Reeling 2018: Funny Story, Transcending Gender Shorts

Emily Bett Rickards in Funny Story.

Here are some thoughts after attending a pair of Thursday night screenings during the 2018 Reeling Film Festival last night.  I was there to watch Funny Story on the big screen for the first time since this year’s Slamdance Film Festival as well as the Transcending Gender shorts program.

I was curious how Funny Story would play not only with an audience but watching on a screen larger than my laptop.  It played especially well upon seeing it on the big screen!  The indie film was one of my favorites to play during Slamdance this year–maybe even my favorite!

The second viewing proved to be beneficial because one can notice the things that they miss while watching on a smaller screen.  Not only this but you can just notice other things in general while not taking notes as many of us critics tend to do.  While I will definitely not be spoiling anything, there’s a big moment in the film and I wanted to see how the audience reacted.  I’d say this moment played rather well in Chicago!

In fact, I’m pretty sure I was able to spot director/co-writer Michael Gallagher in a quick cameo.  Matthew Glave, Emily Bett Rickards, and Jana Wintermintz star.  The performances are still as good as they were last time, especially Emily Bett Rickards!


Moving onto the Transcending Gender shorts program, the clear standout was the newest episode of Brothers playing the festival series.  The series focuses on four trans-masculine people living in NY.  Series creator Emmett J. Lundberg was in town along with co-star Syd Robbie and producer Sheyam Ghieth.  The trio participated in a Q&A following the program–one that could be viewed as awkward from this trans woman’s perspective of viewing it from the audience.  It wasn’t anything that they did rather the Q&A would have been better served to be moderated by a trans person.  A person with lived trans experience could go into such a Q&A much differently than a cisgender person.

Other shorts in the program included Tuesday Night, Duality, and MathiasTuesday Night, starring Bethany Black and Sean Duggan, focuses on how trans people are represented in the media.  I’m not sure what to think about it.

With Rajjo as the main focus, Duality focuses on India’s Hirja community.

Finally, Mathias looks at how a transgender man is settling into life post-transition.  It focuses on life with his girlfriend and at work, which can get a bit awkward at times.

The 2018 Reeling Film Festival runs September 20-30, 2018.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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