makino's interview with Chris Eyre, and many other perspectives on the implications of film production, writing, producing, and acting.

Technical aspects of the craft are considered as well, including how contributors to filmmaking plan and design films and episodic television that feature difference, and how the tools of cinema--such as cinematography and lighting--influence portrayals of gender, race, and sexuality. The struggle between economic pressures and the desire to produce thought-provoking, socially conscious stories forms another core issue raised in Filming Difference. Speaking with critical rigor and creative experience, the contributors to this collection communicate the power of their media.

Excerpt

We must stop at its very source the
pollution of the blood stream of the
nation by properly enforced, sane
eugenic laws. The Hope of The
Nation: Perfect Babies
.

THE BLACK STORK (1916)

Impairment is the rule and
normalcy is the fantasy
.

LENNARD J. DAVIS, BENDING
OVER BACKWARDS

My brother, born two years before me, came into the world two months too soon, and very sick. He stopped breathing when he was only a few days old, and the delay of oxygen to his brain resulted in significant cerebral palsy. When I was three and my brother was five, we shared a bedroom, toys, a place at the dinner table, and almost everything else in our small Texas town. I never thought of him as different from me, of his body as different from mine, until I learned from others that he was different.

I don’t remember the exact moment that I learned this, and my parents certainly didn’t teach it to me. My growing recognition of the insistent categorization of my brother as different paralleled my growing awareness of larger political and social struggles, namely the civil rights movement and feminism. I remember the reactions to my brother in the 1970s and 1980s, and the frequent refrain when people learned of his disability: I’m sorry. Sorry? As I revisit these scenes of segregation and pity, I find myself responding: Why are you choosing to see my brother as less—as retarded, crippled, and impossibly different?

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