Precarious Lives Film, Curated by Celeste Chan


June 25, 2019
Precarious Lives: Experimental Film/Video Event
Curated by Celeste Chan
SOMArts, 7:30pm
$5 – 10 NOTAFLOF
Tickets: at the heart of what it is to be a queer human, the convention defying experiments in this program explore non-narrative and alternative forms to traditional film/video narratives. This program is part of the public programs being held in conjunction with the Precarious Lives exhibition at SOMArts Cultural Center.


Thirza Cuthand: Reclamation

“Reclamation” is a documentary-style imagining of a post-dystopic future in Canada after massive climate change, wars, pollution, and the after effects of the large scale colonial project which has now destroyed the land. When Indigenous people are left behind after a massive exodus by primarily privileged White settlers who have moved to Mars, the original inhabitants of this land cope by trying to restore and rehabilitate the beautiful country they feel they belong to. Complicated by the need to look after southern climate refugees, this Post-Dystopic society struggles to reinvent itself as a more healthy community, with opportunities for healing from shared trauma, and using traditional Indigenous scientific knowledge to reclaim Canada environmentally.

Brontez Purnell: 100 Boyfriends Mixtape

Dancer, musician, artist, and publisher of the cult queer zine Fag School, Brontez Purnell makes his directorial debut with this semi-autobiographical “video mix tape” by produced Jack Shamama and NakedSword Film Works, the studio made “I Want Your Love” and “In Their Room: Berlin”

Relying on his punk rock aesthetic to give the world a peek into his singularly unique perspective, 100 Boyfriends Mixtape takes the viewer on an unforgettable ride that’s as audacious as it is experimental.

Irina Contreras: Count the Contradictions

An in progress project made while in residence at Hubbell Street Galleries/CCA in San Francisco, CA during the summer of 2018. Count the Contradictions 2018 is a video based re-enactment of a play by the same name, originally written by an activist group called Lesbians Against Police Violence. The group was created in response to the ongoing and continued police violence against the lesbian community of the Bay Area in the 70’s. As part of their learning and CR (consciousness raising) efforts, the group documented their processes regarding race, privilege and class via plays, street theater, text, song and other visual projects. Amongst their work against police abuse, the group sought to do community education as well as self impose consciousness raising after there were discussions of whiteness and privilege within the group. Count the Contradictions 2018 considers this history, an imperfection of queer stories and history while asking friends to do a casual reading of LAPV’s play.

Lacey Johnson: Prophecy

An incantation spell set to music. A prophetic chant and an envisioning tool. An invocation for a beginning and an end. Prophecy is prison abolition anthem and music video by Dorothy Wang and Lacey Johnson.

Heather Maria Acs: Queen Down, Flu$h

FLU$H, a warmly funny vignette about a diverse group of queer friends who go into business for an evening. With tongue firmly in cheek, Heather’s film begins with the flush of a toilet and ends having given us a complete and surprisingly wholesome slice of queer life on the margins. The film was produced with the help of Pose and Transparent director Silas Howard, also a longtime friend collaborator with Heather, whose interdisciplinary work includes projects in theatre, nightlife, and fine art.

Maya Songbird: People Who Are Broke

To her fans, peers and even to numerous of her own artistic idols, she is a new icon because her work has proven not merely entertaining, but empowering. Her talent is so raw and obviously authentic that no one could mistake it for mere packaging and her performances demonstrate her ability to elicit an off-the-hook response from the audience. Sure to be a part of transforming the landscape of music, much has been said about Maya’s brilliant synthesis of styles.

Elliat Graney-Saucke: Boys on the Inside (excerpt)
Eleven aka Boys on the Inside follows a white queer femme documentary filmmaker and three formerly incarcerated Latinx ‘boys’ over 11 years as triumph, tragedy and new chapters of life bring everyone’s stories together in ways no one could ever have anticipated.
Celeste Chan: Artists of a Riot

ART Heart is: a collage, a mixtape, a DIY documentary and tribute to riot grrrl & queercore’s influence on next generations. This is a love letter to queer and trans teens of tomorrow. 1990’s punk feminism tackled rape/abuse, suicide, mental illness, homophobia, body image, disability and more. Riot grrrl’s art, culture, music, and activism made it a vital political movement. ART Heart interviews queer artists to find out how riot grrrl lead to their creative paths. What was it like to come of age in riot grrrl? ART Heart sifts through herstory, and refocuses on the frame on race/class/disability/and resistance within riot grrrl/queercore lineages.


Celeste Chan is an artist, writer, educator, and organizer, schooled by DIY and immigrant parents from Malaysia and the Bronx. Currently, she writes, makes films, performs, teaches, and collaborates with the goal of amplifying voices within marginalized communities. From 2008-2018, she co-directed Queer Rebels, a queer and trans people of color arts project. They have screened films in Austin, New York, San Francisco, Montreal, Tijuana, Paris, Berlin, and beyond. She’s received residencies and fellowships from Lambda Literary Retreat, VONA, Hedgebrook, Hypatia, Soaring Gardens, SAFEHouse, and more.

Celeste’s writing can be found in several journals, including Ada, AWAY, Citron Review, cream city review’s genrequeer folio, Feminist Wire, Hyphen, Mixed Race/Queer and Feminist, and The Rumpus. She also has work in the anthologies, Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBT Voices, and Glitter & Grit: Queer Performance from Heels on Wheels. Celeste is a contributing editor for Foglifter Journal, serves as a Teaching Artist for the Queer Ancestors Project, and coordinates QTPOC FREE School. She is currently working to complete a feature documentary titled: Artists of a Riot (formerly ART Heart: Children of Riot Grrrl and Queerco.