Who are you and what’s your filmmaking background?
My name is Chase Joynt, I’m an artist and scholar currently based in Toronto. I’m also an occasional vegetarian, and according to people whose opinions I generally trust, a ‘textbook Leo.’ My formal artistic training began at UCLA where I studied theater and performance, and has since expanded to moving-image and installation based work. My practice is rooted in a series of expansive and unanswerable questions about who we are, how we come to know each other, and the limits revealed by representation at the moment we start to assert ultimate truths or conclusions about our identities. For me, art offers a critical lens through which to look at beautiful, yet often conflicting versions of ourselves and our communities.
What are you working on right now?
My next project Between Men is a 3-part feature that thinks through the relationship between sexual violence, shame and masculinity. If you are reading this interview as someone attached to my PhD program, my answer to your question is “I am excitedly working on my dissertation!”
What do you want the audience to take away from your films?
As a trans person, I started making movies because I failed to find resonant representations of related personal experience and identities elsewhere. Learning to tell stories with images – or with a combination of images and words – opened up new pathways for me to have critical conversations about trans-issues in public. I believe that the shared language of moving-image offers networks and channels to ideas, experiences, and people that have not yet been encountered.
For example, perhaps you have never met a trans person before. Regardless of that fact, I rely on knowing that you have probably seen a talking-head style documentary. So I borrow the form that you know and strategically perform content that you don’t. The talking-head style structure of I’m Yours becomes the vehicle to deliver commentary on issues regarding the expectations so often placed on trans people who are answering questions about their lives, experiences and identities in public. The ‘take away’ as they say, is left up to the viewer.
The process of letting go of a film — knowing that it will be interpreted in ways that are far outside my control — is a beautiful, precarious and never-ending reminder about the relationship between intention and reality. What I think my film is doing, and what you think my film is doing, are often two very different things. I don’t experience that conflict as a failure of the work necessarily, but rather a productive example of the tensions offered by any kind of attempt at storytelling, meaning making is relational. I believe that your read on my work will reveal just as much about you, as it does about me.
What currently inspires you?
I am paying close attention, reading, listening and participating when appropriate to activists who are leading the #blacklivesmatter movement. Also, I was recently made aware of a technique wherein you can eat an entire apple and produce no waste! Inspirational, indeed.
Follow Chase’s career at The Audience Awards. And visit his website: www.chasejoynt.com.
Don’t forget to check out his Level Ground Film Festival Shorts Showcase competing films, I’m Yours and Akin. And vote for your favorites, here.
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