Film and TV

A Brief Summary of the Hubbub Surrounding Dallas Director Israel Luna's Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives

For those not paying attention, there's been quite the firestorm in recent weeks surrounding Dallas filmmaker Israel Luna's Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives and its inclusion in the Tribeca Film Festival, which kicks off April 21. At the end of last week, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation issued a "call to action" that the film be removed from the line-up because: "The film, its title and its marketing misrepresent the lives of transgender women and use grotesque, exploitative depictions of violence against transgender women." To which Tribeca responded: GLAAD had its chance.

The complaints stem from the trailer's mentioning by name murder victims Angie Zapata and Jorge Mercado. Says Luna in a statement, he did that to bring a "disturbing reality to my film about transgender violence." Only last week, Luna told the Dallas Voice he was "puzzled" by the furor and that the low-budget, shot-in-Dallas-in-18-days film is nothing more than his homage to grindhouse cinema a la Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez: "We were just playing around and someone said I should do this with drag queens. That would be so much fun."

Yesterday, Q Cinema, the gay and lesbian film fest in Fort Worth, announced Ticked-Off Trannies would play there in June -- its first screening down here following its Tribeca bow. But it'll be marketed with a different trailer. The New York Times reports this morning that Luna has deleted the names of the real-life dead: "It seems that the association between their brutal stories and the revenge/thriller content of the film in its entirety, has been difficult to connect," he writes in an e-mail to the paper. A clip from the film follows.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky