Sm{art}: Austin Unbound

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We’re big on women in film here at Bitch Headquarters. Imagine our delight, then, when we found out about wif-pdx, a non-profit organization based here in Portland whose entire mission is to support and broadcast the careers of women in film! Sweet, sweet Internet serendipity. 

Wif-pdx (Women in Film-Portland, natch) is part activist organization, part information network, and part event sponsor. This very week, for example, they are joining up with NW Documentaries, another kick-ass grassroots film center in Portland, to screen an as-yet-unfinished documentary called Austin Unbound. And if you’re in town, I think you should go see it. 

Austin Unbound tells the true story of Austin, a member of Portland’s queer ASL (American Sign Language) community who was born with female anatomy and travels to San Francisco with his best friend for a double mastectomy. Director Eliza Greenwood (who will be at the screening this Friday! But more on that later…) uses her film as a vehicle to explore Austin’s place in his various social circles: family, friends, romantic relationships, etc., and how each responds to his decision for surgery. Her work, and Austin’s input in the project, are humanizing and also galvanizing. Why are both deaf and trans still such marginalized, specialized adjectives? Why has it been so, so difficult for this film to receive support and funding? Greenwood has been at work on this project for six years now, and is currently in need of finances to complete it. I’m willing to wager that the answer to my first question is tied preeeetty closely to the answer of my second. Start the mind-changing here, with a trailer for the film:

But back to the good news. Eliza Greenwood will be at the event this Friday, November 19th (that’s tomorrow!), to screen Austin Unbound and then discuss it. It is bound to be a multi-faceted discussion, and Eliza’s input on this project specifically, and women in film generally, are sure to be invaluable. NW Documentary is located in downtown Portland, at 115 SW Ash St, Suite 620. 

What’s so wonderful about wif-pdx and NW Documentaries is that they are both concerned with not only promoting work that already exists, but also making possible the creation of new media. Austin’s story is complicated, hopeful, political, controversial… In other words, human. As NW Documentary says, “Everyone has a story. Everyone is a storyteller.” If you’re in the Portland area this Friday, November 19th, join the discussion about Austin and his story with Eliza Greenwood. Maybe you’ll be inspired to tell one of your own.

by Katie Presley
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Katie Presley is a writer and editor currently based on the East Coast (help, how did this happen??). She's been with Bitch in one form or another since 2010, when she started as a New Media Intern, and most recently served as Bitch's first and only Music Editor, from 2016-2017. Past resume lines include Assistant Producer for All Songs Considered at NPR Music, panelist on Pop Culture Happy Hour, and bylines at NPR and Ms. Katie is also a doula and herbalist, and writes a blog on herbal medicine, "The Herbal Apprentice." She also co-founded the first full-spectrum doula organization in Texas, The Bridge Collective. She is also a late-comer to being a Dog Person, but currently lives with four cats. 

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