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UCLA Film & Television Archive and The Andrew J. Kuehn Jr. Foundation present

Split: Portrait of a Drag Queen

Salvador Dalí and International Chrysis
April 29, 2021 - 4:00 pm

Note: screening is at 4 p.m. Pacific Time / 7 p.m. Eastern Time. It will be available after the live stream until May 13.

Split: Portrait of a Drag Queen

U.S., 1993

Self-described “transgender performer” International Chrysis made her screen debut in Frank Simon’s documentary The Queen (1968) as one of dozens of contestants in the All-American Camp Beauty Pageant. Years later she appeared briefly in Sidney Lumet’s Q&A (1990) (as a murder victim). In Split: Portrait of a Drag Queen, filmmakers Ellen Fisher-Turk and Andrew Weeks give center stage to the pioneering diva who dominated the New York cabaret and nightclub scene for two decades before her untimely death in 1990. Born in the Bronx, Chrysis split to Manhattan when she was 14 after her parents committed her to Bellevue for dressing as a girl. “People were being shipped off all over,” a confidant recalls of the times, a cultural moment that Chrysis both defied and helped define. As Chrysis tells the camera, “I just had the intention of living my life.” Through their assemblage of interviews, stills and video footage, Fisher-Turk and Weeks capture the sharp wit and vivacious presence that made Chrysis a show-stopping headliner, a muse to fashion designers and artists (most especially Salvador Dalí) and a guiding light for the next generation.

The Archive is thrilled to present Split and a conversation with filmmaker Ellen Fisher-Turk and entertainer Teri Paris. The program will be introduced by Kerri Stoughton-Jackson, Deputy Director of Outfest.

Color and b&w, 59 min. Director: Ellen Fisher-Turk, Andrew Weeks. Screenwriter: Dan Chayefsky. With: International Chrysis. 

For more information about the film, visit LivingLegacyPictures.com.