What defines a gender, a drag performance, a sexual orientation, and what are the expressive and personal boundaries imposed by the assumption of a gay identity? What role does performance play in identity development, and within LGBTQ culture? Do these questions have hard answers? "I AM," a short film by Sara Snyder and Stephen Molldrem, is an exploration of these questions and other themes within the context of queer studies and the cultural politics of identity formation.
Sara Snyder and Stephen Molldrem are undergraduates studying Political Communication at the George Washington University. In Fall 2010, they embarked on a journey together that would expose them to ideas surrounding gender nonconformity, queerness, and the creation of identity that would alter both of their perspectives and change both of their lives. During a GW-sponsored weeklong trip to Prague, Czech Republic, they attended Mezipatra: Czech Queer Film Festival with 13 other American students, 15 Czech students, GW Professor Robert McRuer (author: Crip Theory: Signs of Queerness and Disability), and Charles University Professor Katerina Kolarova. It was this short departure from Washington, DC that would serendipitously bring them together in another class to create this short film, and would set them off on an extended exploration of queer representations in literature, film, and other cultural productions that would last well beyond their undergraduate studies.
"I AM" has been screened at GW's Transnational Queer Film Studies Symposium, along with another collaborative video production which gives homage to their experience at Mezipatra, and explores spaces of gender difference and the freedom provided by queer time and space.
Sara and Stephen would like to extend their deepest thanks to Professors Robert McRuer and Katerina Kolarova for expanding their academic and cultural horizons, and for providing them with a life-changing experience in Prague, and to Professor Jason Osder of GW's School of Media and Public Affairs, who provided assistance throughout the production process, and who encouraged them to pursue this project beyond the boundaries of his classroom. They would also like to thank all of their classmates, in Prague and Washington, without whom none of these realizations could have ever been, to Ales Rumpel and all of the organizers of Mezipatra, and to the subjects who graciously agreed to appear in the film.
"I AM" is currently under consideration for screening at multiple film festivals throughout North America and Europe.
If you have questions about the film, or would like to screen "I AM" at your festival or queer event, please email Stephen Molldrem or Sara Snyder.