San Francisco Transgender Film Festival 2017

Fish, flies, and other creatures abound at this year's celebration of destiny overcoming biology.

Launched in 1997 and running annually since 2005, the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival screens works promoting the visibility of transgender and gender-variant people while challenging the mainstream media’s negative stereotypes. That’s the definition of having your work cut out for you, as there really aren’t any positive media stereotypes to speak of. (Oooh, maybe that we … um … nope, not that, either.) And this is a particularly hazardous time, as the forces of repression feel more emboldened than ever. Gosh, isn’t it swell the TERF and MAGA crowds finally have a common cause?

Highlights of this all-shorts festival include Sarolta Jane Vay’s The Goldfish Casino, a musical about a salmon who joins forces with a water nymph and a crocodile — among other river creatures — while struggling to get her eggs upstream. Speaking of anthropomorphic animals, the more experimental-minded will appreciate Malic Amalya’s Brakhage-esque collage FlyHole, which uses text and images from a somewhat transphobic story from a mid-’80s gay men’s magazine to create a story of a fly who becomes a man to cruise gay bars. The festival’s big get may be the video for Macy Gray’s “Stop, Drop, Roll,” which features Jenzi Russell and a message the sexual revolutionary Gray describes as “Accepting who you are, and being you, is the most important thing.” Word.

San Francisco Transgender Film Festival 2017
Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater.

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