In France, Michelle is a Man’s Name: Short about Trans in 2020 OutFest LA (LGBTQ, Trans)

The Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival today announced it has selected the short film, In France, Michelle is a Man’s Name, as part of its 2020 festival of films, panels, and events, running August 20 through August 30. The film will screen on August 27 and will be available digitally through August 30 at Outfest.orgIn France, Michelle is a Man’s Name has also been selected to play at Outfest Los Angeles’ Transcendence shorts program and will be part of a drive-in double bill with the feature film COWBOYS on August 22 at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu.


The 12-minute film, directed by Yale School of Drama graduate Em Weinstein, is about Michael, a young Latinx trans man who returns home to the rural American West after years of estrangement from his parents. In France, Michelle is a Man’s Name explores trans identity, masculinity, and the price we’re willing to pay for acceptance.
Weinstein’s previous short film, Candace, won the grand prize at the American Pavilion Emerging LGBTQ Filmmakers Showcase at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018.

Daniel Crooke, Outfest Programming Coordinator says: “We fell in love with the characters and were riveted and moved by the father-son relationship depicted so tenderly and multidimensionally in the film. Weinstein evokes the rural milieu in such an acute manner, while still leaving the edges of their emotional landscape unsmoothed enough to reflect the messy reality of this world. It is an excellent piece of filmmaking, and we’re delighted at the prospect of welcoming Em Weinstein back to the (for now, digital) festival!”

Weinstein is a writer and director from New York City and The Dalles, Oregon. Michael is played by Ari Damasco, an actor and consultant from Aguascalientes, Mexico and Southern California. The two met in 2009 at Smith College and have been close friends and collaborators ever since. Weinstein and Damasco both live on the AFAB (assigned female at birth) trans-masculine spectrum: Weinstein uses they/them pronouns and Damasco uses he/him pronouns. In France, Michelle is a Man’s Name was shot in September 2019 in The Dalles, Tygh Valley and Dufur, Oregon; Goldendale, Washington; and at Mary’s Club, the oldest strip club in Portland, Oregon.
 
Said Weinstein, “Before the pandemic, I gathered a team of queer and trans filmmakers and brought them to the arid landscape of the American West to make this film about a white cis father and his biracial trans son navigating their relationship. Especially in our current climate, I’m eager to tell stories of collision and intersection between people of different races, different political beliefs, different lived experiences. What happens when these people are in the same family? How do they hurt each other? How do they continue to love each other?”

The Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival this year will run across 11 days of not-to-be missed world-class films, panels, and events. Due to COVID-19, the festival will take advantage of the latest in streaming-digital, at-home and in-person (as allowed) event platforms accessible to a global audience for the first time in its history. Each summer, Outfest Los Angeles screens more than 200 feature and short films to an audience of more than 50,000 people. Outfest Los Angeles is the largest and oldest film festival of any kind in Los Angeles and is considered the preeminent and most widely-recognized LGBTQ film festival in the world.

 
Weinstein Bio
Em Weinstein is a writer and director for stage and screen. Weinstein’s award-winning short film Candace played at festivals worldwide including Mill Valley Film Festival, Outfest, Montclair Film Festival, Rhode Island International Film Festival and the American Pavilion Emerging LGBTQ Filmmakers Showcase at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won Best Film. While getting their MFA at Yale School of Drama, Weinstein directed numerous plays such as the first workshop production of Slave Play by Jeremy O. Harris. Weinstein has written, directed and developed work with companies including New York Theater Workshop, Rattlestick Theater, Shakespeare & Company, Two River Theater, Working Theater, New Georges, and the Museum of Ice Cream. They are currently under commission by En Garde Arts and the Yale Center for British Art. Weinstein is the Artistic Fellow at Rattlestick Theater and part of the AFI Directing Workshop for Women Class of 2021. www.emweinstein.com.
Damasco Bio
Ari Damasco is Mexican-American and queer. He is a first-generation college graduate with a BA in philosophy and psychology from Smith College. Damasco strives to leverage his power toward the dismantling of oppressive systems. He currently lives in Chicago, IL, where he works as a tech consultant for nonprofits. In France, Michelle is a Man’s Name is his first experience acting on film. 

About The Outfest
The Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival was born out of an era of advocacy, understanding that the only way we would ever see ourselves reflected three-dimensionally in entertainment was if we found a way for storytellers to find VISIBILITY. As the channels, audiences, and the marginalization and acceptance of our community shifts, so shall we.