Put down the flag and take up the pen! Stop nation building and start soul-searching! In the future, cameras will turn to dust if used to brand normalcy with gay sexuality and fill empty souls with entertainment.
Beware of gay dollars, political agendas, and petrifying power structures. Gay is the new white and not queer at all anymore. Brown is the majority—are we all ready to take off our white masks for our close-up? The world that saw the rise of the American and Rainbow Flags has been tossed into the air, turned upside down. Change is fast and fierce and furious, and to adapt, to survive, we NEED queering visions that challenge everything we know. Storytellers! Open our hearts! Open our eyes! Reorient us and help us ease our maniacal, addictive grip of “the cloud” (which is really a bunch of massive computing centers around the country that house our digital identities inside black boxes that churn out carbon dioxide at record rates). Help us open our souls, embrace our bodies, embrace the earth, and arm us with our humanity as we approach the new and unfamiliar world on the horizon.
We need STORIES, not flags to embolden us. Our future depends on the ability of our artists to fumble in the dark, take risks, make mistakes, dig deep [End Page 573] inside themselves, and tell stories that compel us to believe we are courageous enough to live the lives we once thought we were too afraid to lead. Forget about yesterday’s calibrations of success—the future depends on exploding formal constructions, category and class, scrambling nationalist identities, expanding the notion of being alive, human, and sexual. Only soul power can help us survive a world where everything is blowing dry in the cosmic wind.
Our future depends on artists who magnify transgressive viewpoints, expand senses of domain, and champion generosity and gratitude. I celebrate anything but the Queer Nation, and everything queer and odd and unusual and strange because it is in the unfixed, in the uncertain, the unexpected that we find our future, and it is in our vulnerability that we find the truth. Humanity faces a rough road ahead, and we NEED our artists to help us live our very best lives, right now, so that we might become able to take on the course that awaits us.
Shari Frilot is a filmmaker who has produced television for the CBS affiliate in Boston and for WNYC and WNET in New York before creating her own independent award-winning films, including Strange & Charmed, A Cosmic Demonstration of Sexuality, What Is a Line?, and the feature documentary Black Nations/Queer Nations? As the festival director of the MIX festival in New York (1992–96), she cofounded the first gay Latin American film festivals, MIX BRASIL and MIX MÉXICO. As codirector of programming for OUTFEST (1998–2001), she founded the Platinum section, which introduced cinematic installation and performance to the festival. She is in her fifteenth year as a senior programmer for the Sundance Film Festival.
1. Jerry Tartaglia, e-mail correspondence with author, November 2, 2012. Frameworks is “an international forum on experimental film, avant-garde film, film as art, film as film, or film as visual poetry; film’s expressive qualities, aside from or in addition to its storytelling capacity.” For more information, go to www.hi-beam.net/fw.html. [End Page 574]