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From “No Reason for Celebration” (2020), a 10½ minute video by Sav Rodgers that airs 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. July 2 to 31 at the Mid-America Arts Alliance, 2018 Baltimore Ave. (courtesy the artist)


The “T” in LGBTQIA + has been at the center of attacks in recent years. Several bills to restrict and control transgender people have been introduced across the country. Olathe-based filmmaker and non-profit executive Sav Rodgers illustrates the gravity of this situation and its long history in his film “No Reason for Celebration”. It is part of the Mid-America Arts Alliance Reflection / Project series begun in fall 2020, which “serves to amplify underrepresented artists while creating a public space for viewers to reflect on where they stand in our world. rapidly changing world ”.

Normally comedic and personal, Rodgers takes a very different approach in “No Reason for Celebration”. He and his editor / co-producer, Bradley Garrison, use only archival material to juxtapose current transgender coverage with historical footage. Contemporary stories that often dehumanize and distort trans realities are sidelined by powerful historical narratives, including those of trans elders Sylvia Rivera (1951-2002) and Marsha P. Johnson (1945-1992). Considering the main theme of the celebration, Rodgers emphasizes, “I don’t think we can congratulate ourselves too much on this idea of ​​progress when there are still trans people who are being murdered because they are seen as trans.

The target audience for this film is not really trans people, as they have already taken the brunt of the attacks and heard the screams of their trans siblings. Instead, the goal is to grab the attention of viewers – to get them to stop and see the dehumanization, violence, and lack of freedom that can accompany navigating the world as a person. transgender, especially for trans women of color and trans children. Rodgers notes, “Some people have a harder time navigating this world – period. Hopefully this will be an educational tool and a reason for people to Google trans issues and see what we’re up against and how they can help.

Although “No Reason for Celebration” is an angry protest track, Rodgers maintains a sense of optimism that comes with the action. He started the Transgender Film Center to open doors that were closed to him when he became trans. “There was no institutional resource that applied to me. I wanted to create the thing that I wish it already existed, ”he recalls. The Transgender Film Center supports trans creators by providing them with desperately needed funding opportunities.

“Sav Rodgers is one of those rare talents who has an incredibly clear vision of the stories he wants to tell with a unique voice,” said Alex Schmider, producer of award-winning documentaries for “Disclosure” (Sundance, 2020) on Netflix. . and “Game changer” (Tribeca, 2019). “Founding the Trans Film Center with a commitment to rejuvenating and empowering the next generation of transgender filmmakers around him, Sav is a very exciting storyteller to watch and not to be overlooked or underestimated.”

See “No Reason for Celebration” from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. July 2-31 at M-AAA Headquarters, 2018 Baltimore Ave. The films of the Reflect / Project series are visible from the street and have sound outdoors. The series includes an online component at maaa.org/reflect-project, featuring additional works chosen by the featured artists.