Berkeley Film & Media Seminar

Representing Ourselves Photo

Representing Ourselves into Existence: Tracing the History of Trans Filmmaking in the United States and Canada

Thu, Apr 29, 2021, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Zoom meeting

Dr. Laura Horak

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Despite recent attention to representations of trans people in media, media created by trans people is often overlooked. Creating and circulating audiovisual media is a particularly powerful way to create new representations and new worlds. When trans people create audiovisual media, rather than simply being represented in it, they help make these new worlds.

In this talk, Dr. Laura Horak (Carleton University) will present a history of trans, Two Spirit, intersex, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming film- and video-making in the United States and Canada, from the beginning of cinema to today. She will raise questions such as: What challenges and opportunities does audiovisual media present to trans artists? How have trans-made works spoken back to mainstream representations? How have trans artists used film and video to imagine new worlds? Horak will also present the Transgender Media Portal (, which will be a new resource for learning about trans-made films and videos. She will discuss her team’s efforts, guided by the fields of fields of intersectional feminist digital humanities and transgender studies, to adopt a trans-centric approach to building the TMP.

Laura Horak is an Associate Professor of Film Studies at Carleton University and Director of the Transgender Media Lab ( and Transgender Media Portal ( She is author of Girls Will Be Boys: Cross-Dressing Women, Lesbians, and American Cinema, 1908-1934 (2016) and co-editor of Silent Cinema and the Politics of Space (2014), Unwatchable (2019), and a special issue of Somatechnics on trans/cinematic/bodies. Horak is a white cis queer settler scholar who is here to leverage her privilege and institutional resources for the revolution.