Currently in production, A BODY TO LIVE IN is a film about the luminary, enigmatic, and complex icon, Fakir Musafar (1930-2018). A performance artist, photographer, and self-identified shaman, Musafar’s work to merge body modification with BDSM, gender transformation, and spiritual exploration, mobilized an entire subculture of kinksters, seekers, and artists.
A BODY TO LIVE IN is a feature film that traces the life and work of legendary photographer, performer, and "gender flex" cultural icon, Fakir Musafar (1930-2018). Through investigating the body modification movement and the trajectory of Fakir’s art career and philosophy, A BODY TO LIVE IN uncovers a riveting facet of queer history. Using Fakir’s early experiments in body play and his photographic works from the 1940s and 50s as a springboard, the film traces the emergence of the body modification movement as it emerged in LGBT subculture in the early 1970s. The film introduces us to early collaborative experimentation at gay unground BDSM parties (key figures: Fakir, Jim Ward, Doug Malloy), leading to the first piercing shop (Gauntlet, Los Angeles, 1978), a subsequent revision of the DSM’s (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) definition of self-harm, and an entire subculture. Insights from key figures including Annie Sprinkle, Ron Athey, Idexa Stern, Cléo Dubois, Jim Ward, Ganymede Cupbearer, Sheree Rose, Paul King, and Midori, provoke deeper reflections about art making, surviving the AIDS epidemic, and the collaging of various spiritual and cultural practices to build a philosophy. Captured in static 16mm film portraits, A BODY TO LIVE IN unfolds conversationally, between the filmmaker, Fakir’s archive of 100+ hours of unseen footage, and the voices of the canonical elders of this movement, to create intergenerational dialog, question cultural responsibility, and provoke larger ideas about the drive to transcend the limits of the body.
ANGELO MADSEN MINAX
Writer / Director
Angelo Madsen Minax is a filmmaker, visual artist, and educator. His projects consider how human relationships are woven through personal and collective histories, cultures, and kinships. Madsen's works have shown at Berlinale, Toronto International Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, HotDocs, BAM CinemaFest, Art of the Real, BFI, Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Leslie Lohman Museum, Outfest, Newfest, Frameline, and dozens of LGBT film festivals internationally. His film, North By Current (2021), aired on season 34 of POV (PBS), and won both a Cinema Eye award and an IDA award for Best Writing. A New York Times Critics Pick, North By Current has been called "A beautiful, complex wonder of a film," by Rolling Stone. Madsen teaches video art at the University of Vermont, is a Queer|Art Mentor, a Sundance Film Institute Art of Practice Fellow, and a current Guggenheim Fellow.
LYLE RAVI KASH
Lyle Ravi Kash is a filmmaker and interdisciplinary practitioner who makes films by trans people about trans people. His projects have spanned abolitionist work with the Transformative Justice Law Project in Chicago, media literacy and activism with Media Mobilizing Project in Philadelphia, and his short films have screened at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, San Diego Underground Film Festival, and Experimental Forum Los Angeles. Kash's debut film DEATH AND BOWLING (2021) had an extensive festival run garnering awards from Outfest, Newfest, LesGaiCine Madrid, and Lovers Film Festival in Torino, Italy. AutoStraddle called the film "a fantasia on death and creation..." stating that "this is what we should be yearning for." The film was acquired by Wolfe Releasing and is available worldwide. Kash will be in residence at the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance fall 2022.
Director of Photography
Talena Sanders draws from their background in experimental film and studio arts to create ethically engaged, visually striking cinema that questions and destabilizes the documentary form. Largely working in 16mm film, Sanders is deeply engaged in historical analysis, materiality, and lives lived - their works ask critical questions of privilege and power in who gets to tell the stories of lived realities. Talena’s work has been screened, exhibited, and collected internationally, including at the Museum of the Moving Image, Museum of Modern Art, BFI London Film Festival, New York Film Festival, FID Marseille, Montreal International Documentary Festival, Viennale, and DokuFest Kosovo. Their first feature film, Liahona, is distributed by Documentary Educational Resources and Doc Alliance.
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