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

“I'm Already Liberated”: An Iconographic Talk with Zackary Drucker

Hats Off to Hollywood (1972)
June 17, 2021 - 4:00 pm

Watch on Vimeo

This is a one-time live screening.

Independent artist, filmmaker and cultural producer Zackary Drucker has built her career breaking down the way we think about gender, sexuality and seeing. Born in 1983 and raised in Syracuse, New York, Drucker is a Los Angeles-based artist whose efforts have been instrumental in the creation of the Emmy Award and Golden Globe-winning Amazon show, Transparent, and the docu-series This is Me, for which she received an Emmy nomination. Her independent artistic output has been exhibited and performed internationally in museums, galleries and film festivals, including the 2014 Whitney Biennial, wherein Drucker and then-partner Rhys Ernst co-exhibited Relationship, a photographic record of Ernst and Drucker as both were transitioning. Her most recent contribution to the cultural zeitgeist has been her directorial debut for television with The Lady and the Dale, which premiered on HBO in early 2021.

Drucker’s talk will be anchored by a trio of filmic appearances by Jimmy/Jenifer Michaels, the Los Angeles-based star of Penelope Spheeris’ UCLA student film I Don’t Know (1970) and her later Hats Off to Hollywood (1972), and the primary subject of Pat Rocco’s 1970 documentary, Changes. The program will dig deep into the archive to uncover a new restoration of Sophie Constantinou’s snappy 1994 documentary, Trans, rarely seen since it first ran on the LGBTQ festival circuit in the mid-’90s. Taken as a whole, this program seeks to advance Drucker’s fascination with moving image historiographies of transgender people from across time and space.

Zackary Drucker will be joined by Trans (1994) filmmaker Sophie Constantinou.

Films in the program will include:

Preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive

Changes (excerpt)

1970

Directed by pioneering gay documentary and erotica filmmaker Pat Rocco, Changes is a profile of Jimmy/Jenifer Michaels, a transgender person living in Los Angeles.

Color. Director: Pat Rocco.

Preserved by the Academy Film Archive

I Don't Know (excerpt) 

1970

A truly major work that observes the relationship between a lesbian and a transgender person who prefers to identify somewhere in between male and female, in an expression of personal ambiguity suggested by the film’s title. This nonfiction film—an unusual, partly staged work of semi-vérité—is the first of director Spheeris’ films to fully embrace what would become her characteristic documentary style: probing, intimate, uncompromising and deeply meaningful.Mark Toscano, Academy Film Archive

Color. Director: Penelope Spheeris.

Preserved by the Academy Film Archive

Hats Off to Hollywood

1972

Picking up the story first presented in I Don’t Know (1970), Spheeris’ short brazenly and brilliantly mixes documentary reality with fully staged recreations/reimaginings of episodes in the lives of Jimmy/Jenifer and Dana, a loving, bickering couple who challenge the notion of homonormativity. Drugs, poverty, disease, bigotry and prostitution all figure into this disarmingly candid and often hilarious film, a remarkable work that is the apotheosis of director Spheeris’ early work, and a luminous signpost leading directly to The Decline of Western Civilization (1979-1997).Mark Toscano, Academy Film Archive

Color, 22 min. Director: Penelope Spheeris.

Preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive

Trans

1994

First premiering in the 18th San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (now Frameline) and moving on to play every major North American LGBTQ festival between 1994 and 1996, Sophie Constantinou’s playful document of trans man Henry gives first-hand voice to his nuanced experience and extolls the singular joy of wearing a suit.

Color, 10 min. Director: Sophie Constantinou.

Preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive

At Least You Know You Exist

2011

Made in collaboration with New York performer and drag queen Flawless Sabrina, At Least You Know You Exist explores the interaction between two artists of different ages. Set in Flawless Sabrina’s ornate Manhattan apartment, where she lived for more than four decades, the work depicts the two artists sharing the roles of filmmaker and subject, creating an intimacy that speaks specifically to their relationship as fellow transgender artists, and also more broadly to the queer community. (Film note excerpted from The Museum of Modern Art)

Color, 16 min. Director: Zackary Drucker.

Program runtime: approximately 100 minutes.

Part of: Outfest UCLA Legacy Project Screening Series