Translations puts the global transgender experience on the big screen

MMA Fighter Fallon Fox (Still by Michiel Thomas, “Game Face”)

Every once in a while, you come across a life-changing movie. Mix that with an entire community coming together for it, and you have the Translations Film Festival — emphasis on the “Trans.”

The festival provides a gathering place to watch films by, for, and about transgender people and the issues and discrimination they face in their day-to-day lives.

Debuting in 2006, Translations is one of few transgender film festivals around the world, according to the Three Dollar Bill Cinema website, the nonprofit organization getting this show on the road.

The opening night film “Game Face,” is a Belgian-produced documentary about the transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox and the Oklahoma college basketball player Terrence Clemens.

Coincidently, the same year the festival began was the year Fox chose to go to Bangkok, Thailand for her gender reassignment surgery.

After the surgery, Fox faced a lot of controversy. Some believed that she was at an advantage in the MMA because she was born a male.

“It feels like right now is our time,” Fox said in an interview with The Seattle Times. “What we’re trying to do with ‘Game Face’ is show everybody the intersectionality of sport and how the oppression transfers into the work force and everyday life.”

As members of the transgender community and people who occupy spaces of intersectionality, it is hard to find a place to feel comfortable and safe. The Transgender Film Festival is one of those places.

“The place provides positive representation to individuals,” said Executive Director Jason Plourde from Three Dollar Bill Cinema. “Translations has gotten a lot of attention because of the athlete, which is great and is hopefully bringing awareness to more people.”

Translations Film Festival flier (by Corianton Hale, Three Dollar Bill Cinema)

Thus far, approximately 1,200 people have bought tickets for the four-day Translations film festival, according to Plourde.

“Game Face” is produced and directed by Michiel Thomas, who grew up playing basketball in Belgium and came out as gay at age twenty-three.

“After I discovered my true identity, I realized many are still misinformed about LGBTQ’s players in sports,” Thomas wrote on his website. “And that’s why I want to make this documentary: to inspire closeted athletes, but also to educate society on these very important issues and topics.”

The screening of “Game Face” at Translations was presented by The Pride Foundation and Sistah Sinema.

“It’s really important that we show work that’s interesting, relevant, and meaningful to people,” Festival Director Sam Berliner said of the film selections.

Translations screenings continue all weekend at the Northwest Film Forum and the 12th Ave Arts Building, with over 40 feature and short films exploring the global transgender experience from Argentina to Thailand.

Tickets and full schedule here

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