Just a few days ago, Reelout Rita got in touch with filmmaker, Chase Joynt to learn more about his passion for storytelling. He was recently awarded the EP Canada/Canada Film Capital Award for Emerging Canadian Artist and the Jury Award at the Regent Park Film Festival so, he’s kind of a big deal. Not only does Chase appear in Buck Angel’s Sexing the Transman (the groundbreaking documentary playing at this years festival!) but he is also exhibiting an experimental documentary short at festivals all over the world. Akin explores the relationship and shared secrets between an Orthodox Jewish mother and her transgendered son (Chase). Beautiful in it’s simplicity, Akin is a touching short that Reelout is pleased to exhibit.
Reelout Rita: Your work (Resisterectomy, Everyday to Stay, Akin) is deeply personal and you are very candid about your thoughts and experiences as a trans person. What is it about your experiences that compelled you to share them with others? Why is it important to generate dialogue on these issues?
Chase: I started making this kind of work because I wasn’t finding representations of myself, or my experiences, that made sense to me. My artistic motivation has never been fueled by the belief that the existing work is “right or wrong” per se, but more so that I believe so many other important ideas are missing from the conversation. Complications, nuances, and contradictions map all over my experiences as a trans person, and I continue to wonder what it might mean to create work that pays specific attention to those missing pieces.
“Generating dialogue” as you suggest is complicated, because ultimately, you aren’t responsible for the conversations that stem from your work. Regardless, I continue to be motivated by those conversations, even when they sit in contradiction to my initial intent. I don’t make work to “fill gaps”, but rather to populate the field with other representative possibilities and personal potentials.
Reelout Rita: Akin juxtaposes the haunting sounds of Canadian group, Ohbijou, with your own voice and suburban visuals. What is it about this band that appealed to you? Does music play a large role in your life? Will it be something that will continue to permeate your experimental features?
Chase: I am drawn to music, and music makers, that endeavor to tell stories. Like film, I think music is capable of taking audiences on a journey. I am very lucky to be in a community of artists in Toronto who generously offer their talents to other projects, which is admittedly the only reason I was able to use Ohbijou’s music in Akin. Casey Mecija (the lead singer of Ohbijou) writes music that inspires pictures. I think we can all reference music that compels us to close our eyes and imagine a world different from that which we can see, and Casey’s work continues to be a source of that inspiration for me.
Reelout Rita: As a Toronto native, what is it about Toronto that inspires you to create these works? Are there other cities that inspire you?
Chase: Though born here, I left Toronto after high school for a decade of life and love in California. I returned to Canada having transitioned, and as such experienced my return to the city as somewhat of a new person. Toronto is full of artists and thinkers that remind me to keep checking my assumptions about who I am, and about what that might mean to other people.
Reelout Rita: Akin touches on some of your youthful memories but I was wondering what some other memories might be? Was there a moment when you knew you wanted to be a filmmaker?
Chase: I’m pretty sure my mom would argue that I was born performing and making art for anyone who would watch or listen. “Youth” as a category of time for me is a complicated place; it contains a lot of violence and instability, all the while carrying strongholds of love and unending affection. I suppose that tension is what continues to fuel my work today… mom’s (unabashedly biased) opinions and endorsements included.
Reelout Rita: If you could say one thing to your younger self, what would it be and why?
Chase: I would tell that human to hold on. To trust that things will settle. And to avoid that first tattoo, cause that shit will be embarrassing in your 30’s.
Be sure to catch Akin on Saturday, February 2 at 7pm in Cinema 1 of The Screening Room. Chase will be in attendance 🙂